Nizlopi - Manchester Academy 2 - 18.1.2006

Sept 2004 - Nizlopi attract the attention of the music industry at a packed out gig downstairs at Babygrand as part of the annual music conference In The City. The moment nizlopi hit that stage all the cynicism of the weekend is wiped away as the two men on stage engage their audience for the first time with nothing but a double bass and acoustic guitar in tow.

Dec 2005 - Over a year later the industry doesn't dare to sign Nizlopi, but an independent release and web animation sends them to the top of the charts keeping Westlife and nearly stopping Manc wank spank Shayne Ward from doing what numerous realtity TV stars had done previously. A nation embraces them and hundreds of A&R weep at the thought of what they missed out on.

Gary Dunne, tonight's support act, elevated himself above the position of mere singer songwriter taking something of the KT Tunstall school of performance with songs built up from scratch looping the guitar riffs, self made drum beats and even multiple backing vocals through the real time recorder. "Captain" is a plaintive ballad with upper range backing vocals as the gruff "irish" man managed to slip in interpolations of Agadoo. "It's True What They Say About Love" could be the sleeper hit of the year if tonights reaction is anything to go by, either that or a soundtrack to a tragic romantic comedy yet to be written by Ricky Gervais. The final song "American Folk Story" talks about not being political but knowing your enemy and by the end of the show he's slipping in a blues techno version of the "JCB Song". Expect great things from Gary Dunne in 2006.

Nizlopi's Luke Concannon and John Parker walk onstage in hoodie and ski hat as if they've somehow fell into the 21st century and figured that this is what they should be wearing. A few moments later the headgear is off and they reveal themselves in true geek chic, but ultimately are endearing the moment they open their mouths. The fact that they got to number 1 prior to Xmas was nothing short of a miracle as the band are not overtly commercial but the bredth of appeal as shown here with audience members ranging from 8 to 60 shows that all it takes it a good song.

Tonight is all about the celebration of their songs reaching a mass audience and its been a long time coming. Throughout the past 12 months they played Glastonbury, supported Jamie Cullum numourous times as well as managing their own tours of the country. As they walk on stage a nearby audience member questions whether it's just the 2 members on stage and when Parker starts beatboxing for many its a revelation. It's a  homeogenisation of traditional folk songs, an almost earthly world  music, with light hip hop beats.

Those who have the album know that the breakthrough hit isn't even their best track from "Half These Songs Are About You" and as they launch through a set covering most of that album they make it clear they're here to stay. John used to go to City College n Manchester and live in Palatine Road" Luke reveals "I used to travel up from Brighton to write songs with him. We both grew up on the folk circuit where you used to sing round the kitchen table singing songs and you liked people for who they were rather than how much money or what clothes they wore". It's a interesting story which is just the start of Nizlopi and even though some critics have written them off as one hit wonders those in the know are well aware that there's plenty more to come from this duo

Alex McCann

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