- 04 Nov 18
The true beauty of Stephanie Rainey’s music is that it’s not overdone – it's simple, relatable ("Secondhand Love" anyone?) and real, and her show on Saturday reflected this. After former Hometown singer Josh Gray opened the show with an energetic set that featured catchy new single “Cut Loose”, Stephanie came on stage backed by her band and was instantly in her element. There was nothing to hide behind because she doesn’t need to. Both a talented singer and a gifted songwriter, with little more than a mic, guitar and a wealth of talent, (okay, and a killer bowler hat) Stephaine captured the attention of the crowd. From the bittersweet bliss of will-they-won't-they love in the upbeat “Question Mark, which opened the show, to the devastating pain of losing a loved one in “Please Don’t Go”, the track that launched Stephanie into the public eye, her set in Whelan's fulfilled her early promise to bring us up, bring us down and back up again, while showcasing her powerful voice and unmistakable Cork charisma.
As with her music, Stephanie’s show covered a range of emotions. She was both at ease joking with the crowd about singing Backstreet Boys in the chipper at 2 am, and sharing the tragic feelings of loss that inspired "Please Don't Go".
Her powerhouse of a new song, “Woman” (dedicated to Stephanie's ‘beast’ of a mother), "Beauty in Your Madness" and "One Man Army" captured the magnetic energy of her live performances along with her natural flair for songwriting across subject matter. Although she writes about Romantic love - and writes about it damn well - Stephanie's material transcends the confines of romantic relationships, which many singers limit themselves to. Dedicating it to anyone who came with their best friend, when Stephanie performed "Sorry" you could really feel the love in the room, while “Thirteen” and her cover of Michael Jackson's “Man in the Mirror” lit up the crowd.
Closing the show (and raising the roof) was the powerful anthem “100 Like Me”, recently performed for Hot Press' Now We're Talking initiative with Lyons Tea and Pieta House, reminding us simply that: it’s okay. It’s okay to feel, it's okay to be lost, and it’s okay to shed a tear as you sway alone at a concert, (right?).