Live music review: Right Here, Right Now festival

Jack O'Rourke.
Jack O'Rourke.

Eoghan O’Sullivan reviews Right Here, Right Now - a music festival at Cork Opera House.

The inaugural Right Here, Right Now festival took place across Cork Opera House over the May bank-holiday weekend, with the express goal of celebrating the eclectic music scene in Cork city.

Interference, playing the music of the late Fergus O’Farrell, were in the Right Room, a new performance area on the main stage. They sold out the auditorium not three months ago but with guests like Glen Hansard in tow, it wasn’t surprising to see them back so soon.

Guitar acts, from the familiar Mick Flannery to the underrated Marc O’Reilly and the Shaker Hymn all feature on the festival bill, but Shookrah, a funky RnB band, offer a refreshing something different.

They star in the Green Room, with ‘Woman’ sounding like a minor anthem, and newer songs showcasing their songwriting chops. And there’s synchronised dance moves!

The most anticipated show of the weekend, however, was Jack O’Rourke and band playing with the 25-piece Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra.

“This is a surreal experience,” says his first support act of the jam-packed evening, Anna Mitchell. Her country’n’roll style shouldn’t work so well with an orchestra but does. They play ‘Better Life’, off her forthcoming second album, for the first time live — and it’s with an orchestra. How do you top that?

O’Rourke says he’s going to be self-indulgent and play his debut album, 2016’s Dreamcatcher, in full. Which is fine, though it limits any potential surprises. Conductor for the night, John O’Brien, also arranged the music for O’Rourke and you can sense the ambition for the ‘Corkestra’s’ first outing.

There are enough flourishes to keep the audience compelled, and standout single ‘Naivety’ sounds immense. It will be interesting to see where O’Rourke — and Right Here, Right Now — go next.


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