Review: Nik Kershaw’s solo ‘hometown’ show at Bury’s Apex
22:00 19 September 2014
“I guess this is as close as I’ll get on this tour to a home-town gig.”
And although he wasn’t playing in Ipswich, where he grew up and started his music career, Nik Kershaw certainly seemed at home among plenty of loyal fans at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday.
The Suffolk show was part of his “Me, Myself and I” tour, and featured 80’s heartthrob Nik take to the stage alone – apart from the company of two computer-generated companions who mocked and praised him in equal measure from the three large screens behind him.
The Apex proved a perfect venue for the singer/songwriter who started out playing in an Ipswich pub covers band before being spotted as a talented youngster.
During a rapid rise to the top – including a set during Live Aid and collaboration with Elton John – Nik enjoyed the upside to the music business, selling millions of records and adorning the bedroom walls of teenage girls around the world.
But after a successful spell he found it tough to get back into the charts in the 90’s after taking time out to focus on writing and producing for other artists – something he candidly discussed during the Q&A sections of the two-and-a-half hour show.
Mixing more recent compositions in with some of his smash hits of 30 years ago, he used loop pedals to great effect – appearing as an older Ed Sheeran type, deconstructing his well-known pop synth-pop tracks and successfully turning them into acoustic numbers that would not seem out of place on Radio 2 today.
With anecdotes about his life in showbiz, an easy-going blend of jokes and self-deprecation, the former Northgate High School pupil held the stage on his own – not easy when you’re 5ft 5in, as pointed out by the cheekier of his twin computer-generated sidekicks.
Hits including Wouldn’t it be Good, I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, The Riddle, Don Quixote, Human Racing and Wide Boy went down well and the stripped-back style helped expose the strength of his songwriting.
Nik’s taken some stick over the years – and he is happy to make jokes at his own expense – but he remains a serious and skilled composer and recent tracks such as Red Strand, written for his wife on their wedding day, and The Sky’s the Limit illustrated his enduring talent.