It still seems to be a prerequisite of articles on Jack O’Rourke to place him in context as the author of ‘Silence’.
That ballad became an anthem of the Marriage Equality referendum, but if the reception to his recently released debut album Dreamcatcher is anything to go by, the mere mention of his name will suffice to bring nods of recognition as the crafter of mature chamber pop, rousing uptempo soul-tinged rockers and a chronicler of Cork city to rank alongside the likes of John Spillane and the writer Conal Creedon.
He also shows a deftness when it comes to dissecting the minutiae of relationships and examining the human condition in a manner worthy of lyrical forebears Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. The past year has seen such achievements as his Electric Picnic debut and receiving the benediction of Panti Bliss.
The Everyman Theatre makes for a suitably grandiose setting for his ornate songs, and although playing to a partisan audience, the Ovens native established an easy intimacy with the capacity crowd. Taking his place at the baby grand piano, O’Rourke began his set with album opener ‘Nostalgia’, an autumnal number that evokes memory-filled Cork city streets. His voice swelled to fill every corner of the auditorium.
Immediately changing gears, O’Rourke launched into ‘Naivety’, which called on the full force of his band. The powerful vocals of the backing trio and Davy Ryan’s meaty drumming served to push the louder songs to effortless heights. A special mention must also be given to the accompanying visuals provided by Generic People. This included impressive animation, as well as drone footage of the streets of his native city for a moving cover version of ‘A Million Miles Away’ by Rory Gallagher.
Joined by singer Marlene Enright for ‘I’ll Forget You In The Morning’, O’Rourke giddily declared: “I won’t forget this night at all.” He’s likely to have many more just like it.