Concert Review: Nina Nesbitt – Tuning Fork June 1, 2019

Performing an intimate show at Auckland’s Tuning Fork last night, Nina Nesbitt displayed her immense talent as both a singer and songwriter across a 90-minute set with support by local musician, Paige.

Opening with a 30-minute support set, Auckland musician Paige bounded on stage with the charisma of a youthful musician in love with performing music. While Paige had a few interesting songs, her youth was at once both her greatest strength and weakness, placing much of her vocals into a comfortable zone that neither pushed her performance or the energy of her songs.

When Paige and her band pushed beyond these moments they showed great promise, and an acoustic performance midway through the set took Paige away from repetitive pop lyrics and into a more personal and relatable level. As an opening act to the poetic pop of Nesbitt, these moments of vulnerable songwriting and performance showed the promise of a young musician moving beyond her comfort zone.

Hailing from Scotland, Nina Nesbitt mentioned to the Auckland crowd last night that this first New Zealand performance had brought her further away from her home than she’d ever been. While her rapport with the crowd was consistently charming throughout her set – with each of her songs prefaced with insight to the songwriting and meaning behind them – these small comments showed the lens that Nesbitt views life through.

Much of Nesbitt’s music could be relegated to pop and, with both Paige and Nesbitt stressing the importance of streaming platforms for today’s young musicians, you’d be forgiven for placing Nesbitt into the box of U.K pop artists. While Nesbitt’s music is designed for a stadium of singing fans, the intimacy of a venue like Tuning Fork showed a pared down trio, placing much of the focus on Nesbitt’s lyrics, vocals, and her journey as an artist.

This began with The Moments I’m Missing, with Nesbitt moving to keyboard and singing about the dreams we have in youth, and taking the time to be present in the ordinary moments of life, before following up with the heartbroken lament of Colder, the frustration at manipulative romance in Psychopath, and the tender admission of unexpressed love with Things I Say When You Sleep.

Vocally, Nesbitt is quite possibly the most underrated performer of her age. Despite taking the stage with a husky, travel-induced vocal range, she displayed staggering power in many of her heavier chorus sections, while an encore performance of Britney SpearsToxic pushed the low and high limits of her voice to create a genuinely unforgettable cover.

The beauty in Nesbitt’s performance is that it’s truly authentic – her music works both in a small venue with an acoustic guitar, and in a stadium full of screaming fans – and stems from a genuine love of songwriting and dream of being a musician.

Closing with a five-song encore including the title track of her new album, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, last night’s performance was everything her youthful, pop-hungry fans wanted. But it also showed a soulful songwriter, exploring themes of the human condition with a depth far beyond her peers, and with a level of insight rarely seen in modern pop.

Oxford Lamoureaux

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Rachel Webb:



Nina Nesbitt Setlist


The Moments I’m Missing


Chewing Gum



Things I Say When You Sleep

Last December

Is It Really Me You’re Missing

Love Letter / Say My Name (Destiny’s Child Cover)

Somebody Special

The Best You Had




The Apple Tree

Stay Out

The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change

Toxic (Britney Spears Cover)

Loyal To Me