Missy Higgins @ the Shepherds Bush Empire

Another day another concert. We’d been and seen Missy Higgins in the past opening for Ray LaMontagne, this time she was headlining her own show at a bigger venue. Finishing work at 5pm we caught the Central Line from St Paul’s westward to Shepherds Bush. It was a drizzly evening so heads down we tramped along the green to the venue. There weren’t many people at the venue so we continued walking down to our usual Shepherds Bush eating house, the local Nandos.

Dinner was ordered, duly arrived and was then consumed all in record time. After recovering from the hotter-than-usual spices we picked ourselves up and headed back to the Empire. We arrived to find a small queue so took our place and waited for the doors to open. Thankfully the rain had stopped so we were spared a drenching while waiting. The queue behind us steadily grew as we approached 7pm, many Australians arriving and finding their friends. Just after 7pm the doors were opened and we all slowly filed in.

We found ourselves a spot in front of the stage and off to the left, right up against the rail so we didn’t have people in front of us to worry about. Because we were to the left side of the stage we did have to turn towards the performers (who all seemed to set up on the right hand side) and this meant Keryn had a guy in her way when he decided to lean forward. Still, better than being stuck in the middle of a crowd. The positioning also meant photos were a little hard to get but I’m not going to let that stop me now am I?

The first act was a Norwegian guy by the name of Robert Post. He and his two band members gave a spirited performance of mainly bouncy pop tunes and all in all I was impressed, I’ve learned not to expect two much from the lowest band on the bill. Robert was happy, telling us so when he walked onto stage, and seemed to enjoy performing.

Robert Post.
Robert Post

Next up after a quick stage rearrange was Nerina Pallot. I was looking forward to this performance, I’ve had her latest CD for a month or so and have been listening to it quite a lot. Nerina falls somewhere in between Tori Amos and Suzanne Vega – another folky/pop/rock chick. Unfortunately the crowd wasn’t as interested as me and the chatter spoilt the performance somewhat. It appeared that Nerina wasn’t used to such a large crowd and she admitted that she was nervous and not up for a lot of chatter. The only real response she got from the talking masses was when she mentioned Australia, otherwise it seemed they had more important things to do than listen to the person on stage perform. As Nerina was on her own, just her and a guitar or keyboard, she didn’t produce a sound that could completely rise over the background noise. I’d like to see her perform either with a band or in a smaller venue. Didn’t matter, I enjoyed her songs anyway.

Nerina Pallot.
Nerina Pallot

Last but not least was the Australian performer of the moment, Missy Higgins. Missy was joined by a band consisting of a drummer, guitarist, bass player and Viola player. The set was long and covered most of the songs off her debut album, a number of b-sides and a few cover versions as well. Missy was in fine voice and was quite chatty as well, or at least she was when she could get a word in between audience exclamations. Missy spend most of the time behind her keyboard which was at the other end of the stage from us, which was a pity. I think she needs to move about the stage a bit more. She may also have to wear shoes, at one point when coming down to the stage from the raised platform that supported her keyboard she trod on something sharp and had to get it pulled from her foot.

Missy Higgins inspecting her foot after standing on something.
Missy Higgins inspecting her foot after standing on something

It can’t have been too bad as she continued without any further signs of discomfort. Must have been a night for minimal footwear. Earlier the barefoot Nerina had urged the crowd to buy her CD’s so she could afford to buy a new pair of shoes. There was also the nicely dressed bass player who let his outfit down by wearing very worn jandals on stage. I guess it was an Australian solidarity thing.

Missy recovered and playing the guitar.
Missy recovered and playing the guitar

The concert went on for a bit long I thought, some of the b-sides weren’t that good in my opinion. Having said that I did enjoy the concert and it was nice to see and hear Missy with a band. The audience generally seemed happy as well with enthusiastic applause, cheering and yelling. All in all a good night, even if we did miss the first session finale of Desperate Housewives…

Bass in the spotlight.
Bass in the spotlight

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