Tag Archives: Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – March 29 2015

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here 🙂

After the best part of a week of my Glasgow photo’s here a couple more of my photographs of Franz Nicolay from a gig I attended Friday.  Franz is an extremely talented musician currently residing in Brooklyn.  If you get a chance check him out.

Franz NicolayFranz Nicolay




Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay – The Joiners, Southampton 27 March 2015 – Gig Review

Back in January of this year I had the pleasure of reviewing Franz Nicolay’s latest album “To Us The Beautiful” for Echoes and Dust and a very fine album it is.  I was thrilled to see that Franz was in the UK for a series of 15 shows and one of those shows was fairly local to me at The Joiners in Southampton.

The Joiners is a bit of a legendary venue and huge numbers of big name acts have played there on their way to becoming big names.  Ed Sheeran, Enter Shikari, Muse the Levellers and Oasis are just a few of the bands that have played this little 150 capacity venue.

Situated in the St Mary’s district of Southampton The Joiners like the whole area has seen better days.  It looks a little neglected both inside and out and the lighting is terrible.  That said the sound is great and the beer is fine too.

We arrived at the venue just before 8pm and were expecting to find that support act John Shoe was already on stage but no.  As seems to be becoming the norm these days there were no less than four acts across the evening.  As a result it was 9.45 before Franz took the stage.

If you don’t know Franz Nicolay’s solo music he is a multi instrumentalist and during this show he accompanied himself on guitar, banjo and accordion, though obviously not all at the same time.  Franz opened the set with the opening track of his album “To Us The Beautiful”  and as you would expect we were treated to around half a dozen songs from the album with Marfa Lights, Shallow Water, Wrestlers and Bright White all getting a run out.

What impresses me about Nicolay is the seamless way he shifts between instruments.  As an example when he broke a string during “The Hearts Of Boston” he finished the song, handed off his guitar for someone to replace the string, picked up his banjo and launched into “Shallow Water” no fuss, no flap, no drama.  The evening comedy moment came a little later in the set when Franz again broke a string during “Wrestler.” On this occasion he handed off the guitar and played “This Is Not A Pipe” on his banjo.  When his guitar was restrung he simply scratched his head, said “Now where was I?” and went back to where he had been in “Wrestler.”

It is also nice to see an artists ask the audience what they want to hear and then do his level best to play it.  On this occasion this included a cover of The Sharp Things song “There Will Be Violins” though to be fair Franz did release his modified version of the song back in 2007.

Nicolay is an accomplished and engaging performer.  Modest and self effacing he chats to the audience rather than at them and is happy to share a joke or wisecrack between songs.  There is no doubt in my mind that incredibly talented performer should be playing to much larger crowds than is the case at venues like the Joiners, but sadly it seems to be the case that talent counts for little  in the music business these days.

We just have to be grateful that people like Franz Nicolay and venues like The Joiners find a way to keep their heads above water so that we can continue to listen to great music.  Lets just hope that they can both keep doing so for years to come.

Franz Nicolay

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – March 28 2015

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here 🙂

After the best part of a week of my Glasgow photo’s here a couple of photographs of Franz Nicolay from a gig I attended last night.  Franz is an extremely talented musician currently residing in Brooklyn.  If you get a chance check him out.

Franz Nicolay - Soton-2Franz Nicolay - Soton-3



franz-nicolay-

Album Review: Franz Nicolay – To Us, The Beautiful

Here we are on the 11th of January already and this is my first review of the New Year, clearly I have been slacking!  As is my wont when asked to review an album, I downloaded this onto my iPod and went off to walk the dogs.  I like to give albums my undivided attention, especially when it is an artist that I am not familiar with.

I  wasn’t familiar with Franz Nicolay, actually ‘unfamiliar’ would be something of an exaggeration, I hadn’t heard of Franz Nicolay.  Hearing the name you imagine eastern European folk music , perhaps with a gypsy feel.  Wrong! Franz may well be from Eastern European stock but he is from Brooklyn.  The links with gypsy music are not so far off the mark though as Franz has played with New York gypsy-punks Guignol.  He has also recorded with the likes of Frank Turner and the Dresden Dolls and with this album being released on the same label, Xtra Mile Recordings, as Frank the signs were looking good.

What is clear from the outset is that Nicolay draws from a pretty broad church.  The opening and title track is a guitar driven punk tune which takes its title from a rather lucid Ukrainian toast – “To us the beautiful, and to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out.”  Its a hook laden and joyful song though there is just a hint of darkness in the lyrics.  It reminded me a little of Counting Crows “Mr Jones” in places.  The catchy, energetic guitar , laden feel continues throughout the album.  It is instantly enjoyable and feels familiar with guitar driven tunes dominant but as you  might expect from a multi-instrumentalist  this album is far from a one trick pony.  A wide range of influences are apparent.

The hooks in “Imperfect” reminded me of an old song called “My Favourite Waste of Time” and that song hits you with one of the best lines on the whole album, “If we are the company we keep, I must be stupid and cheap”.  Shallow Water” has an interesting banjo-picked melody line and is one of the quieter more introspective songs and stands out against the backdrop of energetic guitar driven rock songs.

Amazingly,  “To Us, The Beautiful” was put together in less than a week and features Andrew Seward of Against Me! on bass, Ara Babajian of Leftover Crack on drums, the NYC guitarist Yoni Gordon, you would never guess this from listening to an album filled with great songs, elegant melodies and lovely riffs.  This is however a process unlikely to be repeated, Nicolay said:  “If I make another record, it probably won’t be anything like this.”

This is a beautifully produced, lyrically interesting and enjoyable piece of guitar driven rock music.  There is a sense of freedom in the delivery and it all fits together superbly as a coherent piece of music.  Every track brings it’s own reward and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending that you buy it when it is released in the UK on Xtra Mile Recordings next Monday, 19th January 2015.

http://smarturl.it/ToUsTheBeautiful-XMR

http://smarturl.it/ToUsTheBeautiful-iT