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Orla Gartland – Islington Academy, London – 20/2/15 | Live Review

We went to see 20 year old Irish Singer/Songwriter Orla Gartland on her Lonely People Tour at the Islington Academy. Find out what we though inside.

Source: Official Promo

The Islington Academy is packed to the rafters for a Friday night performance from one of the most exciting musicians to have hit the modern music scene. The tense excitement is palpable, broken only when The Spice Girls comes blaring through the PA System, signalling the start of the headliner, Miss. Orla Gartland!

At just twenty years old, it’s already been a long journey for Orla, yet none of the original charm that shot her to fame on Youtube is lost. With a gentle demeanour and soft speech, Miss. Gartland makes the audience feel immediately welcomed, even taking part in what Alan Partidge would refer to as ‘some top quality banter’ (one memorable piece being the moment when Orla asks if her Mother is in the audience, to which a voice akin to that of Barry ‘Bang and The Dirt Is Gone’ Scott roars “Yes, I’m over here” in reply, much to the amusement of performer and audience alike).

Walking on stage in a subtly magnificent manner, the audience are transfixed with the songstress right from the off, with a set cherry-picking the best work from her two EP’s, brand new material and a small handful of quirky covers. The addition of a 3 piece band is also a welcome addition, adding a new-found dynamic to much loved songs like ‘Clueless‘, ‘Roots‘ and the title track of the brand new EP ‘Lonely People‘. The modified live arrangements are well executed, adding a ‘fist-pumping into the air’ energy, but without going so over the top as to sound forced, which would have been all to easy a trap to fall into.

A two track solo performance mid-set is a welcome addition, showing that although Miss. Gartland may now have musicians performing with her, she’s still just as capable of playing alone now as she was when she first sat down in front of that infamous yellow wall to record herself for all the internet to see. ‘Empty Man‘ strikes a particularly strong chord with the audience, desperate to sing along to every word, but respectful enough to not break the sweet tension of such a beautiful song.

Once the band return, it’s back to business, although an outstanding rendition of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill‘ remains a solid high point, even if the song is seemingly unknown by a majority of the younger fans in attendance. Encore/grand finale ‘Roots‘ closes the show in a spectacular fashion and, although the set feels somewhat on the short side, it’s very much a lesson in quality over quantity.

If this is just the start of Orla Gartland‘s journey, we sure as hell cannot wait to see what the future holds. Humble and friendly, yet unquestionably talented, big things are on the way for the self-confessed ‘Irish, Ginger, Music Making Nut-Case’. Do not pass up the chance to see Orla Gartland in a small venue such as this, as you may not get much more chance. Huge things await this young woman!

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