Live Review: Nick Mulvey & All We Are - O2 Academy, Bournemouth 15/10/2017
The O2 Academy is a beautiful century old venue situated in Bournemouth’s lesser-known neighbouring suburb, Boscombe. The town is a perfect mix of people - young, old, creative, professional and pretty much everything else - and the urban vibe of this town is the ideal setting for folk artist Nick Mulvey.
Mulvey’s latest album, Wake Up Now, follows in the soul-warming footsteps of his debut album First Mind, but with this release it seems he was much more willing to let Caribbean influences creep in, no doubt inspired by his time studying music in Cuba. I had a feeling that seeing all of these beautiful sounds brought to a live stage would be an amazing experience, and Nick Mulvey did not let me down.
Opening up the show to a slowly filing room of eager eyes were Liverpool three piece All We Are, and they had the whole room hooked within the first minute. Album opener Burn It All Out opened the show, with an intro that continued to build in such an electrifying way that you just could not look away. The rest of their set went the same way, showcasing every members vocal talents while not leaving behind the incredible instrumental hooks they started with. All We Are are three people with more talent and a bigger sound than some bands twice the sound. By all means, listen to their new album Sunny Hills but do not miss a chance to see them live and you will see that a studio recording just can’t quite do them the justice they deserve. This is a band that you simply need to experience.
As the lights dim and the room fills with smoke, I start to wonder how headliner Nick Mulvey can come out as powerful as his opening act with his much more relaxed sound, but this worry doesn’t last long. The band, including Nick’s wife Isadora - who provided beautiful harmonies and showed a talent for many instruments - are first to walk onto the stage to a spoken introduction that builds impressively and has everyone eagerly awaiting Nick’s entrance to the stage, which is soon done with a wave and a smile before the band break into Remembering and are quickly joined by an adoring crowd.
With a shout out to the family on the front row, Nick Mulvey proves that despite his success, he is a performer with humility and a clear and deep-rooted love for making music and sharing it. This is even more apparent when, in the middle of his set, Mulvey’s band leave the stage and he performs what is probably his most widely known song - Cucurucu - with nothing but a guitar. Encouraging the crowd to sing with him, he stops after the first verse and decides that it felt so good, he would do it all over again.
The rest of his set was just as magical once his band returned to the stage making their way through a lot of songs from both albums, including the beautifully emotive Myela - a song inspired by the real words of refugees - and older favourites like Juramidam and Fever To The Form. The set is closed with Mountain To Move, and I have no doubt that every single person in the room left feeling relaxed and just so pleasantly happy. Like his support act All We Are, Nick Mulvey creates a live experience that far exceeds simply listening to either of his albums. Neither him nor his band miss a beat the entire night, and the emotion and meaning behind every song hits deep down in really the most incredible way.
Review and Photography by Megan Smith