After the first show at Coughlan’s I attended at which James OR was also supporting, it was a no-brainer that I’d end up returning shortly after to witness more magic unfold. This time the main attraction arrived in the form of Mark Geary, playing a show there on November 3rd. So I made my merry way into the venue, where I learned that James OR would be accompanied by one of the members of his band, Hannah Nic Gearailt (Who also plays for Emma Langford) on keys and backing vocals to add some extra colour to his set. I plopped myself down into a nice spot at the front, and away they went. The difference of having the extra layer of the keys and Hannah’s vocals behind made for quite a different set to the first one I had witnessed. While much of the songs on the previous set made the jump over, tracks such as ‘Berlin’ which had not made the cut at Cry Monster Cry made an appearance here. We also were treated to the song ‘All the Beds We’ve Been In’ from his upcoming debut album of the same name, giving us a nice little peek into what’s to come. From what I hear, he’s making good headway with that project, which you can always give a hand towards by backing him on Patreon. In other James OR news, he’s hitting the Coughlan’s stage once again this coming January, this time headlining with what will be a full band show with info on support yet to come. That’s going to be proper mental, so get your hands on some tickets soon, they’ll only cost ya 8 euro.
Mark Geary & Gráinne Hunt
Following on from James was Mark Geary, who it was my first time seeing. I’d already heard great things about him, both musically and personality-wise. Hell, I had chucked a like on his page on Facebook the day before the gig and he sent me a message to thank me and telling me that he was playing the next day if I didn’t know, proper nice and interactive of him. While I was only just getting around to hearing him now, he’s been active in music for longer than I’ve even been alive, gathering tales and experiences along the way aplenty. This gig in particular was celebrating the launch of his brand new album ‘The Fool’ which had started to make waves since the moment it dropped in late October, with the likes of Hot Press giving their input on it. I had to say I was loving it myself when I gave it a whirl before committing to the gig, it’s an astounding piece of work, and he is currently embarking on a tour of Germany & Switzerland to peg it over yonder. He wasn’t alone on the stage, joining him with vocal accompaniment was Gráinne Hunt. Together they put on a wonderful show brimming with character and liveliness. Mark seemed very alive in the moment, given the opportunity I bet he’d have ditched the guitar and microphone to one side and been perfectly content to sit down and have a lovely aul’ conversation with the audience instead. As it were, there was quips and enjoyable moments aplenty in the gaps between songs, with guitar tuning providing ample opportunity for Mark to detour into insightful stories into the background of songs – Or even unrelated stories too. Him and Gráinne harmonized really well together to play some wonderful music for us. Together with the narrative behind the songs from the album, they gave a really good sense of where the music had come from and the influences behind it.
For a short while in the middle of the set, Mark left the stage to Gráinne to play a few of her own originals which was also very enjoyable. She has a lovely singing voice and it was nice to see it shine behind some tales of her own. I was eyeing up the merch that would be available after the show over to the side of the stage, and I spotted that she too had an EP that could be picked up alongside Mark Geary’s stuff, so I eagerly awaited that opportunity. Mark came back on stage to join her again and together they finished out the set. Mark must have had an ear for some harmonies coming from a particular set of people in the audience, because their singing along to a few songs had caught his attention, and for the last song he decided they’d have to join him on stage so that the rest of us could experience the harmonies he’d been hearing them add to his music. They looked rather bewildered to be finding themselves up on the stage, but they did as asked and looked to be having quite a fun time of it.
After the performance was finished, I made my way over to the side of the stage where the merch was being sold. Mark Geary’s album ‘The Fool’ was being sold on Vinyl, so there wasn’t any question about it, I immediately picked that up. I got a poster with it, and I bought Gráinne Hunt’s EP ‘Firing Pin’ while I was at it. Mark was lovely enough to stick around and chat to folks afterwards, and I got him to sign my copy of the album. He even added a cool drawing of a smiley face below it. I was off home shortly after where I immediately gave the vinyl a nice spin on the record player. I’ve added music from Gráinne and Mark to my Spotify playlist, and that’s all for now folks. And remember, keep on Merchin’!