With a good audience to perform to, openers Of Beasts And The Moon, made up of Mia Callens and Sean Neale, play with tenacity and passion – not that the majority of the crowd before them pay much attention. Sean is overpoweringly loud at times during the set, but it is when he is not, when Mia and her delicate tones can take centre stage to catch the attention of those on the floor, that the performance begins to shine. ‘Another Friend’ has an intro reminiscent of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ and is by far the most well received number in their short repertoire. Having won their support slot by entering a competition, and as a result currently being relatively unknown, the duo take every opportunity they can to promote their Twitter page while their attempts to get the room clapping along with ‘Dance Now’ receive a lukewarm response at best. They exit the stage after taking a stage selfie and within minutes, there is no word of them from the crowd at all.
Olivia Sebastianelli, having toured with Nina last year, gets a great response from the moment she steps on stage. Asking “Alright?” to her crowd, she is duly satisfied with the roar she gets back. Seizing her opportunity to play a new song mid-way through the set as her band step off stage, she performs ‘Oblivion’, and the hugely positive reaction to it causes her to comment: “I think you’re the loudest crowd I’ve played to” – cue even more cheering and applause. Hoping to succeed where OBATM didn’t, she instigates a hand-clap which is soon vibrating around the room as she launches into ‘Despite The Day’ and news of her set drawing to a close brings with it lots of unhappy faces and a mass ‘boo’ from her audience. By the time she wraps up, informing everyone she will be around to say hello later, there is little doubt from the applause that echo as she leaves, that she has made herself a whole new set of fans.
During the interval and prior to Nina’s performance, with the majority of patrons tonight being teenagers at best, a number of them shuffle their way back from the near the front, trying their best to get a suitable spot to see what’s about to unfold. When the lights dim again and Nina, her blonde hair flowing past her shoulders, appears, the room vibrates with rapturous cheers before she even plays a single note. Opening with the title of her debut album ‘Peroxide’ makes for a good start – masses of people on the floor having already picked up a copy so they sing along.
’18 Candles’ keeps the pace and the flow going with a hand-clap beginning without the star of the show even having to ask, while ‘The Apple Tree’, the song which really helped Nina make a name for herself, has everyone joining in with the ‘oh-oh-oh-oh’s. Having recently performed it at the Texas South by Southwest festival, she sets down her guitar and takes a seat in front of the keyboard to play ‘Say Something’, slowing the tempo down for just a few minutes.
With a new merchandise range created in time for the tour, prior to ‘Mr C’, Nina points out a few youngsters down the front wearing said t-shirts, before ‘Tough Luck’ really gives her a chance to demonstrate her impressive vocal abilities as well as her fine Scottish accent. Taking a moment to look around her, the venue now packed with patrons, many of whom are holding up cameras and mobiles, she searches for someone to bring on stage. Finding Eleanor and her parents, she has them crowd round her mic to sing the chorus of ‘We’ll Be Back For More’ but they struggle to be heard over the mass sing-along taking place on the floor. “I can’t get over how many people are here,” she says, smiling broadly after her guests leave. “I played Sound Control to 100 people eighteen months ago and now I’m here, playing audiences of upto 1500.” She shakes her head, almost in denial, before ‘He’s The One I’m Bringing Back’ sees her pound away on a drum in the corner, the top covered in sugar which in the light glitters blue and green, before being scattered all over the stage.
Wanting to perform a slower number, she asks for silence, then, in a room so quiet you could hear a pin drop, ‘The Hardest Part’ sees her standing deadly still centre stage, her eyes glossy and glazed as she sings. It makes for a beautiful few minutes and the cheers that erupt at its final note, leave her with her head momentarily bowed and a beaming smile on her face.
Earlier in the evening, while queued outside, a number of people had been asked if they had wanted their photo taken for Nina’s website – those who said ‘yes’ were about to get a huge surprise. In a nice twist to the show, with ‘Selfies’ starting up, the backdrop of the stage dimmed to reveal said photos being scrolled upwards, a number of individuals pointing at themselves as they appeared. Closing number ‘Stay Out’ sees Nina divide the floor between the guys and the girls, challenging them to sing as loud as they can – unsurprisingly everyone complies, but it is only when the two groups come together again that the song really hits home – the voices of hundreds echoing in unison around the packed room as she momentarily leaves the stage to join those at the front; it is a fitting end to the show to see her truly in the company of the so many she just put on a great show for.