Declan O'Rourke is the highlight of Saturday at Temple House

Temple House Festival 2011 review

published: Fri 17th Jun 2011

Declan O Rourke

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2011
Temple House, near Ballymote in Co Sligo, Ireland, Ireland
120 euros for 3 days, including camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Thu 2nd Jun 2011

Declan O'Rourke, for me, was the highlight of the festival, and for an artist of his talent, he remains vastly underappreciated. Entrancing from his very first song 'Be Brave and Believe' from his new album 'Mag Pai Zai', he had the audience in awe of his brooding melodies. The very same song perfectly typifies O'Rourke's unique singing style of prolonging words and notes, particularly at the end of lines. His voice and the fashion of his songs might immediately prompt comparison to Rufus Wainwright, but his voice is more raw and earthy, more honest and heartfelt.

Declan O Rourke
His songs are beautifully crafted and performed and really are capable of tugging the heart strings. In fact, while O'Rourke played a wave of adoration seemed to sweep across the Music Maker Marquee; a respectful and appreciative silence pierced only by a soaring voice and a fitting accompaniment. It's easy to listen to O'Rourke and feel as though you are placed at the crest of each note as he sings- one can't help but follow his every word and feel inwrought in the very fabric of the song and performance.

As evident from his performance, O'Rourke is an accomplished musician, often playing a variety of instruments both live and in studio. The crowd's favourites appeared to be two hits off his 2004 album 'Since Kyabrum' – 'Sarah' and 'Galileo', although I particularly enjoyed three songs of his new album, the previously mentioned 'Be Brave And Believe' together with 'A Little Something' and 'Lightning, Bird, Wind, River, Man'. Accompanying O'Rourke on stage and throughout his Irish tour was an American singer-songwriter Ari Hest, who performed one of his own songs, entitled 'Place Unknown', and played alongside O'Rourke for a few others. While difficult to judge Hest's talents based on one song, he certainly proved himself worthy of researching- a prospect I'll leave open to you.

Stereo MCs
Stereo MC's, an electronic dance group from London, are probably best known for their 1992 hit Connected and connect is one thing they certainly did with the crowds at Temple House. At centre stage stood charismatic lead singer Rob Birch accompanied by two vivacious dancers who moved in a pronounced and and elegant unison together throughout the set. Upon first seeing Birch, I couldn't get over the striking resemblance he bore to Bill Nighy; not only in terms of looks but in terms of persona. Perhaps this made me like them more. Their set was lively and energetic and the crowd equally so- the main tent was brimming with movement and hordes of aspiring professional dancers seemed to sprout up around me.
review by: Ferdinand Dakota

photos by: Andrew McLaughlin

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2011
Temple House, near Ballymote in Co Sligo, Ireland, Ireland
120 euros for 3 days, including camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Thu 2nd Jun 2011


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