Gig review: Nina Nesbitt, Usher Hall

Nina Nesbitt wows a hometown crowd at the Usher Hall. Picture: Scott Taylor
Nina Nesbitt wows a hometown crowd at the Usher Hall. Picture: Scott Taylor
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Teenage pop-singer, Nina Nesbitt, made a triumphant return to her hometown last night, delighting local fans with an impressive 80-minute set at the Usher Hall.

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Having wowed audiences at the highly influential SWSX festival in Texas recently, this was something of a homecoming for the 19-year-old.

There was a strong sense of anticipation in the air, too, as many teens, mums and dads waited patiently for the cherub-faced singer to appear.

A former model, when Nesbitt emerged at 9pm (backed by a three-piece band), she strutted onstage like she’d just walked off a Milan catwalk.

She didn’t appear too nervous in front of a large home crowd, either, but there’s no doubt she relaxed more as the night wore on.

Sitting behind an electric piano – just prior to singing new song Bright Blue Eyes – she looked visibly impressed by the turnout:

“This is certainly an improvement on playing to five people at the Electric Circus two-and-half years ago,” she smiled.

Indeed. Having picked up the guitar aged 15, Nesbitt’s rise to prominence has been four years in the making.

She started her career uploading music videos to YouTube and was soon invited to support Ed Sheeran on his European Tour. A cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop for a John Lewis advert introduced her voice to a mainstream television audience, and it wasn’t too long before Nesbitt was singing Flower Of Scotland at Hampden Park.

Now, here she was: a regular Edinburgh teenager performing to her very own at the Usher Hall. It was dark, but she may well have been pinching herself.

Wearing a light-blue leather jacket, her small face poking out from under a swirly mane of long, blonde hair, Nesbitt’s songs capture everything you’d associate with any teenager today.

If she wasn’t singing about growing up in Edinburgh, a career in music, or being on a mobile phone, she was rocking out on a tune called We’ll Be Back For More, which, she said, was “mainly about The Hive” (a local nightclub).

A highlight, it saw Nesbitt bring some friends up onstage to sing a specially written verse. It was a nice touch.

Behind her, meanwhile, an illuminated “brick wall” projected themes found in her debut album, Peroxide. A river of candles for instance floated alongside a delicate rendition of 18 Candles, and if anything summed up the online flavour of the month, it was the catchy pop of Selfies.

Even when she wasn’t playing piano or guitar, Nesbitt would occasionally smack the life out of a floor-tom drum.

Brit Summer gave her the chance to ask everyone if they’d be going to T in the Park this summer, and the reaction suggested they would be.

The song that made her a chart success (Stay Out) was another highlight.

However, reaction to an unexpected cover of The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles at the very end also suggested Nesbitt’s Capital cheerleaders would happily walk 500 more just to fall down at her door.