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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will Martin at UCH

Young Kiwi singing sensation Will Martin was supported by a strong line up of local talent in this pleasant concert which offered something for all tastes at University Concert Hall.

MC Lorcan Murray of Lyric FM opened the procedings by introducing local musical theatre stalwarts Ian and Jean McGlynn (resplendant in a retro tangerine dress ) and Jennifer McGann to do a short set of favourites before Will Martin took to the stage . Billed as a crossover tenor he opened with a number from Cinema Paradiso and went through some familiar light classical /popular repertoire interspersed with some stage patter. He made a big effort to engage with his audience although erroneously attributing 'Riverdance' to Ronan Hardiman rather than Limerick Native Bill Whelan was something of a faux pas in the composer's home turf .

The Dolmen string quartet led by Hugh Connolly looked very comfortable nestled in among the coconut palms and added a certain lushness to the timbre of the arrangements. I particular liked the arrangement of Anthem from Chess by Benny and Bjorn of Abba fame . The amplification was not overpowering and one could hear all elements clearly.

In the interval I met former classmate, accordion player and singer, Dermot Kiernan who was attending with girlfriend Chloe Agnew of Celtic Women and her parents Adele and David .

I thought the many elements came together quite well and it was good to see a strong local imput. While Will Martin undoubtedly has a lovely voice and is an engaging enteratiner, I found his stage presence somewhat insubstantial, the stage patter a little strained and I was conscious of his voice as opposed to the lyrics and the emotion he was conveying. The set had a sort of kitsch charm that reminded me of parish hall variety concerts.

Given the ease of using projected images , I felt some slides of the singer from his career to date would have animated the backdrop . A photo of him as Eliza Doolitle would liven up that particular anecdote for example . The Kilfenora Ceili Band have most successfully exploited this technology to craft a stage production of their dance music programme

On the whole it was a good night and also featured the John Daly Big Band . Any band incorporating an accoustic double bass is swell in my book

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