The False and the Fair Whelans, Dublin Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

The False and The Fair; EP launch at Whelans, Dublin (18-11-2018); photo credit:

Despite the late switch to the larger venue tonight, there wasn’t much room to move in Whelans for The False and The Fair’s EP launch. Ahead of the main event, we were treated to fantastic support from Aisling Jarvis and a solo performance from Vernon Jane.

The False and The Fair arrived on stage to the ambient glow of a projector showing off their new EP artwork, kicking off with their always popular “Blue Bottles Blues”. The catchy riff helped set the tone for the evening as they passionately launched into their ever increasing and established repertoire.


It’s hard to pin down a genre for The False and the Fair, they play their unique and brand of hard rocking blues-folk but they are not afraid to branch out into different styles with the likes of “Psychedelic Smile” (which features on the new EP) that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead album.



They were joined by a host of guests on the stage during the night, including the familiar face of Emily Jane from Vernon Jane who jumped in to lend her vocals to the fan favourite: “Bald Apes” (just as she had done on the recorded version).

The evening drew to a close with one encore, the lead (and personal highlight) track lifted from their EP: “The Space in Between”. The band were joined on stage by a trio of backing singers which enhanced their already expansive sound, giving an edge fans hadn’t seen before. All in all, it was yet another great set from the South Dublin band which certainly piqued interest here tonight – there’s really no limit to how far these guys can go!


Their new EP: ‘The Space In-Between’ is out now!


WORDS: Niall McDermott: @NiallMcDermott7

Photos: Róisín: Imagery By Ró


Mark O’Reilly L’Etre Politique Album Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Marc O'Reilly Band; Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly pictured with his band; Photo Credit: Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly is an artist that cannot be defined simply as folk or blues, but instead teases elements of both, achieving optimal emotional depth that is unwinding and stirring. He understands his power behind those versatile vocals and in his wake, balancing and challenging genres. And between the trio’s synchronised drums, keys and guitars, they maintain off the scale rhythms and impeccable timings. The standout guitar solos of Walk With Me and Be Alive almost rival the folk elements.

Yet when those folk elements arrive mid-way, it’s exquisite – the unwinding, acoustics  of Fire with its sweeping strings and echoing vocals provides momentary calm. Think White Denim at their most pared back on ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ with echoes of Nick Drake’s instrumentals on River Man (‘Five Leaves Left’).

The lighter, huskier, James Vincent McMorrow-esque vocals and barely there instrumentals of Solitary Ease and Walk With Me are absolutely sublime – we reckon a collaboration between the pair is long overdue.

On this record there are more contemporary parallels with American/Canadian artists to be drawn and it’s the sharp timings and garage-rock leanings of Quiet Place which give warm echoes of Jesse Mac Cormack. While it is Walk With Me that takes centre stage, channelling the Americana-Psychedelia of White Denim.

This fourth album: ‘L’Etre Politique’ is inspired (as it’s title hints) by the politics of human interactions and of being; capitalism, war and globalisation. The album opener: Enemy Of and the epic closer: Shadows are equally full bodied explosions of guitar and drums encasing a solid record, that frames O’Reilly at his finest.

L’Etre Politique is out now via Dox Records!

Marc O'Reilly L'Etre Politique; Album Artwork



Introducing // Flare Voyant

Flare Voyant Press Photo

Psychedelic revivalists, Flare Voyant

There is something so completely timeless about the sound (and aesthetic) of the late 60s, early 70s, that it’s no wonder it’s been the inspiration for so many contemporary musicians. A new band that we discovered just before Christmas is the London-based four-piece, Flare Voyant, who rekindle vibes akin to both The Rolling Stones and The Doors. Their early demos caught the ear of legendary producer, Chris Kemsey (who is recognised for his work with the Stones) who recently went on to produce Flare Voyant’s debut EP (released November 2017).

They saw in the New Year by selling out Dalston’s Rocksteady (a gig we were sorry to miss out on) and are currently preparing videos for their EP tracks (due for release in the coming months). Here’s their most iconic single, Ephemeral Romance, lifted from their self titled EP:

Having realised their potential as a four-piece in early 2015, their effervescent blend of nationalities; Brazilian drummer Lucas Roxo, Greco-Italian-Brazilian guitarist Rod Bourganos, French singer Thomas Baignères and British bassist, George Hudson, have paved way for an iconic style, throwback yet distinctly their own. Their infectious EP effortlessly merges Psychedelia, Blues and Rock n’ Roll, with instrumental progressive jamming and the lead singer’s raspy bluesy overtones drawing them close in comparison at times, to not only The Doors, but to their contemporaries, White Denim – Flare Voyant have a strong alliance with 2018’s cosmos; we’re predicting big things from these!

