Gig Review: Alfie Sharp at Peggy's Skylight

Words: Maddie Dinnage
Photos: Nigel King
Wednesday 20 March 2024
reading time: min, words

Celebrating the release of his debut EP Home Truths, local legend Alfie Sharp returns to his roots for a stellar performance at Peggy’s Skylight...

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Alfie Sharp first arrived on the local music scene four years ago with the aptly titled Nostalgia. Since then, the singer has become a commander of rare, raw vocal talent, and introspective lyricism. Like most great artists, Alfie uses his art as a scope through which to grapple with many of life’s unanswerable questions; exploring notions of class identity, queerness, and the complex relationships between people and their environment. 

Not only does Alfie demonstrate the self-awareness and storytelling abilities that far more seasoned songwriters can only dream of, but he also possesses a set of rich vocals which transcend the confines of a single genre. During the first four years of his career, Alfie has journeyed musically and internally over new, uncertain terrain, arriving at the most natural final destination: home. 

Friends, family, fans and local music lovers gathered at Nottingham’s favourite jazz hotspot to celebrate the release of Alfie’s debut EP Home Truths. As the crowd gathered before the opening set, the lamp-lit venue teemed with the ghostly voices of past performers. Since opening its doors in 2018, Peggy's has hosted some of the most renowned names in jazz music, including The Headhunters and The Last Poets. Standing there, you can feel the overwhelming presence of every performer to have ever graced the stage, coming together to uplift a host of future musicians. 

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Nottingham-bred singer-songwriter Tonia lured the crowd into sweet hypnosis, fusing delicate vocals with wistful lyricism. The singer follows in the footsteps of other local legends such as Holly Humberstone, producing soothing tunes with a strong, emotional undercurrent. Flanked by her band, Tonia floats across the stage with a gentle ease, establishing herself as one to watch. Her recent single I Kind of Liked It, is a standout track, driven by an infectious percussion beat and Tonia’s dreamy melodies. If you love the likes of Rachel Chinouriri, Vona Vella, and Phoebe Green, this up-and-comer should be on your radar. 

In the moments before Alfie’s headline set, the room was silenced by an audio recording of the singer’s grandmother, immersing the crowd within his small corner of the world. It was impossible not to feel the gravity of community support, as it seemed that everyone who knew and loved the singer was in attendance. 

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As Alfie took to the stage, he sang the opening lines of 2023 single Wasted, “I’m seeing double, since you went away”, twinkling with the jazz-fuelled notes of the piano. His larger-than-life vocals seem to take on their own autonomy, brimming with endless supplies of soul and attitude. It meanders through effortless vibrato, reaching new heights at the chorus. There’s no need to listen hard to recognise some of the musical legends to have impacted the singer, as Wasted is abundant with the influences of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Norah Jones. Meanwhile, the unreleased track Clean has the razor-sharp wit of a Lily Allen or Amy Winehouse song.

Alfie disarms his audience with his humble charm and candour, permitting us access to some of his most formative memories. Throughout the night, we are taken on a journey from childhood to adulthood, experiencing all of the joy, trauma, love, injustice, and hope that comes with it. Not only does Alfie’s discography hum with vulnerability, but it also roars with the anger of working-class voices such as Alan Sillitoe and John Osbourne. 


Throughout the night, we are taken on a journey from childhood to adulthood, experiencing all of the joy, trauma, love, injustice, and hope that comes with it.


For what was perhaps the highlight of the evening, Alfie invited the Rob Rossa string quartet onstage for a performance of Home. The singer interweaves himself against a delicately woven backdrop of string melodies, each component simply seeking to elevate the other. As Alfie expressed his admiration towards the Rob Rossa quartet, he announced that he had collaborated with them on an exclusive version of Wasted. If I had it my way, there would be a Rob Rossa version of every Alfie Sharp track. It is rare to see musicians come together so gracefully, using their individual talents to create something even bigger. 

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In discussing his EP with LeftLion earlier this year, Alfie described Home Truths as a love letter to Nottingham, a statement that he reaffirms throughout the evening, as he explains that the whole project is “a lesson to myself, but also about the people and the place that I’ve grown up around”. 

Alfie returns to the crux of things once again with his encore track, revisiting his opening song Wasted, though this time joined by the Rob Rossa string quartet. With full command of the grand piano, the singer takes one final trip down memory lane, armed this time with the gift of hindsight. As a musician and songwriter, Alfie possesses the rare ability to delve into the past and find subtle nuances each time, using them as a catalyst for self-reflection. Truly wise beyond his years, there is no telling where Alfie’s great stores of talent will take him this year. 

Alfie Sharp performed at Peggy’s Skylight on the 13th March 2024. His debut EP Home Truths is out now. 

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