Tuesday 18 November 2014

Lisa O'Neill - Stronger than before

Lisa O'Neill
Sandwiched between Maria Byrne and The Lost Brothers we tasted the most satisfying filling of Lisa O'Neill at St Pancras Old Church in London last week (12/11/2014). It was a treat of zesty proportions and although it was a brief 40 minutes, there was plenty to get our teeth stuck into to.

Mossy Nolan -Guitar/bouzouki
The scale of St Pancras Old Church fitted the dimensions of this diminutive Irish singer but it's whitewashed walls barely contained the energy of her words. She commanded the space as she took the stage alone. She caught our attention, standing away from the microphone but attacking it when need be or leaning toward it as though sniffing a rose over a neighbours fence.

'England has my man' gave us plenty of Lisa O'Neill's meat and gristle to chew on. The toughest corners of her narrative were a pleasure to find rolling around our mouths and minds long after she had moved to pastures new. 'Nellie's Song' spoke of adventures across the USA, and I was lucky enough to be sitting with London's busiest gigsters, the legendary Dr and Mrs Fizzy. They had last heard O'Neill in Boston, so its seems America still calls.

Mossy Nolan joined O'Neill throughout, and played the straight and still man alongside his leader's springloaded jack-in-the-box. Many of the night's tunes come from Lisa O'Neill's second album Same Cloth Or Not (Song Seeds Records) which is anchored by Nolan's talents, from guitar to bouzouki. Trying to contain O'Neill on paper is like trying to capture the elemental, she is a force, a mysterious one that touches the cornerstone of our being.

Lisa O'Neill
You do not float on cloudy skies upon hearing her voice, even while listening to the penultimate tune 'Dreaming'. There is a Piafesque frisson as though the voice has been fragmented, it has been broken apart and been put back together even stronger.

That is how we felt after Lisa O'Neill had finished, we were stronger than before.


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