Reviews of Nick at Ronnie Scott's, 14 January 2002

Nick at Ronnie Scott's - photo by Philippa Lord

Paula writes: Here's two interesting newspaper reviews of Nick's show at the Birmingham Songwriters' Festival... hey, these are supposed to be written by two different people, but do you think that somebody was sharing notes?

Unplugged Nick's Electric Performance
By Paul Cole - from the Sunday Mercury, 20 January 2002

Unplugged? Nick Harper? You've got to be joking. With just an acoustic guitar and his voice, he pushes out more energy than PowerGen.

But it's not at the expense of tender technique and moments of breathtaking beauty. Harper's percussive playing, deep vein scales and tuning knob twiddling comprise a guitar tour de force.

Karmageddon boasts a relentless rock riff and Elvis hit Guitar Man segues into Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, complete with Jimmy Page solo and Robert Plant primal scream. There's a gutsy guitar marathon visiting Public Enemy's Black Steel and a rip-roaring cover of Frank Zappa's Titties And Beer, in which the devil inadvisedly bets against a biker.

It's not the music you'd usually associate with the unplugged label. God help us if he ever plugs in!

But The Verse Time Forgot is a poignant piece, Radio Silence oozes crossover appeal and The Magnificent G-Seven, complete with achingly beautiful guitar and tuning trickery, offers topical comment.

Heavy Harper
By Conrad Cox - from the Birmingham Evening Mail, 15 January 2002

Nick Harper saunters onstage, hair unruly and cherubic grin on his face, and without warning rips up the rulebook that says semi-plugged shows have to be laid-back affairs.

Harper's percussive playing technique, low, low scales and tuning knob twiddling combine in an acoustic tour de force, powered by more energy than a nu-metal rock band.

Just how the son of legendary troubador Roy Harper manages to get such a big sound - and without shredding his fingers - is a mystery worthy of miracle status.

From the relentless rock riff of Karmageddon, complete with vocal approximations of synth effects, to a gutsy guitar marathon visiting Jimmy Page and Public Enemy, Harper played as if there was no tomorrow.

Elvis hit Guitar Man segued into Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, a rip-roaring cover of Frank Zappa's Titties And Beer brought the house down and Radio Silence oozed commercial crossover appeal. But it was Harper's poignant The Verse Time Forgot that stole the show.

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Created 6 March 2002
© PLC 2002