Bronagh Gallagher with support from Saoirse Casey – Review by Fran Winston
IMRO Showcase – Abner Browns, Rathmines Road – Thursday May 11th
Bronagh Gallagher is one of those rare artists who manages to dance to the beat of her own drum. Although she is an accomplished actress having appeared in films such as Sherlock Holmes and Pulp Fiction, she is also an acclaimed singer/songwriter.
And let’s deal with the elephant in the room – yes she was in The Commitments but there is far more to this Derry lass than that. Taking to the stage in Abner Browns, even if you had never heard of her you could tell she was a seasoned performer. She was completely comfortable despite the intimacy of the gig. In case you’re not familiar with Abner’s it’s a barbershop that doubles as a music venue in the evenings, so numbers are extremely limited and you can literally see the whites of the audiences eyes from the stage. That didn’t deter Bronagh who had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand from the very first song. Her voice is wonderfully soulful and her songwriting comes from the heart. It’s not all hearts and flowers. Radio laments the lack of decent music getting airplay for example. And there is an honesty to her writing that is wonderfully refreshing.
For this gig it was just Bronagh and her guitar player Conor Brady and keyboard player Cian Boylan but such was the sound, energy and enthusiasm that it was almost as if she had a full band backing her. In between her songs Gallagher regaled the audience with stories from her personal experiences. Of course, when she talks about her friends it just happens to be people like her Commitments co-star Glen Hansard but it never feels like she is name dropping. In fact these interludes only served to demonstrate how funny and witty she is causing the audience to warm to her even further.
While she may be petite in stature this woman is a powerhouse of talent and has the ability to move you when you didn’t even know you were feeling anything. Seeing her in such an intimate setting can only be described as an almost spiritual event. Few artists could get such a small group of people who were unacquainted with each other singing along on cue but we were completely captivated by her musical charms. She has just started announcing summer tour dates so if you see her advertised do try and make the gig. You are in for a real treat.
Special mention must also go to her supporting act Saoirse Casey. Music is in her blood as her father is none other than Troubadour Paddy Casey. The young talent walked out looking slightly nervous really but as soon as she began performing the nerves disappeared. With a sublimely sweet voice and some wonderfully ethereal music she is definitely one to watch. Her debut album Carousel indicates great things are indeed to come for this youngster. Check out the video for her song Tiger which will be hitting an inter-web thingy near you next week.