Marramgrass

"Sand and water and a million years..."

(This post was intended for last night, but delayed by our late and tired return home after the concert in question.)

My wife and I have remarked often how we haven't been to any live music since we moved back to Northern Ireland. Two-and-some years is a pretty long dry spell.

I'd never knowingly encountered the music of Beth Neilsen Chapman, but when Gerry Anderson played "Sand and Water" and plugged last night's show at the Grand Opera House I decided it was worth a go. The decision was helped by promised support from local boy Brian Houston.

It was a very good call.

It's something like nine years since I last saw Brian Houston live, but his short opening set told me that's way too long. I guess he's been doing the groovy, layered sample thing on "Jesus Again" for a long time, but it was one of several turns that blew me away last night. He's a superb showman at work.

Turns out that I know more Beth Neilsen Chapman songs than I thought, and she can certainly sing. The three-piece for the evening included local talent Eilidh Patterson on backing vocals and the very dude-ly Maartin Allcock on bass and bouzouki.

I'd yet to hear Eilidh, although I know of her in a family-of-a-friend sort of way, but I was impressed. She was in great voice yesterday. And Mr Allcock sent me away swearing to never again pretend I can tame the four-stringed beast.

The Opera House wouldn't be my first choice for a gig, but the sit-down-and-relax vibe was entirely appropriate — and you can't argue with front row seats.