Nizlopi / Jimmy Davis

Night And Day Caf, Manchester on Monday 15 October 2007

photos of this show
You know it’s gonna be a good gig when you turn up at the venue and it looks like the size of a wide corridor, and a band as engaging as Nizlopi are on the bill. With them tonight is Jimmy Davis, a socially and environmentally aware rapper from their neighbouring city of Birmingham.

Jimmy Davis

Not content to rap about worthless crap (though being a Yorkshire lass I do enjoy the bit about Yorkshire Tea “Milk, no sugar, with a doyley”), he and his mate tell us about peace and climate change in their own unique way. The backing tape may be a little cheesy, but Davis proves he can rap alone by flying solo with his microphone for the odd track. There’s the obligatory name song ‘Jimmy Davis’ which is catchy but somewhat un-inspirational, but I like where this kid is going and at least he has something important to say (unlike other hip hop artists with their bling and superficial bollocks).

Having seen Nizlopi play an intimate gig like this before I know what to expect (well, slightly!) but others in the crowd are surprised when the duo and their instruments assemble in the middle of the venue; unplugged yet producing a lot of noise. Cheeky baby-faced Luke Concannon has his acoustic guitar, whilst beat boxer John James Parker has his double bass (called Stephanie). Not an easy thing to carry about I imagine, especially onto and off a stage.


Down to earth, shoeless and chatting with the crowd between songs, Concannon has a powerful soul voice (described best as a male Tracy Chapman) which he puts to good use, though I can not decide on the rapping at times (a bit like that of The Streets, who I am not a huge fan of). Parker is pretty quiet, but the sweat he is producing from providing all the bass sounds and the constant beat boxing (and occasional comic noise) must be exhausting. There’s a joke about one of their crew members who looks like Parker’s younger brother (earlier I thought he was Parker from the back of the venue), and he can play a variety of instruments like him. Spooky!

Songs from ‘Half These Songs Are About You’ (‘Call It Up’, ‘Fine Story’) are the crowd favourites, along with ‘Yesterday’ from mini album ‘Extraordinary’. The set list was not followed; such is the impromptu nature of a Nizlopi show. Pleasing the crowd is the main objective; which takes no effort from the lads from Leamington Spa.

Concannon twice orchestrates the crowd to sing along with them, splitting the crowd into two and three sections, which hold together quite nicely. Towards the end nearly everyone is singing along; even the most shy ones. It is this close-to-the-crowd feeling that makes the guys so popular; their festival appearances are fantastic in the sunshine (I know; what is that these summer days?) but it is here in the 200 capacity venues where they really shine.


I have heard that the previous night they played for over two hours, but tonight there is a strict curfew (which they breach by only half an hour!). They do not appear jaded though, and give it their all as they do every time I have seen them play. The crowd pick up on this, and the mixture leaves us with a memorable show.

Jimmy Davis joins them on stage for ‘England Uprise’ (the song that inspired this ‘Up Rise’ tour) from the as yet unreleased album ‘Make It Happen’. Of course they sneak in the 'JCB Song' at the end, allowing for the loudest sing a long of the night. It is clear to all those in attendance that Nizlopi are more that that sweet song about a childhood memory, and I hope to see them more in the new year.

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article by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

published: 20/10/2007 23:14

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