Country music fans may know Shane Nicholson as Kasey Chambers new husband, but he is an artist to be reckoned with in his own right.
He is not all that well-known in Victoria as he hails from the northern states and rarely performs down here and, furthermore, has spent a great portion of the last few years touring in America.
I first saw him perform in 2003 as a support act for Kasey Chambers at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. I took an instant liking to his music and went out the next day and purchased his debut CD It's A Movie. It soon became a favourite with its likeable pop-rock tunes enhanced by impeccably written lyrics. He has been described as Neil Finn's little brother as his voice and also his musical arrangements are extremely similar to that of the famous Kiwi. Despite or because of that, his music and lyrics can stand on their own and do mark him as an artist to follow.
The CD launch at the NSC was really a preview of his forthcoming album Faith & Science which is to be released on 3 June. The single "I Know What You Need" has been receiving wide airplay and has been favourably reviewed by the music media. The new album, as with the first, was produced by Kasey's brother Nash, and Kasey herself lends a hand with background vocals.
Judging by the taste we were given on the night, the new CD will be a winner.
On to the show
ANGUS & JULIA
Their act was well received by the crowd, despite it being a modest performance. One got the impression that this pair will bear watching.
You can find out more on Angus & Julia, and hear their music by visiting their very attractive website at www.angusandjuliastone.com
In between songs Shane told us a little on what he had been doing over the past few years. His time in America, touring to promote his first CD It's A Movie, also afforded him plenty of time to contemplate his next recording and write songs. Shane Nicholson is an excellent songwriter, one of the best in Australia. He has a way with words that create wonderful quirky lyrics. Take "Designed To Fade" for instance. The chorus goes: " All the better things we made/ Every little change of shade/ Maybe it's designed to fade/ But I feel loved again", wherein the denim jeans marketing term transposes into a wistful expression of hope for the future.
Combining skilful song writing with his ability to create appealing pop-rock melodies, Shane Nicholson is on a winning formula. Along with his striking looks and charismatic stage presence he is well worth seeing live.
Shane performed most of the songs from the new album as well as two - Nice To Be Here" and "The Best Day of the Year" - from his debut album.
He finished the night with a sensational cover of Neil Young's "Hey, Hey, My, My" and didn't perform an encore.
The audience was respectful and appreciative, but I thought, rather flat in their response to the music. Was it because he sang mostly unfamiliar songs or something else?
In my opinion the performance was wonderful and it thrilled my inner rock child. My only complaint was that it finished all too soon. It barely lasted an hour.
As Shane Nicholson's band is relatively new, it is possible that the songs performed on the night were the only songs that had been rehearsed. The band played on every song but one, where Shane, with only the keyboard player, performed "Stolen Car".
NICHOLSON SET LIST
Review and photos by Anne Sydenham