Join us, by kicking back to their EP and by keeping your eyes peeled for 2018’s gig dates here!

Flare Voyant: Soundcloud // Instagram // Facebook



Foy Vance // Union Chapel // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Foy Vance; Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will SteadmanFoy Vance turned the Union Chapel into his living room last Friday night, entertaining a 900-strong crowd with his commanding, modern blend of Americana, folk, roots, and blues. Leaving his band at home in Bangor, Northern Ireland; a piano, acoustic guitar, and a ukulele is all that was needed to bring a warm glow to this corner of North London on a brisk Autumn evening.

Opening powerfully at the piano with Unlike Any Other, the audience falls pin-drop silent. Eager grins radiate through the pews like a mini Mexican wave of awe. Vance establishes an immediately casual, intimate atmosphere, drawing the crowd in with his dry wit, self-deprecation and off-the-cuff approach to the set, almost like we’re all sat round a big camp fire. Making use of loop pedals and plenty of chorus effect, he switches between instruments and segues between songs with ease.

Foy Vance; (4) Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will Steadman.jpg

Introduced to his music five years ago by a friend who insisted I listen to a then, little-known B-side called: Indiscriminate Act of Kindness, which he said, is such a perfect example of a well-crafted song, that he teaches it as part of the songwriting degree he runs at a renowned London music college – I’ve seen Vance go from a relative unknown jobbing songwriter to a respected veteran with a top 30 album and a recent tour with Elton John under his belt. Despite all this, he has retained an air of exclusivity about him, and is backed tirelessly by a loyal fan base.

As the night progresses he showcases songs from 2016’s: ‘The Wild Swan’ including Coco and Upbeat Feel Good; favourites Guiding Light and Closed Hand Full of Friends; several shrewd covers including a divine version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ on grand piano and a sprinkling of newer material including Moonshine.

Vance is an artist bold enough and free enough to create precisely the music he wants. Authentic, genuine and committed to his craft, while many contemporaries at his career-stage creatively stagnate or decline, he has matured as a writer and performer. Live he excels. Natural, relaxed and oozing with confidence; playing unaccompanied tonight elevates Vance and provides him the space to showcase his (quite frankly) outstanding voice, which resonates around the Chapel’s gothic interior, filling every dark nook and cranny. Its intricate and rich timbre warms you like a well-aged bourbon.

Performing for well over two hours in total with no encore, capping it off with a moving a capella rendition of The Wild Swans on The Lake, inspired by W.B. Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole, with the audience dutifully humming the drone.

Foy Vance; (3) Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will Steadman

Vance sold-out the Union Chapel across the three nights, Thursday to Saturday (2nd-4th Nov). His outstanding album, The Wild Swan, is out now.

Follow Foy Vance on Twitter // Facebook

Words and Photography: WILL STEADMAN (@STEADMAN_WILL)


White Denim Live Review // Green Man Festival // 19/08/16

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

(Photographer: Will Steadman)

Expertly curated Green Man, which this year featured: James Blake, Wild Beasts, Belle and Sebastian, Battles, Warpaint and Laura Marling, along with an impressive number of new bands and artists on the special Green Man Rising stage, was a great platform for White Denim; introducing a decent helping of loud, up-tempo rock ’n roll into a festival usually dominated by folk, electronic, indie and world sounds.

Four-piece White Denim, who are no doubt used to somewhat warmer and drier surroundings in their hometown of Austin, Texas, today find themselves in a cold, damp but nonetheless beautifully located field in the Brecon Beacons for the 14th Green Man Festival. The band, led by (blue) denim-clad James Petralli, has been active for 10 years now and have just released their superb 6th album: ‘Stiff’, produced by Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, The Vaccines, Ray LaMontagne).

Their one hour set on the Green Man main stage, complete with Wales’ black mountains as a stunning natural backdrop, demonstrates outstanding musicianship throughout, especially from the rhythm section which includes brand new drummer Jeff Olsen, who plays flawlessly and flamboyantly on his white and green-sparkle kit, despite it only being his 4th gig with the band. Their songs, which are bursting with energetic riffs, high-octane guitar solos, and interesting transitions manage to touch on every era and sub-genre of rock, with elements of 60s soul, 70s funk, jazz, blues and psychedelic folk thrown in too. The result is one of the most enjoyable and energy-filled festival sets I’ve seen.

They draw an impressively large and enthusiastic crowd, benefitting perhaps from preceding Friday’s headliner, James Blake. With 20,000 people in attendance at Green Man, Petralli and co appear genuinely humbled by the turnout and proclaim jubilantly that it’s their “biggest ever show”, which is surprising. White Denim are deserving festival headliners of the future and hopefully this appearance will help broaden their cult-appeal.

