Review: Grant Nicholas at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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As statements of intent go, opening the set on your first ever solo tour with a track that is only on the deluxe version of your debut album isn’t a bad one.

Grant Nicholas is the frontman of the successful Buck Rogers hit-makers Feeder, but he has made it clear in advance publicity that he is highly unlikely to be playing any of that band’s numerous hits during this solo sojourn.

Fortunately he has a strong album – Yorktown Heights – to play with, and he’s backed by a talented two-parts Danish, one part Crouch End band.

Most acts beef up their sound live, but Nicholas takes most of his material the other way, reining in the already folksy/Americana-influenced tracks even further than their recorded versions.

Whether this is a conscious attempt to move away from his other band’s harder rock or not, it works in context most of the songs feature Nicholas on acoustic guitar with restrained support from the band.

Three songs in, Soul Mates elicits a surprisingly full singalong, while the delicately plucked Safe in Place and the more up-tempo one-two of Hitori and Vampires provide set highlights.

And when the inevitable shouts for Feeder songs come Nicholas tells them in good humour: ‘Wrong tour’.

He closes with a cover of Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly - a title that’s pretty apt for this new venture, but you sense he’s getting there.