Live: Nick Hakim @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 17.02.18

A thought provoking and tranquillising performance was delivered from the Washington D.C. based songwriter Nick Hakim on Saturday. The bluesy folk singer is currently touring around the world until summer, through which he is presenting his pair of 2014 EPs and 2017 debut album Green Twins. It became clear from the offset that this guy is no stranger to the rigorous routine of jet lag and hard work, as he specifically expressed during the gig, “I just can’t wait for my bed.” We know Nick, we know.

The delicate and soulful tendencies of his work certainly glow through his records, but my god, the atmosphere reaches intangible heights when played live. Lets put it this way, if the moon could write music, it would sound like Nick Hakim. He began the set with an unusual, purely gentle approach which warmed and builded up throughout the gig, whilst illustrating paradoxical juxtapositions from soft whispers to passionate screams which were exceptionally captivating and ferociously innovative. His capable ingenious paired wonderfully with his apprehensive and endearing personality, which maintained a flawless balance of mood right until the last moment of his performance. Also, the addition of the guy playing the flute was a really sweet touch, it’s the little things I guess.

It’s worth mentioning the venue in these sorts of circumstances. When the music encapsulates a dreamy and lulling passion, a disco ball can only render and encourage the unabridged nostalgia the audience experiences. Furthermore, it was almost as though the room felt smaller as opposed to when previous artists have performed there. The only explanation I can offer is that the intimate and personal delivery worked beyond the metaphor of bringing the stage and audience together, concluding with an authentic, cozy quality as a result. The lighting was phenomenal; dim yet glimmering blues encompassed calm yet engaging lows, then bursts of red and white flashes accompanied the very fervent and strong spirited Nick Hakim which was of course, just as admirable.

Leaving that particular gig was a very unique experience, the music and sensitivity of feeling that came along with it was still in the mind, opening doors to any emotion that Nick Hakim had welcomed through his chamber of fragility. There was not even the periphery of disappointment within that gig and if his records touch you in any way whatsoever, a live show is absolutely necessary, I promise.

Bronwyn Riseley