Centre stage on the Trinity Sports grounds tonight, in every sense of the expression, stands James Vincent McMorrow. The man of the spine-chilling falsetto, the golden thread that winds down through each song and weaves in and out of genres with absolute ease. The five piece band kick off the set with a scintillating ‘Red Dust’, the lead vocals soaring over a bed of harmonies and minimal keys begin to set the tone for the night. Then swiftly onto a number of RnB twinged numbers from last year’s We Move, the album that saw him shed his folk shackles to revel in a world of synth and 808s.
It’s an outfit he likes the cut of. So much so, that some of his older songs get a similar make-over, giving a nice lift to some of his more brooding endeavours that suits the open air environment. The band give an impassioned performance, dipping and thrusting on every down beat without compromising on sound; their playing tight and their energy electric. So engrossed that it’s seven songs in before so much as a word is uttered. “We’ve only got an hour and a half and I don’t want to bore you with my shiteing on”. Taking a moment to marvel at the size of the crowd, which he tells us is the biggest ever to have bought tickets to see him in Dublin.
McMorrow is a self confessed control freak when it comes to his musical arrangements, everything down to the tiniest detail is given utmost thought and it comes across in his performance. The driving force is still his voice. The thing could penetrate steel, though it seems that the Friday night after work crowd are made of a stronger metal. Attention spans are in short supply and steadily waning as the night goes on, nly to be reclaimed with the opening chords of ‘Higher Love’ ensue the mass sing-a-long that evidently the majority of the audience paid fifty quid to be a part of. His fellow band members leave the stage and chit-chat resumes over ‘National’, the only song he plays from True Care. He’s lost them.
The highlight of the night is the visceral ‘Cavalier’ a stunning display of the singer’s range which is among the most impressive I’ve seen from a male vocalist, but from where I’m standing the crowd remain unmoved. After a fleeting encore in which no cries of return resound, the band return for a handful more tunes, finishing on a ‘If I Had A Boat’. A performance that should rightfully bounce off walls and tunnel down into the chests of those in attendance. Instead it is left to filter out into the grand expanse of the Trinity grounds, lost to a crowd surplus in cash and deficit in attention.