Nick at Komedia, Brighton,
Tuesday 30 April and Wednesday 1st May 2002
by Dave and Sue Burnham

Harpic goes speccy in Brighton, 30 April - photo by Linda Carter

Well they were a couple of top nights.

[Our friend] Linda managed to nab the front table for the Tuesday, but we resisted the temptation to hem the garm of his touchment and attempted snaps instead - if we ever get the film finished and there's anything worth while might send one to Paula [yay! - P.]. Nick was a tad knackered after constant touring and there seemed to be a lot of chattering going on at the back, so this drove him on to play loud and fast for quite a bit of the set, and he also avoided taking a break in case it became tricky to pull people back into it again. The gig was sold out at around 200 folks and there was a good buzz around afterwards, with a nice long queue of people buying the new CD direct from Nick. It was a two broken strings kind of an evening.

The second night we met Barry, who'd had a most satisfactory curry at the Bombay Aloo veggie all you can eat for a fiver gaff. Amazing how two nights at the same place can be so different. We sat a little further back and got the benefit of a better stereo field and more definition. This time there were about 170 people in and only a few who'd been to the previous night. It seemed like a more hardcore fanbase and Nick vibed on that pretty quickly (also feeling a bit more rested) so he felt comfortable to build the set with more of the quiet songs. There was barely a whisper from the audience until he finished and then explosive applause mixed with friendly jokes and banter (the perfect audience really). He played Radio Silence, Crazy Boy and Aeroplane, which hadn't been in the previous night's set.

Feeling the crowd were more civilised than last night, Nick canvassed opinion on having an interval and after a positive response went off after a blistering version of Building Our Own Temple. Second half saw him enthusiastically welcomed back on stage and he talked about having to contact the Prodigy, Killing Joke and Public Enemy for permission to use their work in order to be able to release the full live version of [...Temple and] Out Of It. He sent the tracks to all of them and got the thumbs up back all round - he had a vision of gangster rappers driving through the hood grooving to this English kid on acoustic guitar. Nick played a new song for his mother (I think it was called Invisible Friend [possibly Imaginary Friend? - Paula]) and was a tremendously tender piece which was well received. He commented on how when Clapton wrote a song for his young son when he died that he'd slagged him off at the time, but since losing his mother he knew exactly how he must have felt.

Nick was his usual barmy self last night (including the dedication of Song of Madness to Ariel Sharon), but he was really relaxed with the crowd, commenting on it being an evening playing in the kitchen. Just one string broken and that was changed while he maintained the mantra of Love is Music before going back into the song again. A special night which was rounded off by sitting at the side of the stage for a second encore and playing a purely acoustic number (I think from Instrumental [maybe Like Punk Never Happened - Paula]).

Only had the chance to run the CD through once, but it's great to have the live stuff at last. I've got a couple of bootlegs, but they're bobbins in comparison with the quality of the CD, it's outstanding. Nick asked if I thought it was too long... he was asking the wrong person, I'd quite cheerfully have a triple gatefold... if you remember those. ;-)

TTFN, hope the sun's shining on you...

Updated 16 May 2002
© DB/SB/PLC 2002