“Most unusual space I’ve played in for a while. Loved it.” – Nick Mulvey
Liverpool Central Library
Sunday 9 March 2014
I was actually excited to be attending my first gig in a library, and knowing the venue quite well made me all the more eager to experience this first.
I’ve been a fan of Nick Mulvey’s music for nearly a year, and having had the opportunity to interview him via email, I was high on the anticipation of seeing this smooth and spiritual musician live for the first time, and it was an added bonus that he was playing in my hometown.
On arrival at the majestically transformed Liverpool Central Library, my friend and I were greeted by a couple of polite and friendly girls – quite a departure from the usual gruff gig promoters stood at the entrance to gig venues, with their marker pen or stamp! Once inside it was bright and open and there were plenty of gig goers already schmoozing within the library’s café. A gig with no booze? In a library? How was this going to transpire? Well, quite well actually…
After purchasing a coffee (yes, made us express amusement too) we made our way to the Children’s Library, which had been transformed. Gone were the bookshelves, toys and cushions making way for open floor space where the audience found a suitable spot. The venue was open and airy, with a high ceiling and muted lighting. People had already begun to sit, and when I say ‘sit’, I literally mean they were sat on the floor cross-legged with their lattes in tow. How very casual… We found a place on the floor, quote close to the stage, and wondered in awe at the surroundings whilst absorbing the chilled, and quite bohemian, atmosphere.
Nick Mulvey’s support was a young man called ‘Eaves Music’ (aka Joseph Lyons). Unassuming, this immensely talented musician, started the night exceeding expectations. His set consisted of several well-written and well-composed songs. Eaves sang of the sun and moon, with a great confidence his vocal range, belting out crescendos. Eaves took time to chat to in between songs, asking the audience to visit his Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/eavesmusic) page for a free download, which I’m sure everyone will have visited soon after the gig was over. Eaves Music first single is out in June 2014.
After a brief intermission is was time for the man everyone had come to see. Walking onto stage, Nick took his position and began his set with ‘April’. Rhythmic Latin-esque finger plucked notes filled the room enhanced by the acoustics within the space. Nick Mulvey’s music is the perfect complement to this setting. No clanging of bottles in the background, no squeaky doors opening and closing during the most intimate of performances. Just 100 or so people attentively listening – hearing every note, seeing every word sung and being immersed within the story being performed via Nick’s inspiring lyrics. The audience was that quiet and appreciative that Nick suggested it was like being in an assembly and thanked everyone for being so attentive.
Nick has the astounding ability to play with one instrument so innovatively and atmospherically, that if you closed your eyes you could be in Cuba, or the flowered garden or music room that Nick sings of. Sitting on a carpeted floor made you feel at home and relaxed. It was clean, there was no gum on the floor or spilt beer. There couldn’t be a more convenient or comfortable place to watch an artist perform. With Liverpool Central Library being steeped in history itself, it made for a more cultural venture. Everybody seemed relaxed and at ease, and very aware of what was happening in front of them. No distractions.
Nick played songs from his ‘Fever to the Form’ EP, ‘Trelis’ and new song ‘Meet Me There’ as well as the successful ‘Cucurucu’ which had just reached number 26 in the UK charts.
You would probably think that a library would be suited for the more ‘acoustic’ set, but we were informed that ‘Wolf Alice’ had the very same venue rocking a week back.
I will definitely be signing up to future gigs in libraries. Having watched a couple of musicians performances in such a venue, I will be watching out for other dates. Hosting a gig in a library is an excellent idea. If you find the whole bar atmosphere daunting or overwhelming, a library venue is for you. If you prefer your coffees to your cocktails, check out who’s playing at your local library.