Nin Nastasia: Quirky launch for John Peel son's festivities
FOLLOWING last year's successful season curated by Duke Special, the MAC has invited Radio 6 Music DJ – and son of the late John Peel, Tom Ravenscroft – to take the reins for a week of shows.
As you'd expect from Peelie's offspring it's an eclectic bill, which kicked off last night with the nebulous New York singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia.
Her quirky sounds drew a small but impassioned crowd, who were held rapt by the Peel family favourite's debut gig in Northern Ireland.
Nastasia emerged on to a stage bathed in purple light, introduced by Ravenscroft as "one of my favourite human beings".
Her brittle voice and minimalist guitar-playing were magical, and had the audience hanging on every melancholic note.
Even the songs with happy lyrics sounded sad.
But Nastasia pricked any sense of pomposity with a charming, disarming personality.
"I am such a victim of my emotions," she deadpanned.
Later, she passed a bottle of whiskey round the hall, got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday down the phone to a friend in the US and told rambling anecdotes.
Not even Ravenscroft escaped the banter: "He has a very cool exterior," Nastasia said, "but really he's just a big baby".
By her own admission socially awkward, yet enviably talented, Nastasia is what Kurt Cobain might have ended up like – had he lived, been a woman and quit the mainstream music industry.