Review of his gig in Whelan's, May 13th 2001
Every now and then, in a bag of plastic beads, you'll find a diamond. Every now and then, Dublin's singer/songwriter scene brings forth a bright shining diamond like Declan O'Rourke. When it does, all you can do is gaze and marvel, and put away the plastic beads.
First of all, for those of you who don't know the name, let me do a Fanning-esque intro. This is the man who is currently scaring the bejaysus out of the likes ofPaddy Casey andMundy, and rumour has it that they are secretly plotting his untimely demise. This is the man who is living proof that the now dead tree of the International Bar can sometimes bear fruit. His songs are beautiful, his voice is beautiful, and his playing is beautiful. That's three 'beautiful's in one sentence? You can see where I'm going with this?
Tonight, Declan tried something different for his first headline in Whelan's. This was his first step away from the acoustic gigs he normally does, and into a band set-up. There was a hushed sense of expectancy as the venue filled, and Ken Burke did a tidy support. The sense of expectancy became even more hushed and revered as none other than Mr. Paul Brady walked in (note to other hopefuls doing a first headline in Whelans: If Paul Brady pays into your gig, then that's a good sign.
So he takes the stage, and with a mumble of thanks, goes into one of the most perfect sets you could ever see. It's like a car crash - you can't not look. 'One more day' is wonderful. 'Hanging from your heart strings' is sublime. I haven't gotten enough superlatives to go through his 90 minute set. Suffice it to say, that if you haven't heard 'Crown of thorns', then go to Molloy's, or Whelan's or Declan's house, and force him to play it to you. It's the perfect song. That's all.
This was one of those gigs, where you're thinking "I must get a drink?" and then remain fixated until you find yourself stone cold sober at 11.30pm fighting in the battle of last orders. Or the moment of realisation that you're not going to make the last bus, but who cares?
Declan O'Rourke is to be watched. Carefully. See, listen and learn, while it's still only £6 to do so.