Friday, May 04, 2007

Orchestral Manoeuvres in Belfast

Last night we were in the Waterfront Hall for the opening concert to kick off the 8th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. The main reason for going was to see Duke Special perform songs from his album 'Songs From The Deep Forest' with The Ulster Orchestra as his backing band.

It wasn't all about the Duke though as two other artists were sharing the stage and the orchestra, Julie Feeney and Foy Vance.

Julie Feeney was first on stage and was playing songs from her album '13 Songs'. The album won the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year 2005 but judging by tonights performance, I'm not sure why. I thought the song structures were weak, the lyrics were appauling and her voice, albeit classically trained, just served to annoy rather than entice. The audience were also told that her songs would sequence into each other and were instructed to appluad twice, at the start and the end. This served no purpose as none of the songs merged into each other but at least I only had to clap twice.

Next up was Foy Vance of which I knew nothing about. Apparently one or two of his songs have ended up on Grey's Anatomy which I guess puts some money in his pocket. He had a great voice and his songs went down very well. However, his guitar was mostly overwashed by the sound of the orchestra and the lyrics were a bit too lovey dovey for my tastes but nonetheless it was an enjoyable performance.

Finally Duke Special took the stage and at first you could be forgiven for thinking there was a wardrobe error because after being introduced, the orchestra played through an entire song without the presence of him or the band. When it gave way to 'The Teddy Bears Picnic' however, the fans were clued in and roared approvingly when he made his enterance. Despite a little faultering, perhaps due to nerves, it was a great set and it came to a stop all too quickly. After selling out the Ulster Hall and now having the Ulster Orchestra back him at the Waterfront, it's difficult to see how Duke Special can top this, besides releasing another cracking album and breaking through as a major artist. One can only hope.

You can listen to the performance here for the next 7 days.

As this is a bank holiday weekend, I'll be back on Tuesday with the round-up of birthday party shennanigans. Thanks for stopping by and see you soon.



Blogger Donovan said...

Nice post :) The Duke saved the show!

11:14 pm  
Blogger Skry said...

Nah I think that Foy Vance was excellent - good songs, funny and he worked well with the Ulster Orchestra.

Speaking of which, I think that the best act all night was the Ulster Orchestra itself. They obviously worked very hard to play along-side artists who weren't in any way associated with that genre of music (bar the first girl I guess, who's music would probably convert easily).

Like Foy Vance, the Ulster Orchestra were an unexpected surprise and played very well. As good as the Duke is, I hear it regularly at home and have been to one of his gigs recently. With such a small musical selection to play from I'm getting a bit bored hearing DS so much, but I guess not everyone has a wife that's DS crazy! :D

9:01 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker

Stumble Upon Toolbar