“You’re a rowdy bunch”, states Nina Nesbitt shortly into her last show of the decade, and while this may well be true, little does she know how much energy this London crowd has left in them. And they plan on exerting every last drop.
Nesbitt is a little awkward, in a sweet ‘I’m not sure how to take all of this love’ kind of way, and as the crowd cheers for her endlessly between performances, it’s all she can do to grin nervously and offer gratitude with utterances of “I love you”. It’s an awkwardness that humanises Nesbitt, separating the flawless, angelic vocalist that oozes sincerity and hits the most otherworldly notes with gliding ease, from the person we see in between songs who makes cheeky jokes and stumbles around in her obscenely high platform trainers.
Each side is as endearing as the other, making up the one Nina Nesbitt we’ve all come to feel we know on a personal level through her songs, social media, and her live presence. A Nina Nesbitt we can relate to. A Nina Nesbitt we adore.
It’s a two way relationship, as shown through the sharing of personal anecdotes, and pushing the concept of self-care as she does before her performance of ‘Empire’. This song about self-belief is particularly poignant tonight as we’re reminded of Nesbitt’s first show in Camden to 300 people, a story she tells us while standing in front of five times that many people in the very same London suburb this evening.
Our connection with Nesbitt is only strengthened when we’re given the opportunity to witness two of her most personal songs – ‘Things I Say When You Sleep’ and ‘Last December’ – back to back, allowing for plenty of cathartic tears to fall from the eyes of everyone in attendance. These two songs see Nesbitt introducing her acoustic guitar – named Wednesday Addams, despite the addition of the pink lotus flower to its otherwise black casing – and while she usually uses a pick to avoid chipping her nails, we’re told that “tonight, I will chip my nails for you”; a simple gesture but for anyone who knows the pain of a chipped nail, you’ll understand the sacrifice that’s being made.
When introducing ‘Last December’, Nesbitt notes that it’s only due to fans “harassing [her] online” that it even made the album. She explains that it’s a song about appreciating something even once it’s over, before reminding everyone that her relationship with the subject of the song has been rekindled for some time. Her words, while lapped up by the crowd, are lost on said person, as she notes that he’s conveniently gone out for a smoke. Regardless, the performance is as stunning and sweet as you might expect, as Nesbitt hits every note perfectly, and seamlessly transitions into the chorus of ‘Waiting to Start’ – a new track that features on the deluxe version of ‘The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change & the Flowers Will Fall’, before smoothly moving back to the final moments of ‘Last December’.
As well as all the tears, it wouldn’t be a London show for Nesbitt without a surprise appearance, and as if inviting opening act Shy Martin on stage to perform ‘Psychopath’ – her Spotify collaboration with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence – wasn’t enough, we’re then treated to a performance of her John Newman collaboration, ‘Without You’, with none other than John Newman himself. With uncontrollable grins spread across both of their faces, it’s impossible not to let the happiness infect you, even with the likelihood that you’re still recovering from the more emotional performances of ‘Things I Say When You Sleep’ and ‘Last December’.
Further allowing us to push the emotions aside, a medley of 90s pop inspired ‘Love Letter’ and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’ is exactly what the doctor ordered to allow the crowd to lose themselves in what has now become a throwback dance party. It’s this performance that truly highlights the true range of Nesbitt’s songwriting ability, her versatility shining through with each song that passes.
It’s clear to everyone that ‘The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change’ has been life changing for Nina Nesbitt, but no song has achieved more than ‘The Best You Had’, a song which, to date, has received 80 million streams. Nesbitt notes that before this song was released, she was having a “shit time”, and while fans were connecting with it, they had no idea just how much they were helping Nesbitt out of an incredibly difficult time in her life. With this knowledge, the crowd greets the performance of this song with a warm embrace, making it one of the most powerful moments of the night.
It’s a bittersweet night as we celebrate the end of an era. Nesbitt’s comeback album has given fans more than anyone could have ever hoped for and it’s sad to be saying goodbye, but as she treats us to an unreleased song (one of six currently lined up for the new record), the room is also filled with anxious anticipation for what’s still to come. Even as she confuses her chords (“Fuck, I’ve fucked it already”) you find you can only ever love her more. She’s one of the most talented and exciting singer-songwriters in pop music right now (Taylor Swift certified), and at only 25 years old, she has so much more to give. And – surprise – the next single is to be ‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’, so maybe we’re not moving on just yet.
As the evening closes out with ‘Loyal to Me‘, and parting words warn us all to “stay away from the fuck boys”, the crowd is left to walk out of the venue, energy all but used up, with only the lingering adrenaline buzz to get them home safe.