Live review: Withered Hand, O’Messy Life, Mike Nisbet at Captains Rest, 2/11/11

Mike Nisbet is the first act tonight and it doesn’t take long for him to silence the crowd with his distinguishingly smooth voice.

Nisbet performs a charming selection from album Vagrant, which consists of mellow finger picked riffs and lyrics of life and love.

In particular, ‘Funny Little Windows’ beautifully demonstrates the flair of talent possessed by the bearded singer songwriter.

A cover of ‘Loretta’, originally by Townes Van Zandt, fits the set perfectly and allows Nisbett to sing satisfyingly in a country style while integrating the sound of the harmonica.

O’Messy Life continue to maintain the low-key atmosphere present in the Captains tonight and as the set progresses, it is difficult to distinguish the differences in each song.

However, ‘Permanent Threshold Shift Blues’ sparks a certain level of passion within the band, nurturing a Scottish folk sound while integrating hints of punk through the vocals.

Withered Hand welcome the crowd and take to the stage in a humble manner, there’s echoes elements of early Fleet Foxes yet it is fair to say that front man Dan Wilson puts his own stamp on the music he makes.

The range of instrumentation (including the cello and banjo) along with haunting vocal harmonies adds to the overall warmth of the band’s sound.

Withered Hand awe the audience with amorous songs from debut album ’Good News’ which includes a selection of sublime tracks such as ’No Ciarettes’ and ’Joy’.

The band save best until last and close with ‘Religious Songs’, which has the audience singing in unison much to Wilson’s delight.

The performance of this song is particularly stunning and radiates a volume of effortless magic that engages the listeners in the room impeccably.

Words: Rachel Cunningham
Photos: Ingrid Mur

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