Mick Flannery at The Olympia on 27th April 2012.

Review: Ros Madigan

Mick Flannery is widely recognized in Ireland as one of the top lyrical wordsmiths of recent years and holds a special place in the hearts of his Irish fans. So it came as little surprise to many that his fully seated show in Dublin’s Olympia was a full sell out. One person however who would probably be surprised is Mick Flannery himself. The man is a humble and unassuming character who when greeted with his adoring audience on the night seemed shy and taken aback.

A quick head nod of appreciation to the fans before the Olympia plunged into a pure silence and Mick begins the night with ‘Only Getting On’, a track from his latest album ‘Red To Blue’. For most of the crowd, this will be the first chance to catch these new songs live. ‘Red To Blue’ is Mick Flannery’s finest collection of songs to date that shows a real progression from the previous album. A man always praised for his mature and hard-hitting lyrics does not let anyone down as he bellows out into The Olympia air.

Mick Flannery is joined on the night by The Vanbrugh String Quartet, which adds a different element to the proceedings. The mixture of Mick Flannery’s gravelly tone and the soaring strings from the selected violins, cellos and violas combine as if this line-up is the norm. Throw in a French horn and trombone to the mix and the result is Mick Flannery’s biggest musical output of his career. It’s not long before Flannery invites another member to the stage as he calls on his mother to assist him and his usual backing vocalist Yvonne Daly.

‘Wish You Well’ from 2008’s album ‘White Lies’ stands out from start to finish, it acts as a perfect vessel for the true raw emotion that Flannery exudes as he sings his own words. It’s all well and good for an artist to sit on the stage and tell you a story, especially when that story is a personal one. What Mick Flannery does is something a small bit different as he pulls you in from a songs inception. As Mick sings this song, you almost believe you are ease dropping on the man as he sings the song for the first time, the heart and commitment to each single word resonates out across the auditorium. Not bad from a man complaining on the night of a cold.

Heartless Man’, ‘Keepin Score’ and ‘In The Gutter’ all play through and showcase Flannery’s vulnerable, sad and tender sides as a lyricist. Prompting the man himself to have a laugh and a joke about how these songs would fill you full of the joys of summer… Not so much. Soon Flannery would treat us to the strongest part of the set as he masterfully belts his way through ‘Get That Gold’, ‘Do Me Right’ and ‘Tomorrows Paper’. His voice so weathered and beaten, and his delivery on vocals is without compare to any Irish act around.

‘Safety Rope’ and ‘Arise and Leave’ see out the night’s proceedings and serve as the perfect ending to a powerful performance in every aspect. Mick Flannery is unashamedly the poster boy for an Irish feel of heart ache and sorrow, crafted and molded into a fearsome on stage entity with the lyrics and voice to back it up. A list was recently devised up that listed ‘200 Reasons Not To Leave Dublin’, if ever there was a list – ‘200 Reasons To Be Proud To Be Irish’, Mick Flannery would most certainly be one of them.

Mick Flannery Set List

Only Getting On ..
Ships In The Night ..
Nasty Weather
Wish You Well
Take It On The Chin
Heartless Man
Red To Blue
Keepin’ Score
In The Gutter
What Do You See
Get That Gold
Do Me Right
Tomorrows Paper
Gone Forever
No Way to Live
Up On That Hill

Safety Rope
Arise and Leave