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Live // NICK MULVEY, O2 SBE, London

Nick Mulvey embarks on UK headline tour in support of his sophomore album, Wake Up Now.

The humble Shepherds Bush Empire; no mean feat for a two-time Mercury nominee, right? The modest smile plastered to Nick Mulvey’s face this evening says otherwise. You can tell from the way he carries himself that selling out one of London’s most famous venues means every bit as much to him as it does to the bubbling front row.

Fresh off the back of his new album Wake Up Now, Mulvey is tackling his biggest headline show to date, and taking it very much in his stride. Akin to lyrics from his opening number Remembering, his presence oozes with the notion that “nothing is too much for me”, managing to command the stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar and subtle backing band silhouetted against the ‘Wake Up Now’ artwork.

Moving through into Unconditional and Meet Me There, he keeps the crowd swaying with approval by throwing around a union of new songs and old, getting the loudest singalong from fan classic Cucurucu, a song seemingly formulated to both appease fans and win over new listeners with its catchy hook and optimistic tone.

The tone slows for the next three songs When The Body Is Gone, The Trellis, and Juramidam until he stops to give a short interlude on the refugee situation all over the world, and consequently introduces the beautiful Myela from his latest album – a self-proclaimed anthem of “freedom from the cage of this supposed civilization” proclaiming “I am your neighbour, you are my neighbour” – a surprisingly danceable song for such a sombre and heart-breaking topic.

Almost predictably bringing the set to a close with his biggest hit Fever To The Form (although hit seems an inappropriate word for such a gently flowing song), he leaves the crowd chanting for his return as the long burning incense and wafts of vanilla fill the hall further.

There’s only one more Mountain To Move – geddit? – before we all head home, and that’s the encore. Appeasing the crowd’s wishes and coming back to the stage for a delicate solo rendition of Transform Your Game, he moves on through to his biggest single from Wake Up Now, turning the crowd into a sing-a-long machine and cementing his sophomore album as a strong contender for lifetime achievement. A night neither him nor his fans will forget for a long time.

Photos: Anna Smith