I've been a fan of Nerina Pallot ever since her second album Fires had it's first release, and in the seven years since, I've seen Nerina's popularity increase, and along with it, her talent. She released her fourth album 'Year Of the Wolf' in 2011, and has hit a level of appreciation and success among a small core audience, furthered by her writing credits on the albums of Kylie and Diana Vickers. Being 18, it is now within my power to do basically whatever the hell I like, so finally, in December, I was able to see Nerina live - an event I'd been looking forward to since I first heard the studio version of 'Sophia'. And it was fantastic.
The 'Nerina Pallot Christmas Experience' was the kind of intimate gig one dreams your favourite artist will put on. Held at the cute 'The Forge' venue in Camden, the day was split into two experiences. The first, a Christmas meal with Nerina, with a setlist chosen by the audience. I attended the evening performance, with mulled wine, canapés and a Christmas show - perfect for a December evening.
I don't have a copy of the setlist, but it included songs from the fourth album ('Put Your Hands Up', 'All Bets Are Off') along with fan-favourites ('Mr King', 'When Did I Become Such A Bitch?'). Set to a backdrop of a black-and-white 'It's A Wonderful Life' (cheaper in Sainsbury's, Nerina tells us). The songs were beautifully performed, sometimes with bass/guitar accompaniment, and sometimes with Nerina alone, piano or guitar to hand. Beautifully performed despite a severe cold, the set was one of the best I've seen - pure musicality and feeling. Finishing with a fun and seasonal 'Last Christmas' cover, the performance ended with us all feeling we had seen something special.
Second row from the front, witnessing the height of Nerina's talent, and also her bantering with the audience, was an immense feeling. Nerina is gracious about her fans and fame 'I don't know why you all keep coming to see me' - but the crowd plays this down - 'because you're lovely!' they shout. Meeting her afterwards was a great experience - rather than a superficial 'hello, thanks, bye', Nerina enters into actual conversations with her fans - within two minutes we were discussing visiting Tehran and Nerina was recognising me from my Twitter account. Genuine and humble, she shone as a person and as a performer.
There's much discussion amongst Nerina's fans that 'she should be bigger!' and that 'let's hope 2012 is your year!'. But is this necessary? Nerina manages to sell out her tours, and has had moderate success with her most recent album, due to Radio 2 support. Would more mainstream success make her happier? She has a large core following who appreciate and support her endeavours - she managed to sell out 200 tickets for the Christmas events in mere days. Does she need anything else?