Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle Trio

‘There’s some room down here if you fancy a dance,’ fiddler John McCusker encouraged vainly during last night’s one-night-only concert of traditional and new Irish music, held at The Assembly Rooms. A vaulted space with gigantic crystal chandeliers, the three musicians seemed out of place with their jeans, hipster t-shirts and casual spirits. The murky blue light couldn’t turn the room into a crowded, smoky pub, which is where this music would truly have shone. Instead, the polite, responsive crowd clapped and smiled for the tunes as they would for a West End musical but predictably no one got up to dance.

Their bios sparkling with well-known credits including the excellent BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions, fiddler John McCusker, guitarist John Doyle and ‘master of flutes, whistles and uilleann pipes’ Michael McGoldrick needed no introduction. The Ballroom was half-filled with fans, most of them already familiar with the music. However, the concert began a few minutes late with one of their members stuck in traffic on his way from Glasgow. The three men already seemed slightly fatigued at the start, perhaps as they are in the middle of their European tour. Still, their skills and passion were obvious and the music certainly did speak for itself. Playing around slightly with rhythmic transitions while sticking to traditional structures, they each had an effortlessly confident air in their performance which invited the audience to revel in their collective song-making. About his lyrics, guitarist and songwriter John Doyle joked a few times, ‘It’s a true story’ and we laughed obligingly. These three know that truth is in the feeling, and the feelings are in the music.

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The Blurb

Three members of the BBC acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions. Mike and John McCusker have just toured with Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler. A chance to see three of the world’s finest musicians perform.

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