Event @ Jackie Horner, 21 July 2012
Cramming into Jackie Horner were a mass of diverse people: jewellery design, art and architecture students, strong men with tattoos, lesser strong men with beards and large stud earrings, a smattering of celebrities, journalists, muso’s, dj’s – in short : an inspiring mix of ‘the born frees’, the arty, the mundane!
Supporting Nick and opening the set with him as back-up guitarist was Irina Buzdugan from “Asleep in Transit”. The allotted slot was laid back and easy going with covers from Amy Winehouse, Gotye and the Cure to name but a few – all of which went down well with the ardent admirers. Irina is a confident performer, has a fine voice and charismatic presence and has piqued my ‘to do’ list to catch a performance of her and her band in the near future.
After a short break Nick took the stand with an array of foot pedals and three guitars: electric, acoustic, steel.
Nick, who is all of 20 years old and who picked up the guitar when he was 12, was not so much ‘killing the audience with his song’ as ‘mesmerizing them with his virtuosity’ and presented nothing short of a flawless performance. He is light years ahead of his age in expertise. Nick is self-taught choosing the Jimi Hendrix god as his muse and mentor unashamedly and unapologetically – and by all evidence born to carry this flame with esteem and utter brilliance. He is completely at ease with any of the three guitars which he neither tries to control nor impose upon: there is a synergy of a mutual civil existence, spurring each other to greater heights – a truly remarkable symbiosis of string/mind/finger compatibility. Apart from all the aforementioned, I was also particularly impressed with his sensitivity to the sound levels he was projecting: adjusting the sound intensity of a crunchy guitar loop (while his fingers were flying all over the fretted fingerboard of his electric guitar) so that his vocals had space to be heard, takes immense presence of mind in this context. He is unassuming and very much at ease in sharing his performance light. A guitar duo with Sebastian Goldswain from “The Sir Walrus Band” near the end of his set provided an imaginative addition where the sparks began to fly.
This intimate setting at Jackie Horner is perfectly poised to fill a much needed gap in the Durban music market – nonconformist and edgy, yet not dark and dingy – across various genres and….free entrance. The sound system is qualitative and allows the performer a space to be heard with clarity. And when someone of the calibre of Nick Pitman comes along and we are able to witness the birth of an undoubted guitar wizard unfettered by tacky sound or raucous interference we, the Durban public, will be there to support it! An option such as this has been sorely needed in the Glenwood area for quite some time.
But the night belonged to Pitman, Nick. Look out for him. He’s gonna be orbiting in your vicinity soon!