On a rainy Thursday evening, I arrived at the cosy hideaway in the heart of Dublin's Grafton Street that is known as Bewley's Cafe Theatre. I had been invited by Enda Reilly, who is a delightful entertainer I first met at The Zodiac Sessions in Bruxelles.
This young man is an alt-folk/pop singer/songwriter. His recent album 'Oxygen 21' is an exciting and unique creation and together with Rhiannon (Niamh O'Brien) who is a soloist with a special style, he has now added 'Halloween Lady' into the collage of creative songs in his portfolio!
On the night in question I sat in a quiet corner, to observe and take in my surroundings. A play had been on that afternoon and the set still remained up on-stage which gave the place a real sense of theatre. There had been a few Halloween props added which I found added to the mood too, especially a spider who sat blinking, with bright red eyes on an amp. A nice little group were in attendance; Just nice for the small venue not to feel empty. I was introduced to Rhiannon, who is a very pretty and multi-talented lady. I knew this was going to be a fun gig, since I'd heard a snippet of the song on-line and was eager to hear more of Rhiannon's repertoire!
The first set of the evening, however was performed by a young man: Andy Early. This guy has a strong Dub accent but a great voice and personality.
Rooftop Lullaby (Jack L cover)
This number was sung unaccompanied. You could hear a pin drop as this tall blonde lady clad in a long velvet gown, complete with medieval styled sleeves lined in purple satin, performed this moving piece. The voice crystal clear draws you in, as she lovingly caresses her subject and makes this song her own!
Crazy Man Michael ( FairPort Convention Cover)
Rhiannon explains that this song is about a sorceress seducing a guy with black magic spells. Plucked guitar notes and vocals note perfect, take you through this interesting ballad. It has a three four beat and a slightly Celtic melody line.
The chorus is simply her singing the melody ad lib (without words), apart from the last line; 'Poor lost soul'
Woman I Long to be (HeartSong of the Phoenix Album)
With the black of the set behind her and a huge strip of what looks a little like white embossed wallpaper at the centre of the backdrop to throw the scene into relief, Rhiannon takes on an ethereal appearance. She sings this lovely number, her own creation with reverence and emotion!
She has the prettiest voice I've ever heard in a female vocalist; a tincture of Kate Bush, a hint of Enya but wouldn't be out of place playing the lead in a West End musical; this exciting and powerful lady seduces her audience in the nicest way possible!
Sporting a black trilby hat to add character and a bit of bohemia, she was getting into the spirit of Halloween big time and taking all present with her!
Deep and moving, this song is yet another sweet number, with a catchy chorus. Her background as an actress gives her a dynamic stage presence and her lyrics are sensual, with her performing each as an experience apart from the previous one. There is total silence as she tells her story here!
Sealsong on Rathlin Island
Rhiannon introduced this number as a piece inspired by a strange experience she had on a trip to Rathlin Island. She describes singing into the sea in fun and suddenly spotting a seal coming up on the surf. From a single one, there suddenly seemed to appear a colony of them. She joked about it being her biggest and most attentive audience to date!
She told also about 'Selkie' which are a kind of mermaid that in legend were actually seals, which had come ashore and shed their hide.
The song itself a sad love song, had a lovely melody and consisted of tricky keychanges and complex notation.
Enda wore his own Halloween attire as he joined her onstage and Rhiannon added long fingered purple gloves to her outfit for this. Choppy with a creepy but comical feel to it, they performed this duet with great aplomb!
Rhiannon does lots of dramatic vogueing in her glittery glamorous way and Enda played his part very much on the style of the Phantom of the Opera. I adored the chorus of this song and am still haunted by it, with its Kate Bush style. What a fabulous work of lyric and melody combined, all created by my good friend Enda Reilly!
Enda Reilly's Set
Enda thanked the first two acts and began his set with Hidin' Away.This number has a beautiful intro. His finger picking prowess on the acoustic guitar and skill as a lyricist come from influences such as John Martyn, Nick Drake, The Beatles, Christy Moore, Paul Brady and Dick Gaughan.
His voice is velvet smooth with bassy undertones. There's an almost classical touch to his guitar playing in this song. He has a warm easy stage presence that is unique. He explains after this song that he uses two capos � a trick!
Where the wild Roses Grow ( Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue Cover)
This is a duet with Rhiannon, performed as a try out on the night. There's a great sense of spontaneity, as she hops up onstage and picks up a huge red rose to hold throughout the song. The melody reminds me of a Chris De Burgh number. It has mysteriousness about it and is really special with a catchy melody!
Enda invited Rhiannon onstage one more time and together they gave a second performance of the creepy 'Halloween Lady'.
This time they did it sans backing track!
With her costume and her dramatic way, Rhiannon did her theatrics and began the verse with Enda playing his choppy chords. They got a fabulous reaction. The middle eight is wonderful with its vampirish lyrics!
He got an encore and performed a Rory Gallagher cover I'm not awake yet, which he devoted to his girlfriend. This was really lovely, having a three four beat, with a sweet chorus and after fourteen songs, he finally wished everyone a happy Halloween. With the props, the scenery and his gorgeous and mesmerising guest Rhiannon, Enda had succeeded in giving his audience a great show that wouldn't be easily forgotten!
Review written by: Angela Macari O'Looney