Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Declan O 'Rourke at Glór 2011

Declan O Rourke Taking a closer look at local  Ennis landmark

Rory Faithfield Genn Cal Alice

Irish singer songwriters seem to be enjoying a heyday at the moment and one of my favourites was in  Glór on Saturday night. Declan O Rourke has been enjoying some international media spotlight particularly since his wonderful song Galileo has been recorded by Josh Groban and the subject of laudatory remarks by iconic rock musician, Paul Wellar . There are numerous covers  but the original is still my favourite and I remember very well hearing it on PK show aptly following an interview with astronomer Patrick Moore.

In his last appearance here he sang to his own accompaniment with support on cello. On this occasion he was supported by a band consisting of drums , bass guitar, violin and cello.  He had an impressive array of stringed instruments  to accompany a set of songs many of which appear on his new album Mag Pai Zai.
There were some very good things about the gig. O Rourke himself  was relaxed and genial on stage without being too nonchalent. There was a sense of some forethought in the sequence of songs and pacing of the gig. The songs are mostly lighthearted and whimsical in the best sense of those words,  my favourite of the set being the uptempo  Lightning Bird and River Man with some very beguiling lyrics although there were some sombre  moments with Langleys Requiem, a song about two isolated brothers in Harlem  setting  a darker mood.   The quintet, although they were well spaced across the wide stage connected well with each other . They smiled at each other a lot  which was rather cheerful.  

The string section with Maria Mason on violin and Eimear O Grady on cello added a warmth to the arrangements and a bit of glam, both wearing very elegant evening dresses .  Eimear particularly plays in a theatrically expressive manner which adds much to the sense of performance.  Regretably, we could not hear clearly the string accompaniments in most of the numbers due to the over amplification of the bass guitar which was a shame and rather frustrating , given the calibre of musicians on stage. The cello line was the worst casualty with the higher pitch of the violin saving it from the exessive volume of the lower pitched bass   There were some numbers where they came over clearly most notably in Time Machine, Dancing Days and Galileo but for most of the set they just were not loud enough to balance the other side. We were sitting in the front row and I moved back to hear if the balance in the middle rows was better but it wasn't. This is the second occasion this month  I  have heard cello/ bass combos  featured and Ger Wolfe was rather more fortunate in the balance of his forces at a smaller venue.  ( Ger Wolfe at the Market Tavern )

The addition of an omnichord  in Time Machine  played by Rory Faithfield added an interesting  new element .  There was a frisson amongst the piano players in my row at the sight of a grand piano with its top up .  It looked imposing and indeed in  an encore , we did  hear the ivories tinkled. 
  The artists came front of house after the gig to meet and greet and sign albums and the buzz continued for an hour or so in the foyer.  We chatted to Sligo based songwriter, Glenn Cal who played the support set and was well receivd by the audience . There was a good enough attendance but not quite as large as one might expect for a Saturday night for this  lauded and popular performer .

Grand piano

Alice and Eimear grey stripes
All together 1 2 3

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