LIVE REVIEW: Bernard Butler, Jodie Nicholson, James Leonard Hewitson @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle (21.01.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Opener James Leonard Hewitson, who remains possibly the most likely North East musician to transition into stand-up, is on fine form on this solo outing as he strips band favourites back to their fine roots. Nowhere is this more obvious than on Deader and Dance Track, which both shine without the need for the wall of sound bombast they usually appear in.

Lead support Jodie Nicholson (like Hewitson doing a great job of appearing calm while being watched from the wings by Bernard Butler) sparkles in the venue’s intimate setting – opening track Midnight, and the lush journey of In Spring, standing out in a composed performance which shows off Nicholson’s ability to create clever compositions and to perform them live with stunning vocals.

Appearing to an undercurrent of hero worship, Bernard Butler cuts a confident, composed figure on stage after infrequent live performances in recent decades. Alluding to future records and tours, Butler shines tonight in a solo setting; just him and his guitars, working through past solo material (People Move On being a wonderful highlight) and future promises (let’s hope Wind In My Soul makes it onto record). Talking and playing his way through a peaceful meditation on songs and songwriting, Butler is humorous, humble and insightful, in a show that caps off a wonderful evening of wonderful songwriters.

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