Joseph Arthur is the most out-of-the-world gig you'll see this year, get a ticket and dig it

I had been to the Fleece once or twice before and my cohort Tim had certainly been there more than once too, yet we were still lost and it wasn't until half and hour after the doors opened that we found the place. We discussed this animatedly as we approached the venue, but upon entering we were immediately silenced by the overwhelming glory emitting from the stage. This was Nerina Pallot, Nine Black Alps were the band billed as the support but they'd been cancelled and she was eminently better, an absolutely beautiful young woman with a stunning voice and an immeasurable instrumental talent. Songs like 'Sofia', 'Idaho' and 'Mr. King' really stood out, she came across as a more sane Amanda Palmer, (Dresden Dolls) and is certainly a pop goddess in the making, with a homely warmth and subtlety, it's fair to say I immediately became transfixed and in terms of thirteens, Miss Pallot was certainly worth a twelve.

So, it was a great introduction and even a tough act to follow, but erected on the stage was a plain canvas backdrop, two microphones adorned with fairy lights and a plethora of pedals and looping and effects equipment. It was announced that the gig was being recorded and sold at the merch table afterwards and then the towering man himself walked on stage in a brilliantly bright yellow suit, with his customised electro-acoustic guitar strapped around him and a paintbrush in hand which he proceeded to use to cover the background in an incredible abstract landscape of contorted faces.

The opening song was a new one introduced as 'Famous Friends Along The Coast.' It was Bob Dylan-esque with the neckbrace harmonica in full swing, great lyrical prowess accompanying it and such a big sound just for that one man up there with his chords and voice and harmonica. The crowd was enraptured and enthralled and they all knew from the outset that this was a special night, and a very special talent up there onstage.

It felt to both me and my accomplice that nothing could ruin the night and that was true, on any lesser occasion the filthy lecher stood in front of us seducing a woman (probably with rohypnol) would have put a downer on the whole thing, but as it was Mr. Arthur took our souls to a place where all that dodgy back-alley sleaze didn't exist. It was with the beauty of his self-harmonising vocals and the magnitude of the solitary guitar that you felt a certain lifting.

He stands tapping the strings and neck of his guitar to create a beat which then loops and then he scratches the top string with the plectrum to make a snare-like sound, "I will wait for you brother, I will wait for you sister" he sings, which goes over and over and comes back throughout the song as backing vocals, finally he launches into the guitar and the verse and a whole massive opus is built from scratch in front of us. It is out of this world. One man and his guitar have created a sound fit to rival most four-piece bands; I had never seen anything quite like it and was totally blown away. The song ends with a menagerie of guitars, here a whammy-peddled solo and there a brash fuzzy noise, it all conglomerates into one immense and mesmerising sound at the end and fades into the next beautifully subtle track. Incredible.

But that's what Joseph Arthur is all about, wowing people with his otherworldly talents, 'genius' is an overused word, but here it's an understatement. "This next song is about Jesus or Ian Curtis, you decide..." Anyone who can introduce a song like that must have his finger on the pulse. Ever feel like you're at the start of a revolution?

I suppose that's a journalist's job, to be there on the frontline, identifying what's coming, or making it up, originating hype in something dull and unoriginal, well trust the journalist here because this is the start of something new and something that's gonna be big! Without a doubt. 'Even Tho' is a glorious single, that should do good things for our talented artist and here tonight it's played in an entrancing acoustic form that puts a totally different spin on it.

A Joseph Arthur gig is guaranteed to be a really great night, with awesome massive masterworks originating from nothing, lovely poppy sing-along songs like 'Birthday Card' and 'I Am The Witness' left, right and centre, an unrivalled visual experience; seeing a true artist create a fantastic masterpiece by the end of it and plenty of tricks and perks and quips along the way, apologies for George Bush, a bit of funny banter, all emanating from an extraordinary mouth with such a lovely voice.

Finishing the set off with his own most classic tunes as well as a cover of The Smiths' 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out', you can't get much better and that sentiment is nothing but the truth so get yourself a ticket for his Shepherds Bush Empire show on the 24th of February 2006 right now, you can get 'em from gigsandtours.com, go on, go on. This is one of the best live experiences you can possibly bare witness to...