Wheel deal as Nathan Carter makes the accordion sexy on Leeside

Nathan Carter performing on stage at Live At The Marquee Cork.

This jobs has its perks. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the world’s top performers in our tent by the Lee and call it, cough, work. But I can say, without hyperbole, I have never seen the level of sheer adulation as at the Nathan Carter show last night.

There was an electricity in the air that couldn’t be explained by the high volumes of hairspray. And that was just the lads.

I am a Carter virgin. I had no idea what to expect at the gig. I’d heard the stories, I knew the fella was popular.

He’s got his own column in a Sunday paper, 17,000 Twitter followers, his own app, and he’s even appeared in an episode of Ros na Rún.

Isla and Lisa Leddy from Co Down meet Nathan Carter before his show at Live At The Marquee, Cork
Isla and Lisa Leddy from Co Down meet Nathan Carter before his show at Live At The Marquee, Cork

And last Friday, at The RTÉ Irish Country Music Awards, Carter was voted Live Act Of The Year, while ‘Wagon Wheel’ was voted Ireland’s all-time favourite country music song.

But still, I was unprepared for the raw, visceral, almost manic, reaction he inspired in an audience that encompassed every demographic from small children to OAPs.

“I never dreamt I’d be coming here to a sold-out show,” he said in his Liverpool/Donegal accent. And sold out, it was. The tent was rammed to the rafters.

Wheel deal as Nathan Carter makes the accordion sexy on Leeside

One of the youngest rootin’ tootin’ fans was Fionn McCarthy, 5, who came from Connemara to see Carter. “My favorite song is Wagon Wheel and this is my second time seeing him live. I listen to his songs in my mum’s car, he’s brilliant.”

Echoing that sentiment were Grainne Murnane and Priscilla Comerford. “His new CD moved me to tears in the car,” says Grainne. “I’m really looking forward to seeing him live.”

Carter didn’t disappoint, playing old favourites such as ‘Good Time Girls’, covers like ‘Caledonia’ and new material like ‘Templebar’.

Esther N McCarthy at Nathan Carter Live at the Marquee
Esther N McCarthy at Nathan Carter Live at the Marquee

The place exploded when the first twangs of ‘Wagon Wheel’ rang out and Carter lifted the roof with ‘The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee’.

The 26-year-old is charming and handsome in an old-school, innocent kind of way, but come here to me, there’s not many fellas could make an accordion sexy.

Priscilla Comerford, Waterford and Grainne Murnane, Cork
Priscilla Comerford, Waterford and Grainne Murnane, Cork

I won’t lie, it was with an air of snarky satire that I tied my bandana, put on the cowboy hat and boots, hooked my thumbs in my denims and moseyed up to the Marquee last night.

But it was one of the most enjoyable shows I was ever at. I finally Get Carter.


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