When we think of music venues, we normally think of dark sweaty places where all too often you get to know your neighbour a little too much more than you had anticipated and a pint costs an arm and a leg. Trying to reinvent what we associate is a hard task but one The Little Museum of Dublin has tackled this head on, creating a listening venue and an ideal location for Luke Sital-Singh‘s first headline Dublin show.
Located on St. Stephen’s Green, The Little Museum is an old Georgian house and the where Sital-Singh’s show is held is a large room running from the front to the back of the house with an arch in the middle, almost dividing the room. It’s in this archway that the performers play on a raised platform with the audience sitting in angled rows either side, this gives the venue a capacity of about fifty or sixty and the unusually angled rows mean you don’t have to crane your neck for a decent view of the performer.
Opening for Sital-Singh this evening is Laura Ann Brady complete with her autoharp. Brady is a folk style singer songwriter in her own right but also a member of pyschedlic folkers ‘Lights Camera Sundown’. While we would be more used to seeing an opening act play guitar, the autoharp brings an extra dimension to Brady’s music. She admits that a lot of her songs are quite dark and she’s trying to ‘lighten them’ up. The darkness though, isn’t that noticeable as the bright frequencies of the autoharp counteract the lyrics. Brady shows herself to be a competent songwriter with a great voice, would like to see a longer set.
As Luke Sital-Singh gets ready to begin his set, the only sound in the venue is the buzz from his electric guitar amp. He begins his set with ‘I’ve been a Fire’ and from the outset, Sital-Singh shows a sincerity in how he delivers his lyrics, they mean something.
He changes from electric to acoustic guitar for ‘You Love, You Love’. The Little Museum is the perfect listening venue and throughout the night, Sital-Singh gives an amazing vocal performance, on ‘Honest Man’, stretching the higher registry of his vocals.
In between songs he jokes about where he is sitting, with the audience on their side saying “One of you is getting my best side”, refusing to say which side he thought that was and how he wrote ‘Luna’ about a killer whale. He gets a few giggles and his self deprecating humour means you can’t help but like him.
Londoner, Sital-Singh’s reputation has been growing over the past while and he has been working with Iain Archer in the studio. This is a great opportunity to hear songs from Sital-Singh’s two E.P.s, ‘Fail For You’ and ‘Old Flint’, in such a lovely venue, which despite being in the city centre, has a really relaxed atmosphere. The audience are polite, clapping at the appropriate times and not talking during the songs.
Luke treats the Little Museum audience to ‘a song he wrote yesterday’, he doesn’t reveal the title of the track but the folky upbeat song features the refrain ‘The Greatest Lovers’. When Sital-Singh pushes, there’s a slight huskiness to vocals. The song ends and Luke admits he wasn’t quite sure how he should end it, he shouldn’t have worried as it goes down a treat.
He swaps back to electric for ‘Dark’. While recorded, this is a piano led track, Sital-Singh’s rendition on guitar doesn’t in any way take away from the song and shows his versatility as well as the quality of his musicianship. Before his final track, Sital-Singh thanks the audience and seems quite humbled that people have come to see him play. He finishes with the heart wrenching ‘Fail for you’ with it’s ‘I have been your champion so why do you walk away’. The silence and peacefulness in the venue make the lyrics more poignant, amazing performance that left goosebumps.
This was a fantastic chance to see one of the UK’s most promising singer songwriters up close and personal. No wonder the audience were so attentive, chances are they’ll not have the opportunity to see Sital-Singh in a venue of this size again.