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Review: Sheeran's heroes Nizlopi get their funk on





"Take off your clothes!" Well, young Luke Concannon is a bit excited tonight, isn't he?

Nizlopi's tank top-wearing vocalist, guitarist, rapper and, er, bodhran player is only delighted to be back on Irish soil. Six years, it's been. And, hey, he and his musical partner, John Parker (the beat-boxing, double-bass playing multi-tasker in the Metallica top) have only been back together for a year or so.

What, you're still wondering who or what Nizlopi is? Oh, come on: "I'm Luke, I'm five and my dad's Bruce Lee, drives me round in his JCB!" Yep, it's that sweet-voiced, chart-friendly, folk / hip hop duo from Warwickshire, the one that went to number one around Christmas time nine years ago with the JCB Song (that's what it's called). Catchy ditty, that one.

A few things you should probably know about this lot. One: the internet tells us that they named their band after a Hungarian girl Luke used to fancy at school. Two: Nizlopi broke up a few years back (we must have missed that news bulletin). Three: they only had one hit.

Oh, and we almost forgot, Ed Sheeran used to be their guitar tech. Says he learned everything about performing from these lads (they actually stuck that quote on the posters).

Yes, Ed, and you pretty much stole their sound, too (seriously, close your eyes and it may as well be the ginger troubadour with the tiny guitars getting his funk on for us tonight). Ed writes better songs, though, and he doesn't get mixed up in politically-charged ramblings (or wear clown pants for that matter).

If Nizlopi's tunes don't quite stick as well as they'd planned, they can at least take comfort in the fact that they are tremendous live performers. Quite fond of ditching the stage, too.


"Come on you mad bastards!" shouts a sweaty Luke on the floor. Oh yes, he is certainly the crowd-pleaser. We don't care much for Nizlopi's twisted descent into sample-the-hit-and-see-if-it-fits territory (the boys shoehorn some Beyoncé, Thin Lizzy, Marvin Gaye and Rubberbandits into their material).

Nor could we stand another evening of Luke's fervent warbling (crikey, that lad makes some noise), but they certainly know their way around a rollicking session, tugging on heartstrings and shaping dance floors with songs about Luke's granny, love (All My Life - the one that Ed covers at his shows) and rejection (Helen…they have a habit of naming things after girls).

Again, it all goes a little awry in the end (power-to-the-people rap, with one too many borrowed choruses), but man, that JCB number is still lovely, innit? Marvellously delivered, too. You couldn't fault Nizlopi's passion tonight.

Maybe it's because Luke's parents are in the audience (it's the last night of the tour). Perhaps it's because the guys fancy themselves as an "Anglo-Irish" band." Or, maybe Nizlopi know damn well where their talents lie and that they will always be better performers than songwriters. Pity they couldn't have both. Like Ed.