Live: Slow Dance Schmooze. M. Ward, Royal Albert Hall.

Unaccompanied and in amongst Feist's trinkets and cloaks stands M. Ward. In bootcuts and dusty old boots he's perhaps the most casual bod of all in a Royal Albert Hall rammed to the rafters and such insouciance is instantly transcribed to performance as a quite sublime solo seeps out from weathered Gibson. 2012 being the year of the dragon, it slithers into the fine noodles and romping stomp of Chinese Translation for which Ward's voice resides at the back of his throat, cowering behind quivering tonsils from the omnipresent bright lights that strike him from every angle.

This glaring irradiance is soon mirrored by a cocoon of gleaming faces as he strums, thumps and strings out a subdued take on Bowie's Let's Dance, prior to waltzing through Primitive Girl. Stripped of swirling keyboard refrain, its Vampire Weekend parallels abruptly wane away to leave a stickily sweet residue and refined sentiments previously shuffled beneath polished generics. Poison Cup meanwhile, a paean scribed for gluttons of alcohol and/ or "all of your love" depending on context and circumstance, is splendidly addicting and has a handful of glasses raised and clinked in the venue's outer echelons.

Ward later joins Leslie for another cover in The Jesus & Mary Chain's Sometimes Always and although she may immediately seem a far more apposite She to his Him, for now he schmoozes through a stripped back rendition of Buddy Holly's Rave On, doffs allegorical cap, and swaggers out of sight just as unassumingly as when he initially entered it. For Ward is a genius and a true gent in a field filled with egos matched in magnitude only by Mount Rushmore and that is precisely why, despite slow dancing onstage to Let It Die, he provided this regal evening's subtly ebbing high-water mark.