Gareth Dunlop at the Eastside Sessions, Sunday 12th April, The Park Avenue Hotel, Belfast. This was a free event brought about by the East Side Arts, Belfast.
We arrived at the event unwisely thinking “ah sure there will be plenty of seats, its Sunday”. Nope we were very wrong the place was full. We should have known judging by Gareth Dunlop’s local fan base which includes myself. I first saw Gareth play a small gig a few years ago in ‘Holywood Yacht Club’. Loved him from his first song. I was then lucky enough to see him play several times at our local open mic night, which I might add I have sung at a few times myself but certainly not at the standard of Gareth Dunlop. Every time he turned up “the craic was 90″.
Gareth is now 28 but has been playing and performing from a young age. In 2011 he was awarded the ‘Belfast Nashville Young Songwriter of the Year’. Since then he has been a busy bee writing and performing. He has opened for Jeff Beck, Jools Holland, Nanci Griffith, Angus & Julia Stone, Paul Carrack, The Steeldrivers, Imelda May and more. Gareth’s songs have also been featured in numerous hit television series including “Cougar Town,” “One Tree Hill,” “Private Practice,” “Army Wives,“Life Unexpected,” and more.
Unfortunately due to our late arrival our seat wasn’t too good but a seat we had nonetheless which was luckier than others. Gareth expressed how honoured he was to be asked to perform at this gig and got stuck straight in. He is a professional and so you just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. After his first song and the rapturous applause he received, he expressed how 5 years previous he had played cover songs in this exact venue and no one clapped so the night was getting off to a fine start.
The next song was “Find Your Way Back Home” accompanied by the talented John McCullough on keyboard. They have been playing together for nearly a decade. I have seen John play along side many other artists and he is something to behold and it is quite exciting to watch him at work. One of his next songs was written while travelling with Angus and Julia Stone. Its about missing home ‘Just Don’t Feel Like Home’. Just before a short break himself and John did a cover of ‘Walking in Memphis’ which went down a storm as usual.
After the break and I’m sure a couple of Guinness’s later he came back with one of my favourites ‘Trick of the Moonlight’ which was featured in the series ‘House’. This was then followed by ‘Fools Desire’.
A few songs prior to this I was joined at my table by the infamous Terri Hooley. Terri likes to banter and in between each of Gareth’s songs he kept whispering lots of very entertaining stories to us and so I was unable to hear much of Gareth’s banter. Nonetheless it was a great gig and Gareth and John finished off with a cover of Paul Simon s “you can call me Al”.
Love love love him and good luck to him for the future certainly looks bright.
For further information, upcoming gigs, music store, videos and social media links, visit Gareth Dunlop’s website.