Photo by Aaron Nestor

Back in early May, Raheny singer/songwriter Graham Mitchell played a headline show in the upstairs venue in Whelan’s to coincide with the release of his new single Fantasy Breakup, it was a night to remember and there was a sense that there was much more still to come from the performer. Earlier this week, Mitchell returned to the stage again, this time in Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay in Dublin for another headline show, in conjunction with We-Bloom Sessions.

Starting off the show with a solo performance, Mitchell was soon joined by his backing band for the night comprising of Amy Naessens (keys and backing vocals), Orlaith Ní Bhriain (backing vocals), Evin O’Connor (guitar), Matte Viandante (drums), and Tadhg Maw (bass). Throughout the show we were shown a demonstration of the quality of songwriter that Mitchell is with songs like Stranger ThingsMaybe You Can Call Me Sometime, and You’ve Disappeared offering variation to the set as well as showing off the incredible musicianship on show. Much like the show in Whelan’s, it was impossible not to get drawn in by the atmosphere that Mitchell is able to generate during his shows, an atmosphere of warmth and community that makes everyone in attendance feel as though they are part of the show rather than just watching. It is one of the most prominent things that you end up taking away from shows by the Raheny man, and it is something that can’t be artificially created. You either have the skill for it or you do not.

This will be remembered as one of the best gigs I was lucky enough to attend this year. There is something so infectious about watching Graham Mitchell perform in a live setting, it’s impossible not to get the sense that he is enjoying every second on the stage and it can’t help but rub off on the crowd in attendance. There is an effortless charisma on stage as well, and the links between songs are often filled with jokes or crowd interaction that seems effortless and genuine.

As always when writing a piece like this is it important to pay tribute to the support acts who are always so integral to setting the scene for the show that was to come. First up was another artist who is a regular feature at The Zodiac Sessions, Shane Hourihane treated the crowd to an excellent half an hour set that showed off his vocal ability and skill for songwriting.

Next up was folk singer/songwriter, Kieran Mulvihillwhose brand of storytelling through intricate songwriting offered an interesting contrast to the other musical styles if the night.

Another amazing night of live music by Graham Mitchell that will have left everyone who had the pleasure of attending extremely satisfied. Again, much like after Whelan’s, it’s hard not to think that we are at the beginning of a career that could achieve so much. Definitely something to look forward to in the coming years.

Good man, Milky…

MK