Nina Nesbitt - Academy, Manchester
Lotus flowers embellishing the set and neon lights warming up the room, before she could even step foot onto stage, it was more than evident that fans were in for a performance nothing short of brilliant. With a show full of passion and a set full of surprises, Nina Nesbitt definitely made Manchester her own on Saturday night.
Taking to the stage with newer track, Somebody Special, the uniqueness of the setlist is made evident immediately. Performing only the first verse and chorus of the song before moving onto another new one Sacred, the crowd is left captivated and eager to see how Nina continues to play with her songs in a live environment.
The entire night you could tell she was having fun with her setlist, changing midway to “enter the acoustic section of the night’’ as she introduced it, to then bringing out support act Lauren Aquilina to perform Psychopath. The two spent the time dancing and carefree, radiating huge girl power energy as the audience sing back, sharing the ever so relatable lyrics of being branded a psycho ex-girlfriend.
What really set Nina’s performance on such a high bar, however, has to be every aspect of the production. With her new album The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, taking a much more RnB/ 90’s pop route, each song was backed up by a thumping bass and drum beats impossible not to dance along to. Not only the sound, but visuals played a key part in the show too, with lighting to perfectly match the aesthetic of each song, bringing the stories behind the music to life even more so. More intense tracks such as Empire possessed dark, frantic lighting, whilst pop anthem Love Letter contrasted in pink.
Although supplying a performance fuelled with fierceness and passion, the way Nina interacted with the crowd made you feel as though you were watching one of your closest friends perform: taking the time between songs to involve fans and unfold her stories of heartbreak and healing that inspired her lyrics. The crowd laughed as she goes onto explain the stalking of an ex’s new girlfriend on Instagram, and the blow she felt when she saw she studies a ‘’law degree, at Oxford University’’.
The special moment of the night, however, has to be her performance of 90’s inspired bop, Love Letter, which blended seamlessly into Destiny’s Child’s Bills Bills Bills and Say My Name, showcasing the strong influences beyond the track. Following such trends, she also treated the audience to a sultry cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic, before ending her set on crowd favourite Loyal to Me.
With such a special set, Nina Nesbitt truly proved how live music gives artists the space they need to bring their songs to life and express themselves even further; and left Manchester all danced out for the night whilst she did it.
Photography by Zack Hough