Nobu Unplugged is a series of monthly nights that claims to showcase some of the brightest up-and-coming musical talent currently available to us. A mixture of unsigned and recently-signed acts are brought in to exhibit their talent, each performing a few songs for the intimately-packed first floor crowd.
Set up on a small stage to the side of the main bar, the first act of the evening was ‘Musician and Dogwalking(sic) enthusiast’ Jack Garratt, a talented young man with the beard to more-than match his gravelly voice.
Garratt treated us to a few of his latest songs and, accompanied solely by his acoustic guitar, even managed to mute the herd of grandiose blondes on the front table. For a few minutes, anyway.
If you get a chance, Surprise Yourself is worth a watch on YouTube. Probably the pick of his songs.
Next up was The Night VI, an Anglo-French six-piece band, who were, well, simply brilliant, actually.
The band consists of two women and four chaps, with lead singer Sophie Rose-Harper’s compelling voice blissfully icing the tight-knit band, whose sound falls somewhere in between The Corrs and the great Fleetwood Mac. I genuinely think this lot could be on to big things. New track Still Thinking of You stood out. As did Fears, while we’re at it.
Then to the headline act of the night, James Walsh. The former Starsailor frontman looked like he had been jollied up to the stage by a few of his mates after losing an alcohol-fuelled game of Snap. But, my word, has he still got it. The man most definitely still possesses his unmistakable voice.
As a fan of Starsailor during their heyday – prior to the band’s 2009 hiatus – I was genuinely intrigued as to how Mr Walsh was holding up, both musically and physically. Guilty perhaps of sinking a few too many pork pies since he was last on the big stage, but, musically, he’s still got it.
“I was so nervous about coming up because the two acts before were so bloody good… Let’s be honest, ey?” James whispered as he got up on the cheese cracker of a stage.
James, you needn’t have worried. As good as the two previous acts were, you met and then exceeded my expectations.
With a mixture of Starsailor classics, such as Four to the Floor and Silence is Easy (both from the band’s 2003 album Silence is Easy) along with a couple of his new solo songs, Chorley-born Walsh showcased his timeless thrumming vocals and effortless songwriting ability. He should play Snap more often.
‘The critically acclaimed Nobu Berkeley St is now one of London’s most fashionable restaurants and has also been the venue for some of the capitals(sic) most high profile parties,’ claims Nobu’s website.
The former is, more than likely, true. I can’t vouch for it as such, as I haven’t been to every one of London’s ‘most fashionable’ restaurants, but fashionable it certainly is.
The latter, however, is without doubt the main driver behind each and every thing Nobu does. It’s all about the celebrity spotting, the expensive cocktails and the battle of vocal grandiloquence among the oh-so-rich guests.
This said, the cocktails were extraordinary (the Japanese Mojito is a must-have), the staff were, by large, extremely professional and the venue is extremely slick and stylish.
‘What about the food!?’ I hear you ask. Well, from where we were sitting, the Bento boxes on the next table looked delicious!
Nobu Unplugged, Nobu Berkeley Street, 15 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DY