Peter Oren – Whelans – Live Review – 5-05-18 by Killian Laher
A tough ask, playing upstairs to a sweaty Whelans on a warm bank holiday weekend for two solo artists accompanying themselves on guitar. It was Peter Oren’s first headline show in Dublin.
Pat Barrett of the Hedge Schools provided support, playing selections from the new Hedge Schools’ album Magnificent Birds alone on guitar. Stripped of piano and cello, Barrett’s intricate guitar playing presented a very full sound. As well as the new album’s title track, he treated the audience to sensitive renditions of Morning Bird, The Flood and Lighthouse Lights Out. His solo treatment of these wonderful songs was markedly different to the recorded versions but the sound filled the small room.
Peter Oren came on shortly afterwards. Opening with Welcome/Goodbye he seemed kind of sheepish, yet relaxed at the same time. Playing many of the songs from last year’s Anthropocene album, his fluid guitar playing gave good support to his deep vocals. Strong songs such as Burden of Proof, Falling Water and Chain of Command were all played flawlessly. The further into his set he got, the more he lightened up, airing sunnier, older material like French Press and Lake Crescent, along with New Gardens. Oren also tried a couple of new songs as well as stumbling through an anecdote about vomiting on a couch in somebody’s house connected to Mike Pence(!) as well as struggling with driving on the left in Ireland. He seemed genuinely pleased with the reception he got and the attentive listening to his songs.
An evening of high quality songs, excellently performed. Well worth catching either of these performers if you get the opportunity.