• Chris Farlie

Danni Nicholls - Live At The Water Rats

It has to be said that live albums are normally a bit of an acquired taste, something for the die hard fan or an easy way for the artist to fulfil a contractual obligation. In many cases the releases fail to capture the excitement of the night or have been reworked so much to iron out bits which were not recorded or played properly on the night that they bear little resemblance to to the events the actually happened.

None of those problems apply here - what you get is an hour long set of absolute brilliance. Primarily the show was to launch Danni's excellent "The Melted Morning" album, with occasional visits to other albums in Danni's catalogue to round out the evening, It saw her play with a three piece band with a guest appearance by Lauren Housely on backing vocals, and everyone appears to be on top form.

From the guitar intro that sets the scene on "Frozen", there is the sense of an event unfolding, and a ripple of applause as Danni takes to the stage and opens up with a delicious rich warm vocal that is so inviting. The sound remains completely uncluttered and the band are versatile on a number of instruments and so "Wild Is The Water" is graced with piano as well as backing vocals.

A little section midway through reminds us just how good her previous studio album "Mockingbird Lane" was with a trio of songs, "Long Road Home" her tale of Bedford with its distinctive intro, and descriptive lyrics. followed by a lovely version of "Beautifully Broken", with well placed pieces of guitar giving a splendid accompaniment. The set within a set is completed with the heartbreakingly plaintive "Feel Again", in a superb version that should get people rushing to remind themselves just how brilliant an album "Mockingbird Lane" is.

Things return to "The Melted Morning" and Danni's ability as a writer and performer is amply displayed on each track, it would be simple to just list them all, each has something magical about them but for overall jaw dropping gospel excellence look no further than "Hear Your Voice" with Danni well and truly raising the roof.

The set is completed with a familiar closer in the shape of "A Little Redemption" closing off what must have been a spectacular evening, which this recording captures to perfection.

Lie At The Water Rats is available from www.danninicholls.com

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