Video: James Vincent McMorrow at the Kilkenny Arts Festival
On Sunday night St. Canice’s Cathedral played host to another sold out show on the Kilkenny Arts Festival programme, rising star James Vincent McMorrow.
Odd as it sounds he is no stranger to church venues this was his first time performing in a cathedral. McMorrow‘s beautiful, powerful falsetto tones suit these lofty spaces and having seen him perform in the more modest surroundings of the Pepper Canister Church it seems the bigger the space the better.
It’s got to be a surreal experience getting up on stage alone in front of a huge crowd in a rather imposing venue but it was like water off a duck’s back to McMorrow. Initially I was a bit disappointed to see he wasn’t going to have his singers with him to take full advantage of the natural acoustics but it turned out to be a smashing experience hearing the songs from his debut album in a new light.
Big highlights of the evening included album favourites From The Woods, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree and a goosebump-inducing rendition of If I Had A Boat sans microphone. There were a few surprise covers too including Silver Dagger (Joan Baez) and Wicked Game (Chris Isaak) and a new song likely to be the corner stone of the next album, Red Dust.
As his star remains firmly in the ascent I have a hunch we won’t have the pleasure of such intimate gigs in the future, if you can call a cathedral full of people intimate. Even if he doesn’t set your musical tastebuds alive it’s hard not develop an instant liking for the guy with his tales from the road and modesty in the face of a hugely successful year.
A simply brilliant evening and well worth the late night trek back to Dublin. Well done Mr. McMorrow and Kilkenny Arts Festival.