The Ironworks Room 2
WITH her summer visits to the Highlands in the busy festival tents of RockNess and Belladrum, Edinburgh singer Nina Nesbitt took things down a notch with the "more chilled" audience of the Ironworks’ upstairs room.
Face to face and just about nose to nose with her fans in a way that even the most modest of festival stages does not allow, the teenager found herself amongst a group less diverse than her festival appearances, with a notable number of young women not far off Nesbitt’s own age, offering receptive ears for the singer’s songs of the ups and downs of young love.
It was also an audience nicely warmed up for her appearance by Northampton singer Billy Lockett, whose percussive guitar and powerful voice had the Tuesday night crowd whooping it as if it was the weekend already. That he quickly sold all his EPs after the show was testament to his polished performance.
18-year old Nesbitt has a quieter stage presence, but she knows how to make friends. The night before Hallowe’en, she may have left her Red Riding Hood cape in the van, as she informed her fans, but she entered into the spirit of the season by dishing out a jumbo sized packet of sweets — though some of the recipients took things a step further by turning up in costume.
If at times Nesbitt seemed slightly surprised that the Inverness audience was a bit more laid back than some of her other Scottish fans, then that was not necessarily a bad thing. For Nesbitt’s quieter numbers they compliantly adopted a respectful silence broken only by the rustling of sweetie wrappers — for which Nesbitt had only herself to blame.
Possessed of a strong voice and a strikingly photogenic mane of blonde hair, at 18 Nesbitt is becoming an increasingly assured performer, accompanying herself on keyboards and guitar, though she remains stronger on the latter.
Her songs obviously strike a chord with her target age group, even if Nesbitt does seem to be slightly over fond of inserting "oohs" and "aahs" amongst her more thought out lyrics and though the role of solo troubadour suits her at this stage of her career, it might be interesting to see her with a full band providing a bit of additional musical colour once her album is released.
As good a show as she puts on, there is still a feeling that Nesbitt is not yet fully fledged as a live performer. Once that happens, she will have no need to lean on such safe ground as The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), fun as it was, and should be able to whip up as enthusiastic a reception on her own merits.