Nick Everett

The Rocket Room, St. John's NL, April 23

Photo: Noah Bender

BY Stephen CarlickPublished Apr 24, 2015

After Kira Sheppard was forced to drop out due to illness, Mauno's Nick Everett stepped in to contribute a set composed of originals and covers, all arranged for just electric guitar and voice. It's not a typical solo setup, but Everett milked it for all it was worth, wringing pathos and humour, in equal measure, out of his short performance at the Rocket Room.

Everett bookended his set with songs by Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth, and in between, he pulled from his catalogue with Mauno, from his basement sessions with Budons (his word for people he loves) and Old Adventure/Love Songs, an album he wrote while hitchhiking across the country when he was 17. That album's "St. Augustine" was elegant and sparse, like most of his material, but lest the atmosphere get too heavy, he mentioned at the end that he cut it; it was seven and a half minutes long, he said, and "it had a superfluous bridge. If you want to hear the rest, you're a masochist."

The set was pulled together by Everett's unassumingly beautiful voice; it's not traditionally "pretty," per se, but gosh is it adaptive and, more importantly, expressive. On a more straightforwardly rock-centric song — "It's bit of a rocker," he wryly quipped — he sang loudly, growling into his falsetto when necessary, but it was when he turned the volume and tempo down that he really shone.

Like Longstreth himself — his songs were a perfect cover choice here — Everett has a special knack for writing complex, unconventional songs that somehow still end up sounding immediate, and when he coos them softly to a small crowd, and in such an intimate venue, it's special. Case in point: I hadn't planned on reviewing his set, but I felt compelled to. It was that good.

Check out more photos from Lawnya Vawnya over on our Flickr page.

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