It's not often you can say that you've been to a gig inside a greenhouse but select gigs at this year's Southside Festival will allow you the chance. Take for instance Nick Harper, whose fine showing doubled as a lesson in guitar brilliance. Beginners need not take note; only enjoy the spectacle.
Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson began the show. Mr Hat Fitz hails from Australia. He's on guitar duties. Ms Cara Robinson hails from Ireland, and handles drums, flute and washboard responsibilities. The question of however such a pairing came to be quickly evaporated as the first song began. It was well seeing that we were in a greenhouse. In fact, we could just as easily have been in a Louisiana swamp hut.
Cara's drumming was positively primitive while Mr Fitz's slide guitar was nothing short of mesmerising. Trading vocals and fine camaraderie throughout, this duo didn't put a foot wrong and the audience reaction reflected that. A lesser floor surface might've caved in with all the foot stomping.
Time for the main act, then. Nick Harper is well aware of the regard in which his father, Roy, is held by many. However, with time, Nick has carved out his own career and seemingly become a folk hero in his own right. His mastery of the guitar notwithstanding, Nick boasts a pleasant voice and fine knack for penning witty lyrics. On the populist front, he also took a few jabs at a certain Mr Cameron, much to the delight of the audience. However, Harper's lyrical satire took on another level entirely.
Along with fan favourites from his repertoire, Harper performed a few tracks from his latest release, "The Last Guitar", to a fond reception. This, truly, was a great show. Nick's guitar playing was exquisite without becoming indulgent and he was in great voice and humour throughout.
Time to go home. Catch the last bus? Maybe not. Last orders? Yes, that'll do!