posted on December 02, 2008 07:06
Roisin Murphy (live in The Olympia Theatre, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Róisín Murphy is, without doubt, Ireland’s greatest female performer and seeing her live results in a full on assault on your eyes and ears. That Murphy pulls it off whilst barely stopping for a breath is a testament to how much effort is put into staging such a spectacular show.
The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10
Quirky is one of those words that can be used as a compliment as often as it can be used to insult somebody. It’s certainly a word that could be used to describe British electronic artist Bishi, last night’s support act. Arriving on stage dressed as a cross between Princess Leia and Cleopatra and armed only with an i-Pod and a sitar, Bishi certainly knew how to make an entrance. Thankfully there was substance to go with the, ahem, style and her fusion of tango, folk, pop and electronica served to warm up an audience that was getting larger by the minute.
It was clear from the audience that Róisín Murphy has a huge following amongst Ireland’s gay community, who made up a sizeable portion of the crowd, surpassed only by groups of college students wearing far too many scraves for an indoor venue. Regardless of sexuality or attire, each and every member of the audience jumped to their feet when the opening chords of Overpowered burst into life.
If I was to say at this point that the first 3 songs of the evening where the opening three tracks from Overpowered (an album which you really must own) you might think to yourself ‘hmm, that’s a bit boring.’ You’d be wrong. What makes Murphy such a brilliant live performer is the quality of her band and their ability to completely restructure their songs and yet lose none of the ‘oomph’ (that’s a professional music term) that makes them so remarkable in the first place.
What makes the show a spectacle though is not just the music and the quality of her band. Murphy’s own ability to dance, change costumes, crowd surf and provide free hugs (important in times of recession) whilst never drifting out of key has to be seen/heard to be believed. Murphy is by no means a pop tart or showgirl; she has a voice that can convey pain as easily as joy and a range many of her peers can only dream of.
The biggest cheers of the evening were reserved for Movie Star, Dear Miami and a stunning cover of the Brian Ferry track, Slave to Love. By the end of the night they were literally dancing in the aisles, some with more success than others. All told, Murphy and her band were on stage for over 100 minutes, giving excellent value for money and ensuring that every member of the audience went home happy. Well, everyone except the girl in front of me who spent the entire evening debating with her friend as to whether or not she should ‘go with a fringe or not?’ My verdict would be yes.
My verdict on the gig, however, is that Róisín Murphy is one crossover hit away from becoming even bigger than she ever was with Moloko. That many of my peers refuse to give her a chance for that very reason is a shame. On record, Murphy has the ability to merge a variety of influences without ever losing focus. Live, Murphy and her band display a level of musicianship above and beyond expectation. The performance that goes with it is an added bonus.