Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg Tour - London

GIG: Anny Celsi / Nelson Bragg with support from Paul Steel & The See See
DATE: Monday July 27th 2009
VENUE: The Luminaire, 311 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 7JR
COST: £10
RATING: Luminarious

Two weeks of touring around the UK, loading and unloading their amp, guitars and snare drum into and out of a Ford Focus, came to a close in London town with the final gig at The Luminaire in Kilburn, London.

Paul Steel started the evening, with songs from his two albums “April and I”, and “Moon Rock”. His set was quite 80’s synthesized pop, and with his engineer & producer hat on, recorded loops as he played keyboard, a bit of electric drums, tambourine and did some “backing” vocals, to give a bit of a fuller sound. At one point he recorded the audience clapping along and put that in a loop as part of the backing track. Paul does have some good songs, and he came out from behind his keyboard once to perform a song with an acoustic guitar. Without a doubt, he is a very talented young musician, but the gig showed how difficult it is to be a solo artist, an engineer and a producer all at the same time!

Nelson Bragg joined Paul on stage for his last song… a rather lovely version of the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up”. Paul has the perfect voice for this song, and Nelson’s lush harmonies in accompaniment was the icing on the cake, making this sound really great, even with the slight hiccup from Paul somehow changing the keyboard sound briefly mid-way through!

Next up were The See See, a London based band, and long time favourites of Nelson. Right from the off, The Beeb knew this band was going to sound good, from the fact that there was an electric 12 string involved. And he was not wrong.
The See See are a Powerpop Psychedelic foursome, with great tunes, who could have fallen out of The Children Of Nuggets box set and landed without a bump! The audience really appreciated this band, and seemed to get into the groove. Nelson also joined them on stage for their last number, adding tambourine and maracas. As good as the bass player was, it was quite annoying the way he constantly turned his back on the audience, like a self indulgent prog-rock bassist from the 70’s for whom punk never really happened. A good bassist and drummer don’t need to spend the whole gig looking at one another.
Nevertheless, this band was good, they had a great sound and we bought their CD!

The headline act, Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg definitely seemed a lot more relaxed, having left the traumas of the first two gigs (support act arriving late in Newcastle / Sat Nav taking them every where in Glasgow except where they wanted to be!) way behind them. We were treated to songs that were in the earlier gig’s set-list, but tonight they were accompanied by guitarist Nico Wouters, adding extra sound and flair to Anny’s songs including “Little Black Dress”, “The Night She Learned To Drive” and “Empty Hangers”.

Nelson performed “Forever Days” a track from his solo album, and a lovely rendition of “God Only Knows” with Paul Steel added into the mix for this one, including a bit of his 12” remix disco version when he accidentally pressed a button on the keyboard which started to replay some of his electro-pop loops from earlier on!!!!. With many Brian Wilson fans in the audience, this song went down particularly well.

Two members of a Beach Boys tribute band, The Beached Boys were in the audience and were invited up on stage to provide additional harmonies to another Beach Boys classic “In My Room”. Nico performed a solo guitar piece, an instrumental of “Ben” as a tribute to Michael Jackson which sounded lovely.

Nelson and Anny had intended to finish with the title track of Anny’s latest album, “Tangle-Free World” but the audience would not let them off lightly and demanded more, so a small encore was provided. By that time, it was getting late and most of the audience had to leave to catch trains and buses home, and so the final show of the UK tour came to a happy end.

This was a great gig, with a bit of a party atmosphere among the Brian Wilson fans that were in the audience. While they may have been drawn to this gig by the fact Nelson is a Brian Wilson band member, they left as Anny Celsi fans and will surely enjoy listening to her CDs.

So, a fantastic ending to the tour. The Luminaire is a fab venue, and one that appreciates musicians and demands respect from the audience for the people who play on their stages, a fact highlighted by the notice posted around the venue, “No-one paid to listen to you talking to your pals…..If you want to talk to your pals when the bands are on, please leave the venue”.

The loos are great… very clean and tastefully decorated with posters and graffiti, which is encouraged by the management.

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