Live Review: James Vincent Mcmorrow, Caitlin Park

17 April 2012 | 3:16 pm | Katie Benson

A tale of faith and journeys, McMorrow’s haunting performance raised hairs on necks and filled the room with waving camera phones.

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On a freezing Wednesday night, the red intimacy of The Vanguard was all too inviting, the warm folk of the evening, all too fitting. Kicking off the evening's audio hugs was Sydney's Caitlin Park, a three-piece live that's often a two-piece, but always the brain child of one, singer CP (Caitlin Park). Their set was an intelligent working of electro-folk, blending samples of records, seaside recordings and the voices of friends amongst perfect harmonies, warm acoustic guitars and stripped percussion. Beginning and ending their set a cappella, the vocal harmonies of all three were a true highlight, especially when Park blended with guitarist Aidan Roberts. Her deep, sparse vocals were given body with Roberts' warm tone displayed best in the Laura Marling-esque Jack, Where You At.

On a sparse stage, armed with only an acoustic guitar, Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow opened with one of his more up-tempo folk numbers, Sparrow And The Wolf. Instantly captivating with a high husky falsetto reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, McMorrow invites you into a world of loneliness, wilderness and wonderment. Playing a great part of his debut album, Early In The Morning, he was plagued by bad audio to begin with, but from this the set's most enchanting moment arose.

After much delightful Irish banter with the sound guy, McMorrow unplugged from a dodgy amp and came to the front of the stage. Without a mic, a completely silent audience sighed as McMorrow launched into one of his strongest songs, We Don't Eat. A tale of faith and journeys, McMorrow's haunting performance raised hairs on necks and filled the room with waving camera phones.

There is a certain joy that comes with hearing a well-performed cover and McMorrow certainly has carved out a name for himself in this area. Midway through, McMorrow bravely – and successfully – tackled Roy Orbison's In Dreams, before closing the night with Chris Isaak's Wicked Game. He delivered the latter not only with beauty, but with a fragility that made the chorus' falsetto all the more heartbreaking.

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