Live music review: Little Green Cars - Live at St Luke’s, Cork

4/5

Last Saturday won’t have seen too many churches with a lengthy queue to get in, as was witnessed at St Luke’s on Cork’s north side.

Then again, nothing about the night is usual.

There aren’t too many gig venues with a bar set in the alcove of a deconsecrated church, with wine chilling on ice in a baptismal font.

It is here that Little Green Cars play a set to a sell-out crowd of worshippers who are blessed with not just the hits from a debut album — Absolute Zero — that earned their devotion, but a host of new songs from the band’s soon to be released second coming.

The marriage of band and venue couldn’t be more perfect — it feels like the harmonies from ‘The Kitchen Floor’, ‘My Love Took Me Down To The River To Silence Me’, and a new track set in Philadelphia deserve nothing less than to be sung from an altar.

Faye O’Rourke’s powerful vocals reverberate around the walls of the church with such strength that it’s possible that the microphone in front of her is unnecessary.

If anything it acts as a constraint acting between O’Rourke and the audience — her arms strain and her body contorts towards the mic stand, and just as she hits her most challenging note she retreats from it before repeating the ritual with the next line.

In Steven Appleby the band has a charmingly, self-deprecating frontman, whose knowingly goofy persona punctuates each rendition and yet is at complete odds with the intense showman bearing all with each song.

With each passing song the show becomes a guessing game as to what will come next; another new track to be tested on willing guinea pigs or a familiar track from Absolute Zero.

It is testament to the performance, and to how well the new material has bedded in, that this reviewer forgot that the band had a track like ‘The John Wayne’ unused in its repertoire until the group descended from the stage to play closer amongst the rapturous congregation.

The penultimate show of the Live at St Luke’s series ended with a standing ovation for the Dublin band — and tribute too must be paid to the organisers for making great use of a building that will hopefully host more nights in a similar vein.

Dare we say it; a religious experience.


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