Gig Review by Sara Reynolds / Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Bo Bruce

First up is Gary Nock, a one-man vocal and acoustic extravaganza. Nock, starts off by telling us almost wearily that he can be found on a variety of media including facebook, instagram, myspace… blah blah. In a world now consisting of artist’s competitive and avid self-promotion through various media, I could see how this could get a little tiresome. Anyway! With guitar in hand Nock belts out a series of nu-folksy heart felt acoustic tunes, the type that is currently very popular as a heart-warming soundtrack to peoples lives.

Gary Nock

One of the highlights of the set for me is ‘make it better’ a feel good ditty which incidentally can now be heard/viewed on youtube, instagram, itunes… hmmm yes see what you mean. and was incidentally used on a television advert for a certain chocolate bar…go find!

Gary Nock Gary Nock

Nock plays an 8 song set from his well received album ‘The life we learned to live’, my favourite song from the set is ‘Closing Time’, not merely for the songwriting but also the way Nock really breaks out of his comfort zone strumming on his guitar in a gregarious bashy sort of way, which is imperfect, but great all in one go.

Boxes, is a band that never became a band. That was the initial aim of lead singer Carey Willetts… but it never came to fruition.

Boxes (BOXESclever)

He starts off with a tune I feel sure I recognise… ‘sleight of hand, and twist of fate’ aah yes of course It’s the opening line to U2’s ‘With or without you’ appropriated here within ‘Throw your stones’. Carey mixes it up here with his own lyrics, and delivers it in a very alternative direction, with computer key boards and what looks like an old Kempston console joystick wired up to drum kits, an iPad and laptops to create some powerful electronic sounds and beats.

Boxes (BOXESclever) Boxes (BOXESclever)

Bashing and thwacking his way through his set, his powerful self-confident performance and self deprecating humour really warms up the audience. Boxes completes his 6 song play list with a true life story about how, his second son almost lost his life during child birth, and tells how all the doors in the hospital were held open to receive his wife in the hope of saving the child… which they did. Pretty powerful stuff, which make’s his heartfelt renditions all the more poignant.

Hard to believe that Bo Bruce was runner up on 2012’s the voice. She was in fact the bookies favourite to win, only to be pipped to the post by yet another unexpected talent show winner (Leanne Mitchell).

Bo Bruce

I admit it; I followed the whole of Bo’s journey on the talent show ‘The Voice’ last year. To me and many others she came across as an authentic talent, on a show that has attempted to break the mould of talent shows in general by focussing literally on ‘the voice’. How well it has managed to achieve it’s goal over the more superficial aspects of modern day celebrity, is much debated, but there is no doubt that The Voice showcases some of the uk’s finest vocals. Bo herself possesses a rare, unique and powerful voice. Her ethereal persona on stage, floating chiffon dress, and highly ornamented body, moving in slow motion via the device of an on stage fan, puts me in mind of some of the more dramatic videos from the 70/80’s by artists such as Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, and Duran Duran.

Bo Bruce

I really admire here that Bo has chosen to play mainly songs from her debut album ‘Before I sleep’ rather than concentrating on a staple diet of well trodden ‘The Voice’ crowd pleasers. Bo’s voice sounds uncanny, almost like a well-produced version of it’s self – as in, it is just delivered so well. Bo concentrates on a series of self-penned songs such as ‘We don’t have much time’, ‘Buried so far underground’, and “I miss you”. There’s a ceremonial almost ghost like feel to many of Bo’s songs, which makes more sense when we reflect that her debut album was written just months after the death of her mother, and that the pinnacle of her ‘The Voice’ success came just as she was losing her. From what I’ve read Bo feels that her mother is somewhere there between the words and notes of her songs, certainly in the lyrics, and this is conveyed by Bo’s emotive delivery.

Bo Bruce Bo Bruce

I managed to get to the front of the audience and became fascinated by the teenage girls in the front row, ‘Super Fans’ I guess, mouthing every word, with hands clasped to their chests, and at times holding one another as if to comfort – as though Bo’s world is indeed that of their own.

Bo Bruce Bo Bruce

Bo certainly connects with her audience, and at one point during the encore enters the crowd, and sings an acoustic version of “holding the light”. Bo Bruce is an intense performer, with a beautiful voice and presence. Despite connecting so well with her audience, it appears that she is also connected to another world somewhere distant, and this is an interesting paradox, which leaves her audience bewitched.

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