I’ll admit, I had long-pegged Nizlopi as novelty one-hit wonders.
On the evidence of this show, I am happy to have been proved wrong.
Starting from the middle of the audience on the floor, double bass player John Parker and barefoot singer Luke Concannon gave us a new song straight off the bat. It was a powerful moment that certainly grabbed the attention.
Once they had hopped back on stage, Concannon strapped on his acoustic guitar and announced they intended to ‘strip the paint from the walls.’
Concannon is a massively endearing figure – a ball of fizzing energy, he appears utterly without guile as he repeatedly entreats the audience to join in. Parker may be the quieter of the duo – he’s definitely the straight man, but his nimble bass playing and beatboxing provides the solid backing for Concannon’s exuberance. Songs veer from touching confessionals to calls for unity via a bit of political sloganeering. It could easily become over-sentimental and twee, but their sheer force of personality keeps things on track.
The pair come back into the audience midset, and they really do seem to cast a spell – more than one person was visibly welling up.
Even The JCB Song – that one big hit back in 2005, it’s overfamiliarity blunted by time – has regained its emotional heft.
Don’t make the mistake I did – welcome Nizlopi back with open arms.