When we think of music venues, we normally think of dark sweaty places where all too often you get to know your neighbour a little too much more than you had anticipated, and a pint costs an arm and a leg. Trying to reinvent what we associate is a hard task but one The Little Museum of Dublin has tackled this head on, creating a listening venue and an ideal location for Luke Sital-Singh‘s first headline Dublin show.
Located on St. Stephen’s Green, The Little Museum is an old Georgian house and Sital-Singh’s show is held in a large room running from the front to the back of the house, with an arch in the middle almost dividing the space. It’s in this archway that the performers play on a raised platform, with the audience sitting in angled rows either side. This gives the venue a capacity of about fifty or sixty and the unusually angled rows mean you don’t have to crane your neck for a decent view of the performer.
Opening for Sital-Singh this evening is Laura Ann Brady complete with her autoharp. Brady is a folk style singer songwriter in her own right but also a member of pyschedlic folkers Lights Camera Sundown. While we would be more used to seeing an opening act play guitar, the autoharp brings an extra dimension to Brady’s music. She admits that a lot of her songs are quite dark and she’s trying to ‘lighten them’ up. The darkness though, isn’t that noticeable as the bright frequencies of the autoharp counteract the lyrics. Brady shows herself to be a competent songwriter with a great voice, and we would like to see a longer set.
As Luke Sital-Singh gets ready to begin his set, the only sound in the venue is the buzz from his electric guitar amp. He begins with I’ve been a Fire and from the outset, Sital-Singh shows a sincerity in how he delivers his lyrics – they mean something. He changes from electric to acoustic guitar for You Love, You Love. The Little Museum proves the perfect listening venue and throughout the night Sital-Singh gives an amazing vocal performance, with Honest Man stretching the higher registry of his vocals.
In between songs he jokes with the audience about where he is sitting, saying “One of you is getting my best side”, refusing to say which side he thought that was and how he wrote Luna about a killer whale. He gets a few giggles and his self deprecating humour means you can’t help but like him.
Sital-Singh’s reputation has been growing over the past while and he has been working with Iain Archer in the studio. Tonight is a great opportunity to hear songs from Sital-Singh’s two E.P.s, ‘Fail For You’ and ‘Old Flint’, in such a lovely venue, which despite being in the city centre has a really relaxed atmosphere. The audience are polite, clapping at the appropriate times and not talking during the songs.
Luke treats the Little Museum audience to “a song he wrote yesterday“; he doesn’t reveal the title of the track but the folky upbeat song features the refrain “the greatest lovers“. When Sital-Singh pushes, there’s a slight huskiness to vocals. The song ends and Luke admits he wasn’t quite sure how he should end it. He shouldn’t have worried as it goes down a treat.
He swaps back to electric for Dark. While recorded, this is a piano led track, but Sital-Singh’s rendition on guitar doesn’t take away from the song and shows his versatility as well as the quality of his musicianship. Before his final track, Sital-Singh thanks the audience and seems quite humbled that people have come to see him play. He finishes with the heart wrenching Fail For You with it’s “I have been your champion so why do you walk away“. The silence and peacefulness in the venue make the lyrics more poignant, and it’s an amazing performance that leaves goosebumps.
This was a fantastic chance to see one of the UK’s most promising singer songwriters up close and personal. No wonder the audience were so attentive, chances are they’ll not have the opportunity to see Sital-Singh in a venue of this size again.