REVIEW: Stephen McCorry & support – Voodoo, Belfast

stephenmccorry2Voodoo plays host to a variety of Belfast locals who bring their distinctive sounds to the intimate venue.

John Andrews is first up to deliver his unique tones to Voodoo this evening. Beginning with some original material, the Belfast local unleashes tracks that immerse the audience in his husky melodies.  His stripped back approach of delivery allows these beautifully crafted acoustic tracks to be fully appreciated. Tracks from recently released EP ‘Steal Back The Sun’ come across brilliantly in this setting.  Mixing his set with covers such as David Gray’s ‘Sail Away With Me’ gets the night off to a great start and sets up the mood for what is to come.

With immediate confidence, No Oil Paintings’ Chris Kelly takes to the stage next. Even though this is his first solo gig there is no sign of any nerves or anxiety. Interaction with the crowd is non-stop. His set is littered with ingeniously fashioned acapella tracks that allow full audience participation with plenty of claps and stomps. The raw bluesy vocals are left exposed to great effect. Instrumental track ‘Amongst The Skyline’ allows this impassioned singer-songwriter to pour his heart without saying a word.  Although no covers were promised at the beginning of the set, the almost unrecognisable version of Rihanna’s hit ‘Rehab’ is thrown in and goes down a treat and adds another dimension to the performance.

Armed with a ukulele, cello and acoustic guitar, Belfast trio Arsenic & Lace are up next. Their blend of traditional folk music and melodic harmonies create a performance that is effortless to enjoy. Married couple, Sarah and Connor Curran’s voices muse perfectly together as each take turns to unleash their signature sounds. Their cover off Nirvana’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ evokes a huge sing-a-long from the willing crowd with their version of classic ‘Where Is My Mind’ by The Pixes adds to the already electric atmosphere.

This evening’s headliner comes in the form of Stephen McCorry, who is accompanied by Ray Kinnaird and Ben McKenna. The trio take the stage and release their groove and swagger to an eager crowd. Set opener ‘Pantomime’ demonstrates what is to come, soothing thoughtful tracks cleverly broken up with snippets of harmonica and impressive guitars. Each member seems at ease with the delivery of the tracks which only adds to the performance. Stephen’s voice shines through, making covers such has Van Morrison’s ‘Into The Mystic’ completely his own. With little chat between songs their set rolls by with no hiccups, only being interrupted for Stephen to change his harmonica. Closing number is the beautiful ‘Sapphires and Rainbows’ which provokes a great reaction from the crowd.

These evening has allowed for the showcase of some great Belfast talent, allowing differing styles of music to merge and create a great atmosphere which was enjoyed by everyone. Pamela Anderson, GiggingNI.com