Heather Nova - Manchester Royal Northern College Of Music

It's funny that it's taken this long for a booking agent to realise that Heather Nova is an act really not best experienced in the kind of venue where you feel the need to wipe your feet on the way out, but realise they have, the result being the current acoustic tour of very pleasant venues.

So a heavily pregnant Nova took to the stage ("They don't make maternity guitars", she later quips) in one of the nicest venues in Manchester, certainly one of the best in terms of acoustics, along with her band, tonight consisting of bass, keyboard, drums and acoustic guitar to recreate tracks from her most recent albums in an acoustic form, which allowed the subtleties within to shine. The results are often strikingly good - London Rain is now piano led and sound tremendous. Her pianist has a falsetto which compliments Heather's voice perfectly.

Not normally one for between song banter, she notes that in her native Bermuda, there are currently adverts for a competition to win a trip to "Man-Ches-Ter Eng-er-land" noting, with surprise, that if we were wondering where Bermudans dream of going on holiday, then, well, we're there. She also informs us that "Valley Of Sound" (a track about travelling to see a show) was written about an early Jeff Buckley gig that she attended.

Tonight is all about the songs, however, mostly from new, entirely acoustic record, "Storm", some of which drag a little but most of which fit perfectly into her repertoire. There are some amazing moments - a solo piano rendition of Gloomy Sunday is utterly haunting.

Nova is a compelling live performer, and it can only be hoped that such common sense will prevail when booking venues for her next time round.

Set List was:

One Day In June
Let Me Be Your Light
Winterblue
It's Only Love
Heart And Shoulder
London Rain
You Left Me A Song
Let's Not Talk About Love
Island
All I Need
Gloomy Sunday
Drink It In
River of Life
Help Me Be Good To You
Truth And Bone
I'm A Fool For You
Doubled Up
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Valley Of sound
Walk This World
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Storm

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