White Denim are touring the UK in October, including London’s Roundhouse on 11th Oct‘Stiff’ is out now on Downtown Records.

Writer: Will Steadman: @steadman_will



She Drew The Gun // Live Review // The Lexington, London

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

(The Lexington; 28/06/16; Photographer: Will Steadman)

I headed to a close-to-capacity Lexington to see a band I’ve been following with much interest for a while now, Merseyside’s She Drew The Gun.

This four-piece fronted by Louisa Roach has just returned from opening the John Peel Stage on Sunday morning at Glastonbury; a spot they secured via winning the emerging talent competition, seeing off thousands of other bands in the process. She Drew The Gun’s debut full-length record, ‘Memories of the Future’, was released in April and is receiving much deserved attention.

Roach opens with a politically-charged poem which draws rapturous support from the crowd, and the band continues with an impressively substantial set of their dark and dreamy psych-pop. The arrangements are sparse but interesting and the crowd appear genuinely captivated by Roach’s bluesy, timeless voice and her reticently confident stage presence.

“Alcohol is my biggest distraction” she announces to the crowd at one point (well that goes for most of us, right?) but despite this admission, Roach strikes me as a highly professional and switched-on young artist; someone who takes their craft seriously and has a legitimate determination to inspire people through music.

Stylistically the band has been compared to PJ Harvey, Portishead and Laura Marling, but in their own words they say they’re influenced by Bjork, Billie Holiday, The Beatles, Beck, Bob Dylan, and Bright Eyes. Roach, in particular, takes her encouragement from a long list of powerful women in music, a list which she reels off to a song towards the end of the set, which includes the late folk/blues singer and activist, Malvina Reynolds. The band cover Reynolds for their closing song, to great effect.

It’s in this final song that She Drew The Gun really play out and the drummer upgrades from her normal mallets and brushes to sticks, which provides an effective lift and really brings the place alive. While their lo-fi and understated sound kept the crowd engaged throughout, this shift in energy at the end left the crowd, including me, wanting more.

Writer: Will Steadman: @steadman_will

She Drew The Gun // Website // Twitter // Facebook

Musician of the Week // Introducing // Jesse Mac Cormack


Jesse Mac Cormack; Joannie Grenier

Since discovering Canadian Singer-Songwriter, Jesse Mac Cormack on this year’s Great Escape’s list of acts, (albeit too late sadly), ‘After the Glow’ has taken root in my mind, playing out as a filmic backdrop. There is something tragically romantic, both lyrically and acoustically that very quickly takes hold of you. This bluesy warmth of voice reaches out, like an actor baring his heart on the stage with a foreshadowing monologue: “Something’s going to kill us. No, nothing’s going to save us”.

With a percussive staccato beat mirroring the movement of a clock hand, the gentle melancholia becomes accentuated and pent upon time and death: “Coming from the inside, nothing we could fight or deny…growing slowly for a while. Slowly it will die”. This minimalist multi-instrumental and yet melodramatic undertone of Mac Cormack’s songwriting is prevalent across his material.

Something special can only come from his live performance, which I cannot wait to see tonight (24/05/16) at The Shacklewell Arms.

‘After the Glow’ was released 16/02/16 on Secret City Records.




Musician of the week // Introducing // Jack O’Rourke


Jack O'Rourke

Image; Jack O’Rourke

My week has been made with the re-discovery of a musician I heard whilst in Dublin the other week; Cork Singer-Songwriter; Jack O’Rourke. This stunning deep voice spoke to me from the car’s stereo. Withheld in a daydream, standing there in front of this pianist, I scribbled down his name and song on a Dart ticket to hand, only to find yesterday.

O’Rourke’s lyrics moves you by it’s conviction and sincerity on ‘Silence’.  The line: “His real persona is in coma, love’s left on the shelf” took another turn on a re-listen. Emotive as it was in the car, but having since discovered it was the song for Amnesty International’s Yes Campaign for Ireland’s Marriage Referendum, it definitely threw a new light on his piano keys. A singer-songwriter that is aware singing from the heart is where he shines.

The songs are timeless, graceful pieces of poetry that draw symmetry with the lines of Rufus Wainwright and Sufjan Stephens. There is soul and theatricality that comes from the voice alone, and when complemented by the piano, he becomes altogether mesmerising. An artist that you will no doubt remember after today.

Check out Jack O’Rourke’s latest single: ‘Dreamcatcher’, released 28/04/16.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Dublin, this Friday (06/05/16) you can see him live at The Academy.

Jack O’Rourke: Twitter // Facebook // YouTube