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Lisa Hannigan

The Meath singer transfixes the audience with her stunning ethereal voice.

Dave Hanratty, 17 Jun 2011

It’s standard practice at any gig for a boisterous crowd to suddenly fall silent when a headline act takes to the stage, but there is an added sense of respect and anticipation in the air when Lisa Hannigan makes her bow.

As there should be. What follows is almost communal: a transfixed audience quietly appreciating every minute that passes. The silence is broken only for well-timed, rapturous applause, the sold-out crowd careful not to overstep their mark.

Backed by her impressive band (including guitarist John Smith who earlier handled support duties with grace and aplomb), she expertly capitalises on the atmosphere. The hush allows every sound to swell, from the delicate drum beats to Hannigan’s stunning, ethereal voice, adding further depth to favourites such as ‘Keep It All’ and the softly-delivered ‘Lille’.

Polite apologies for the delay of a new record are offered, while new material is warmly received. Upon switching from acoustic to electric guitar, Hannigan indulges in a particularly cute Pete Townshend impression, drawing laughter from the enamoured crowd. The biggest cheer of the night, though, is reserved for the opening chords of ‘I Don’t Know’, ushering in a lively call and response session from those in attendance.

A three-song encore features an eclectic mix including a breathy rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ and a perfectly-paced take on Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’. In between, Hannigan dons a ukulele, flashing a knowing smile at her captive audience. She gets away with it, of course.

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