To me, Orla Gartland was an artist I discovered when I first got into listening to music beyond the scope of my Now 65 CD. Her early track, Lonely People was some catchy funky indie-pop that I could get behind and at the time, it was added straight to my playlists.
Skip forward a couple of years and you’ll find me in the basement of our students’ union planning a radio show with one of my best friends. We both talk about this song we can’t get enough of and want to play on the show, we both pressed play on our laptops at a similar time and the same Orla Gartland songs fills the stuffy room, ‘I Go Crazy’. From then on, I have followed Orla more faithfully, eagerly waiting for new releases and playing them incessantly, enjoying each track for its individuality, cutting lyrics and funky guitar. So on Sunday the 17th, me and said co-host/best friend headed down to the Institute ready to sing and dance to an artist that we love as she performed her sell-out show on her 2019 headline tour.
Walking into the room, we caught the warm-up set from the enchanting Violet Skies, with her heart-wrenching lyrics and incredible voice, the crowd were then left raring to go for the headline set.
Orla and her band burst onto the stage in matching broken heart t-shirts, a signature logo of hers and they began blasting ‘Heart Between My Teeth’ with Orla singing boldly and her band matching the energy. The crowd was bobbing along and singing to the lively tunes but still got involved with the vocals when Orla slowed it down and sat at the keyboard for the more poignant songs like ‘Inevitable’ and ‘Why Am I Like This’. Somehow, Orla perfected the balance between chat and tunes spilling the secrets behind the songs, making jokes with the crowd but sometimes seamlessly transitioning into the next track to cheers from the crowd as they recognised the opening notes. There was a dreamy combination of both slow and upbeat covering her entire discography throughout the set but keeping the crowd in check all evening.
Gartland herself has taken inspiration from a range of artists including Stevie Nicks and Eminem (definitely clear in her track, Overthinking) and she beautifully filtered some Stevie into her own track, adding that something special to the live performance. From her ridiculously good guitar playing to her smooth keyboard skills, her DIY approach to music pays off and makes for a brilliant live show.
The encore worked impeccably well with three more songs played out to a wanting crowd after they all ran off following her latest and grittiest single yet ‘Figure It Out’. She returned by herself at first, bringing the emotion of just a singer and her guitar to finish the set with the crowd jumping up and down to bopping hits like ‘Flatline’. She finished with a bang and the crowd were no doubt left wanting more, something we all had a taste of as she trialled a new song from her upcoming EP written over the summer. So with another EP to come, I’m looking forward to the potential for more headline tours from the Irish songwriter and can’t wait to see which new catchy hits I can add to my playlists from her new EP.
Jessie Ryan via Orla Gartland on Instagram