LIVE REVIEW: James Walsh at Warrington Irish Club

Warrington Irish Club Live presents – James Walsh (of Starsailor) with support from Matthew Everson.

I’m excited about this one. Ever the indie music fan, this is a big one for me….I’m happy. It’s a packed out Warrington Irish Club we find ourselves in tonight, and quite rightly so. Tonight is a real treat. It’s a stripped back acoustic event – and our headliner tonight?…none other than James Walsh!

Matthew Everson

Providing the support tonight we have Matthew Everson. I’ve never seen Matthew perform, but have it on good authority he’s not to be missed, so have been looking forward to finally doing so. It’s not a disappointment. Indie/folk pop in genre with a touch of indie rock, it’s a bloody great acoustic set – just what’s needed to set the pace for what’s to follow. After 2 brilliantly performed solo songs, Jon Lord arrives on stage to provide backing vocals and electric guitar. It works very well.

The blend of voices gels together perfectly well, and the addition of electric guitar in some of the songs adds another layer, another dimension. With a somewhat powerful voice, rich deep tones, very listenable songs with poetic lyrics, the set is well appreciated by the crowd. Original material, catchy, memorable tunes, real passion and vast amounts of energy on both parts, it’s truly great to watch. Strong guitar lines, a gravel tone to the vocal at times, but reaching higher peaks when necessary, there’s real heart and soul going into this performance. Thoroughly enjoyed this ! Brilliant start to the night. Thanks guys…smashed it !

James Walsh

To rapturous applause, whistles and whooping, James Walsh comes out onto the stage before us. Then it’s no messing about, straight into the first song – and what a song to open with! ‘Good Souls.’ As soon as the strumming of his guitar begins he has us as an audience. A fine start indeed… everyone is singing along, The atmosphere tonight is brilliant. It’s to be one very full set list, not only all James’s impressive solo material but all the Starsailor anthems too. We are truly spoilt, and each one is performed exceptionally too. Those familiar riffs, the sounds of that acoustic guitar and James’s stirring, powerful and instantly recognisable voice cause goose bumps. He simply is brilliant.

It’s working well as an acoustic set, but this material would do – Starsailor were after all pioneers in the ‘new acoustic movement’ way back when, along with the likes of Travis and Kean, so this would always sit well in an event such as this. Not forgetting of course that in January this year, after a recent tour at the end of 2021, Starsailor released an expanded version of their groundbreaking debut album ‘Love is here’ which last year celebrated its 20th anniversary. The sound is as relevant still today as it was upon release, and to be here tonight, having these legendary songs performed in their rawest form before us, is something very special indeed and something we will all treasure and remember for years to come.

We’re a happy crowd. James’s voice is soul stirring, touching; the emotion he conveys is really something. It reaches out and touches us, we genuinely feel the wistfulness, then the languishing, sorrowful themes, but at the same time this is uplifting and heart warming. As well as the songs,James banters with the crowd, laughing and joking, and is very likeable and easy going. There truly is no difference in his voice here tonight, live and unplugged, than in the more familiar produced tracks we all listen to. As a performer, we’re glued to him…transfixed, eagerly awaiting each next song…and none disappoint.

The tones in James’s voice are exquisite: powerful, loud, haunting and reaching those high notes effortlessly. The crescendos and all those famous howling sections we know and love are included in the performance of each song…he eagerly encouraged us as a crowd to join in, counting us in at the relevant parts. A very well organised event in a great setting with excellent sound quality and a stellar support act….but it’s the headliner that had the wow factor (as fully expected). James Walsh, we were all left in complete and utter wonderment. The talent, the voice, the creativity and the entire feel of this performance was utterly and brilliantly mesmerising. Light hearted, laid back and taking the time to chat to fans afterwards.

Words, I feel, just can’t do justice to James’s voice, and anyone lucky enough to have seen him live will understand this…and if you haven’t…go see him!!

Thank you James Walsh, tonight was something extra special and truly inspirational.

Find James Walsh on social media here: Facebook & Instagram Find out more about Warrington Irish club on social media here: Facebook & Instagram

Review by Janet Harding Photos by Lee Harman

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