Orla Gartland Unitarian Dublin 2013

Orla Gartland at the The Unitarian Church on the 10th of July 2013

“If you’re gonna bring your granny to any gig you bring her to the one in the church” says 18 year old singer songwriter Orla Gartland after shouting out to find her granny in tonight’s sold-out crowd. Gartland seems determined to make us forget we’re in a church by making everyone scream at the top of their lungs. “It’ll break the ice” she claims, and it does. It’s a fitting introduction from one of the most interesting characters on the Irish music scene right now.

Tonight (or should I say this evening, given she was onstage at 6.45) is a homecoming. It’s the final night of her mini-tour that has covered London, Manchester, Bristol, Cork and now Dublin. Did we mention that four of those dates were sold-out too? Not bad for an artist yet to release an EP.

Tonight’s set is a short one, it clocks in at a tidy 45 minutes and that’s with some well placed covers. With so many covers on her incredibly popular YouTube channel there’s some hesitation that they’ll take precedent over her original material but thankfully this isn’t the case. Unique as her cover versions are, we would happily see them pushed out for more Gartland originals. She opens with Ground, a three minute slice of mid-tempo folk-pop with a finger-clicking melody to boot. Gartland tells us how she’s been over in London recording and would like to play a new one. That new one is Roots and it’s possibly her best song yet. It’s got a soaring melody and feels very radio friendly but in no way artistically compromised for mainstream radio.

One of the sweetest moments of the evening comes when Gartland tells us of a French fan of hers whom she admires and has always wanted to play with but couldn’t. Then in true X-Factor style she calls Jessie onto the stage for a very interesting cover of Pompeii by Bastille. It’s interesting in that half the song is done in English and the other half in French. A nice touch to make this gig all the more memorable.

Tonight feels like the end of the first chapter in Orla Gartland’s career. A chapter where she has racked up an impressive 9 million+ YouTube views (for context Kodaline are a mere 300,000 ahead of her and they’ve had a 3 EP and 1 album headstart). This chapter she’s closing is one where she couldn’t give music her undivided attention due to the dreaded Leaving Cert. But now that the big LC is out of the way she can finally get down to business. Watch this space as exciting things await.