Nathan Carter played a sold-out gig at New York City's Cutting Room venue on January 11.

He came, he saw and he conquered.  That would be the general consensus for the appearance of one of Ireland’s top entertainers, Nathan Carter, last weekend at the Cutting Room in Manhattan and his very first show in the Big Apple. 

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The Liverpool lad with parental roots in Newry has been a huge act back in Ireland and the U.K. with massive turnouts riding the crest of the revival of country music, particularly among young people.  When mixed with some older Irish standards and chunes on his accordion, he appeals to the multi-generational demographic among people in his audiences.

The capacity crowd of just under 400 people who scored a ticket to the East Side venue on Saturday night fit that description all right, and gave a warm welcome to the young artist who would love to add America to his growing fandom.  The timing of the show in Manhattan as a once-off in January was certainly serendipitous for Carter and also opportunistic for a couple of reasons.

The first was to receive an invitation from George Heslin, the founder and artistic director of the Origin Theatre Company for his 1st Irish Festival celebrating its 12th year showcasing a wealth of theatrical talent from the island of Ireland and Irish America, many gaining New York exposure for the first time as well.  It was an inspired choice to include Carter, and success was insured with the concert sold out two months in advance as his reputation as an entertainer preceded him.

The early January gig coincided with the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference at the New York Hilton Hotel and around town which is a huge professional “hiring fair” in the wider entertainment sphere across the U.S. as artists of all descriptions and their agents engage with performance venues of all shapes and sizes hopeful of booking tours or gigs in America.

This year there were very few Celtic acts showcasing their wares inside the enormous hotel’s function rooms where fees can be expensive and the atmosphere more akin to speed-dating than conducive live performances.  So bigger acts like Carter and We Banjo 3 chose to give full live shows in live music venues like the Cutting Room and Iridium where interaction with audiences was guaranteed based on their animated stage shows.

Ticket sales can also defray the travel costs so a six-piece band like Carter’s can benefit from that as well. The additional benefit is that potential APAP bookers can get out of the hotel and see a live act in a live venue and experience the crowd reaction.

Carter and his management team knew they were rolling the dice here with the limited but strategic gig at the Cutting Room, where they might have sold double or triple the number of ducats for the one evening show.  As Carter told me the next day at his APAP stall at the Hilton, “I’m always looking for new challenges and, hopefully, this is my first step up the ladder to get my name out there in New York and beyond. The goal is to be able to tour in America for a month or so like back at home, and now is the time to do it.”

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The fresh-faced lad of 29 admitted to being nervous before the Cutting Room gig, but any anxiety was laid to rest at the very beginning as the very “Irish home crowd” in the house quickly succumbed to his stage charms.

The setlist had new songs and variety as it unfolded with his touch of country and older Irish standards familiar to them like the very much expected “Leaving of Liverpool” ballad.  Even his elderly grandparents, Ann and John McCoy from Liverpool, came over to see him perform in New York along with a number of friends and fans from Ireland.

The performance also featured guest star Chloe Agnew, formerly of Celtic Woman, now a solo act here in America, and Carter’s top-flight band of John Pettifer, Niall Murphy, Gareth Lowry, Carl Harvey and John Byrne who all contributed to a mighty night.

While Carter’s earlier tours in America have produced sell-outs in Chicago and Boston, he still was glowing the day after his New York debut. “It was the best night ever for me in America because of the crowd and the atmosphere.  We were able to take them onboard at the outset and we hope that they will come back and see us again when we hit town,” he said.

Had a ball last night at our debut gig in New York At the iconic Cutting Rooms where lots of huge stars have started...

Publiée par Nathan Carter sur Dimanche 12 janvier 2020

I’d say the chances of that happening are pretty good, and it could even be as soon as this St. Patrick’s week so keep your eyes on www.nathancartermusic.com.

Are you a Nathan Carter fan? Let us know in the comments!

Nathan Carter played a sold-out debut show at New York City's Cutting Room venue on January 11.