Brian Deady live @ Cork Opera House 30 Oct 2016

It is fast approaching midnight and the annual Cork Jazz weekend is drawing to a close. However, there is still a lengthy queue to get into The Cork Opera House and it may surprise some people that the last big gig of the weekend hasn’t been left to one of the “blow-ins from New Orleans” (one older, local lads’ description of the hoards of musicians who travel across the world to play at the jazz festival) the honour has been left to Cork’s own, Brian Deady.

CC Brez, aka Cormac Breslin, was on warm up duty for Deady tonight, but didn’t quite have things his own way. I think a lack of familiarity with the ex Republic Of Loose man’s material, combined with the intoxication levels of the weary crowd made it extremely difficult for him. To his credit Breslin and his band grew into their task and managed to win their audience over. This was due in no small part to a great version of their lead single ‘Her Alibi’ and the excellent ‘She’s Cold’, which I thought was the set’s high point.

The audience may have been weary but Brian Deady most certainly wasn’t, as he burst on to the stage, forcefully grabbed the mic from its stand and launched into ‘Tapes’ with a ferocity I hadn’t previously seen. The next 3 song were back to the more soulful, trademark, Deady sound with  ‘Seams’ , ‘Call My Name’ and the gorgeous, ‘A Darkness’.  Meanwhile, an overcoat and werewolf mask provided a humorous, Halloween-themed costume change for ‘All Start Cast’, prompting a chorus of laughter and howling from the packed house.

Deady’s current album ‘Non-Fiction’ is most certainly a heart on the sleeve affair, but this still didn’t fully prepare me for the emotion in his wonderful performance of ‘Dad’. ‘Dad’ was the most introspective track on ‘Non-Fiction’ and tonight’s version does little in the way of hiding Deady’s feelings. The anger in his voice midway through the song is clear for all to hear, and the bravery to lay his soul bare in such a song is something a lot of modern songwriters could learn from.

I don’t know if this anger proved cathartic or not, but it seemed as if a weight was lifted, as the Cork man upped the tempo for the next few numbers.  His biggest hit to date ‘Clap Both My Hands’ had the crowd on up their toes and dancing,  while a cover of Wings ‘Let ‘Em In’ may have come out of left-field, but really went down a treat. Brian Deady is an artist whose confidence is clearly on the up and his song writing and live shows are indicative of someone who is now clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Words by Anthony Kelly