by / May 20th, 2010 /

Nerina Pallot – The Sugar Club, Dublin

It’s all too easy for the casual observer to equate Nerina Pallot with her hippie pop-rock anthem -Everybody’s Gone To War’ and leave it that. After all, the track represents her only notable single success, summed up a political mood of the time in a memorable (if slightly throwaway) little ditty, and – despite being followed up by the stunningly soulful -Sophia’ – is all that most of the world knows about her. On tonight’s evidence, that’s a real shame.

Pallot is the kind of ditsy, offbeat performer who at times looks a touch uncomfortable on stage, but battles her demons with a selection of self-depreciating between-track jokes and a delicate but highly endearing (and unwarranted) lack of musical confidence. Performing in a white meringue of a dress that only adds to the -floozy’ image, Pallot flits between piano and acoustic guitar (and is seemingly able to play most of her tracks on both), and behaves like a lady with a genuine appreciation for what she’s achieved.

Most of Nerina’s work is a clever blend of astute and comic commentary and startlingly delicate and touching acoustic pieces. Her stunning cover of Rickie Lee Jones -Skeletons’ has proven a massive recent inspiration, and resulted in an entire EP dedicated to and shaped by the track. Songs from -Skeleton Key EP’ – a new effort that’s featured heavily tonight – take Pallot into the kind of heart-wrenching acoustic soul that her more successful chart efforts bare little hint of. Having just taken a couple of years off to settle into married life, Nerina’s clearly spent the time to further develop herself into a touchingly sincere performer.

It’s not all serious, though. Amongst older fan favourite sit tracks like -When Did I Become Such a Bitch’ and -Geek Love’, which self-depreciatingly explore the Jersey lasses life in a way that can only be described as cuttingly and enticingly witty. It’s all offbeat, emotive, strangely intimate and above all, charming. As for the comedy repertoire, Nerina mistakenly assumes that being in Ireland means she has to lay off the Irish priest jokes. Instead we get anteaters, disapproving grandmothers and the occasional swear word that sounds entirely out of pace coming from Pallot, an otherwise delicate and softly spoken singer. When she performs like tonight, we can only hope the world puts aside their -Everybody’s Gone To War’ presumptions and gives Nerina another go; she has far, far more to offer.

Photos by Abraham Tarrush.
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