Jul 19 2008
Rushing down to catch the DART this morning to head into the City Centre for something that ended up being canceled anyway, I was distracted by a neighbour and in our chatter I didn’t notice the lamppost right in my path. WHAM! I knocked myself to the ground and produced a lump the size of an orange on the side of my head. The neighbour brought me in to her house and gave me tea (the Irish cure for anything) and an ice pack. So, now that I’ve recovered from the bump on my head, I feel up to writing a bit about last night.
Greystones Theatre is open a matter of weeks and last night was our first time setting foot inside, despite the fact that we live exactly 32 seconds from the front door. The venue is beautiful, the acoustics are perfect (the best of any venue I’ve been in and that really surprised me). It is a new venue and, as such, isn’t well known yet. So, sadly, Juliet Turner did not get the turnout she deserved. The half empty/half full theatre still managed to make her feel very welcome as our small group were strong on whoops and applause.
Lottie talks about the supporting act here so I won’t write much about him, except to say he was yet another excellent choice of support for Juliet. In the past we have been lucky enough to hear a number of great support acts, not least of which was Duke Special a good number of years ago. Last night Gentry Morris played and was brilliant. Slightly nervous and sporting a chest infection, none of it showed as he played a few beautiful songs and a couple of songs that I already find myself singing along to. Check out his MySpace page or his own website.
When Lottie first introduced me to the music of Juliet Turner eight years ago, I gave it a swift listen and dismissed it as the audio equivalent of chick-lit. It was not until I was dragged to one of her gigs that I truly learned to appreciate what an amazing artist she is.
Her music is hard to define. To describe it as folk is to do it a sincere disservice. To call it jazz or soft rock is pigeonholing it because it is so much more than this. Alternative Irish probably means nothing to most people. Juliet Turner is all of this and more. Her songs are imbued with personality and emotion that seem to tell the story of her life. From her early Pizza and Wine (see Lottie’s video below) to her more recent offering Invisible to the Eye, she reveals so much of herself. Not that she is a particularly guarded or circumspect person. In between each track she is happy to chat and joke with the audience, telling us stories of her tours, her experiences and her inspiration for the songs she writes. And her voice is a thing of beauty. Her Northern Irish twang permeates through her songs and it is a joy to listen to her chat away. If she didn’t sing a note, she could still keep the crowd captivated for hours.
Pizza and Wine is one of my favourite Juliet tracks and it hails from her first album, Let’s Hear it For Pizza. Though the song is a number of years old now, she still sings it with the same joyful reflection that she did when I first heard it eight years ago. The first Juliet album I was heavily exposed to was Burn the Black Suit which has some wonderful tracks such as Belfast Central, Rough Lion’s Tongue and the ultimate Tom Waits cover, I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love With You (which I haven’t heard live since she dueted with Brian Kennedy at the Point Theatre and Kennedy fell over onstage – how we laughed 😆 ).
We seemed to be waiting decades for her follow up album, Season Of The Hurricane (2004), which did not disappoint. The brilliant track Everything Beautiful is Burning got a lot of radio play and the extremely sexy Vampire is one of my favourites. She also overjoyed fans by putting the crowd pleasing Sugartown on disc for the first time.
People Have Names
Her current tour is promoting her new album, People Have Names (iTunes link), and last night she mixed a number of new tracks in with her older established set. They fit in seamlessly and add a new vigour to the performance with tracks like Girl With a Smile and Tuesday Night Ladies wowing the crowd. She also played a wonderful rendition of Joy (also from the new album) which she claims is sung without cynicism – I don’t believe her for a second.
One of the excellent things about Greystones Theatre’s new website is their GTTV section where they have uploaded a number of performances from shows and gigs that have been on at the venue. The following is a recording of Joy from last night’s show:
The also whipped the crowd into a frenzy with the title track from her third album, Burn the Black Suit:
Juliet will be playing in Whelan’s on the 25th where I expect she will get a bigger crown than last night. We hope to be there and if you want tickets they are available from Ticketmaster. They are a mere €22.50 and it will be a great night.
Also, if you know any Radio DJ’s (ahem!) please beg, pester and threaten them until they play Juliet’s new single Trickster, which can also be heard here.