My first gig of the Imagine Festival was Declan O’Rourke, at Garter Lane, where on a wet sweat of a night, Eugene Donegan opened the show with a thirty minute set of guitar and own songs from his debut CD Little Apples. I liked his honest style about his father and granny and Tonight Is The Night was memorable.
O’Rourke walked on in trainers, jeans, a patterned blue, red and black shirt and a white teeshirt – My name is Declan O’Rourke and I’m a songwriter. And that he is, with a recognisable voice, a good presence and a new song – Time Machine – life is our only time machine, it can only go one way. Maria Mason on electro-fiddle and Eimear O’Grady on cello joined him and he was beautiful on Sarah from his Since Lyabram CD. No Place To Hide set the scene for his iconic Galileo (perhaps too early in the set). He moved into We Don’t Mean To Go To Sea.
He broke new ground with two Famine inspired songs, co-written with Eugene Donegan, Clubman’s Glen and Rattle My Bones, where his voice sounded like a digeridoo (from his time labouring in Australia). The Old Black Crow extended his vocal experimentation, before the audience sang along with Birds Of A Feather. He rocked into Big Bad Beautiful World and a furious Your World before an extended encore with Marrying The Sea and Love Is The Way but his work on electro-ukelele came across like Tint Tim and that was a downer in an otherwise quality show.