Wednesday, April 24, 2013

John Smith live at Bourkes , Limerick 18/04/2013 Review

On an extremely windy Thursday evening I sought shelter and fine music in Bourkes. I was not disappointed. Seoda Shows have been hosting some amazing gigs in Bourkes of late and are set to continue with an enviable line-up of artists, with the likes of O Emperor and Tieranniesaur due to grace the intimate venue in the coming months. Previously, the venue has brought some wonderful acts to the people of Limerick without charge, but as one can imagine, this was not sustainable in the long-term and the gigs will now be ticketed affairs. Which is fair and will mean that gig-goers are guaranteed a spot on the night. Further to that, the prices are seriously reasonable - last night's show featuring John Smith only cost €5, peanuts when you consider the calibre of artist on show. If you haven't attended one of these shows check them out here .

First on stage was local girl Emma Langford. Emma plays with the band 'Lemon Street' and was accompanied by one of her bandmates George Mercer on electric guitar. She played a melodic set which showcased her diverse vocals as the punters piled in and leant an ear to her unique musical yarns. The band are constantly gigging so be sure to check them out live. Keep an eye on them here

The pub was heaving as the main act arrived on stage. I have only recently discovered John Smith thanks to youtube clips featuring the singer with Lisa Hannigan at various gigs. Impressed and intrigued I was spurred on to dig a little more and was delighted to then get a chance to see him live. The Devon-born singer-songwriter creates a masterful sound which tips it's hat to folk, country, bluegrass and the blues, but more importantly has an integrity and a rawness that supports and enhances his story-telling. He has just released his fourth album 'Great Lakes' which I thankfully got a hold of last night - no mean feat considering the scramble for CDs which occurred after the gig.

Needless to say, the crowd were captivated throughout the set. John was joined by another John on Double Bass, and both musicians displayed a humble connectedness with each other and the room, that you don't often see these days. At times it felt like we the audience were gathered round the seanchaí, hanging on every word of the tale. Sometimes, John's soaring vocals (stretching from whispered to guttural tone reminiscent of Ray LaMontagne) and woven melodies commanded our attention. Smith expertly created a connection with the room in a way that many artists can fail to do, which made for a very memorable gig in this intimate venue. Keep an eye on him here ,
Cheers for a great night!

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