We like Nelson King here at Dancing About Architecture, of course we do, just look at the amount of times we have written about his music. But of course the real test of a musician’s worth comes not so much in the studio but in the live arena. Of course there is an art to making a studio recording but you could argue that with the luxury of time, retakes, overdubs, samples etc etc, a good product can be eked out of the roughest of beginnings. (Although when you listen to his, generally minimalist, albums you know that you are hearing something close to the live performance anyway.)
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, and the proof for the jobbing musician comes in the form of strapping on of a guitar and to just the most basic backing beat, filling a room with music, enthralling an audience and generally making the world a better place, even for the briefest of periods.
This short run of live footage, a musical show reel if you like, shows Nelson King in all his raw, unadorned sonic beauty…though beauty might not be quite the right word. What are the right words? Well, honesty for one, a guy and a guitar and nothing to hide behind but his ability to write cool songs. Entertainment? Certainly. Even though the footage is fixed on the artist himself, the audience reaction is at first palpable and then increasingly audible. Craftsmanship? Yes, just listen to the audience get sucked into the songs. And even though they stay out of shot…but not earshot…if they are having half as much fun as the man himself then I reckon they all went home buzzing.
In a world of big festivals, slick TV music shows, arena events that you have to take a second mortgage out on even to get in the cheap seats, it is easy to forget that the music industry rests on gigs like this. Grassroots music might not be on a lot of younger people’s radar these days but such guitar slinging troubadours are the ballast which keeps the ship on course. Long live the old school music man, long live the solo entertainer, long live honest music and long live Nelson King!