Review + Photos by Frank Ralph

I’ve genuinely never heard a crowd response as loud as the one Nao got at Albert Hall in Manchester. You’d have thought it was a hometown show for the Nottingham born singer. She was clearly taken aback herself too but was completely deserving of the hysteria. She matched the energy and intensity of the audience throughout, making for an incredible night.

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Starting her set on a raised platform in the middle of the audience she took a few people by surprise, but it was a great way for her to get up close and personal with the audience and somehow made this already beautiful venue look even more spectacular.

Her energy on stage was infectious as hell. Dancing her way through songs energetically and never missing a note, or even appearing breathless at all. Where some artists sacrifice singing for performance, she does both easily and her vocals were note perfect all night, and I mean note perfect. She has one of the best and clearest voices you’ll ever hear – and she’s got some moves too!

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Tracks like Bad Blood, Complicated and Girlfriend are highlights of a great show and even with the main set lasting merely an hour you didn’t feel short changed at all as both her albums, For All We Know, and most recent release Saturn were covered generously.

With balloons adorning the stage to tie in with her Saturn album cover, Albert Hall looked incredible, and her use of a shawl and wind machine later in the set was expertly executed and visually dramatic. This was as good a show visually as it was sonically.

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It’s wonderful to watch someone who is enjoying themselves when performing. Yes, there’s a place for shoegazing or sad music, but when the music is this catchy and danceable you can’t help yourself. It’s the kind of gig you come away from feeling inspired and invigorated.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Nao had an extremely busy few months ahead of her as this is perfect feel good festival music, and with a trip back to Manchester for Parklife in June her ‘Wonky Pop’ is certain to be the talk of summer.

See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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