Live: Grant Nicholas @ Bush Hall.

For any band to continue full steam ahead for twenty years producing album after album every couple of years is rare. But Welsh rockers Feeder made it through eight studio albums before taking a break. However, the band’s front man and sole songwriter Grant Nicholas seemingly required simply to escape into his own, quietened-down world and write for himself rather than his band or the legacy of Feeder fans during the band’s hiatus.

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

The result was 2014 record Yorktown Heights, a more stripped-back effort featuring material Nicholas has suggested correlates to Feeder’s 2002 effort Comfort In Sound which itself was written following the suicide of Feeder’s then drummer and Nicholas’ childhood friend Jon Lee.  Surprising given the time that has passed and how he has grown as an individual during that period.

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

Yorktown Heights performed surprisingly well given it’s low-key release and limited airplay, so following a handful of well-received small UK shows and an appearance at the 2014 Fuji Rock Festival, it was announced that Nicholas  would play further supporting shows into 2015 including tonight’s appearance at Bush Hall in West London’s Shepherd’s Bush.

Henrik Irgens (Kalpesh Patel)

In his now familiar low-light environment surrounded by fairy lights, the 47-year-old Nicholas launched into Yorktown Heights tracks Safe In Place and Counting Steps before regarding his surroundings and stating “What a beautiful room, what a beautiful venue”. While Nicholas is clearly following his solo path at present, it’s clear he is far more comfortable in a band setting, placing himself at the far right of the stage rather than centre, and ensuring his motley band were given due credit.

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

“I love you Grant!” rang out a female fan from deep within the crowd. “I love you daddy!” cried Nicholas’ 9-year-old daughter Hana Sky in seeming retaliation from the front row of the audience, as she looked in admiration at her father on stage. The Feeder hit-maker could do nothing to stop himself beaming back at her and informing the audience “That’s my daughter at the front” quickly followed by “and my son!”. It was that sentiment that truly reflected the feel of the night and where Nicholas is in his life at present, very much an adoring father and husband over the carefree, young rock star he burst onto the music scene as all those years ago. Indeed, it was Hana Sky who designed the album artwork for both Yorktown Heights and forthcoming mini-album Black Clouds.

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

The set was made up of entirely solo material from Yorktown Heights as well as a sample of new tracks from Black Clouds including the title track and new song Reminisce which, when announced, got a big cheer from a now familiar young voice from the front row resulting in a chuckle from the night’s star.

Grant Nicholas (Kalpesh Patel)

The Bush Hall crowd seemed to be awed into silence throughout the set with Nicholas claiming “It’s so intimate; I’ve never seen such a quiet London crowd”. While this solo adventure is probably necessary for any band lead after such a long time in that role, one can’t help but think that Nicholas might be craving a return to the more familiar feel of Feeder in the not too distant future, particularly as he sings the line “Never gonna get there alone” on the track Hitori which itself is the Japanese word for alone/solo. But for tonight the focus is all on him with great respect from the London crowd for this tangential direction.

Review & Photography by Kalpesh Patel. Grant Nicholas @ Bush Hall. 26th February 2015.

The whole shoot here on RockShot; http://images.rockshotmagazine.com/#!/index/G0000sC1dkuvXG6Y

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