Photo by Zyanya Lorenzo
It’s always an exciting time when an artist gets the opportunity to upsize venue when planning their live shows. Even small increases can be viewed as progression and a sense that a career is going in the right direction. Back in April 2018, Cork singer/songwriter Dan Elliott played a sold out show in the upstairs venue in the esteemed Dublin venue of Whelan’s, a trick he repeated earlier this year, before moving on to a bigger venue again to play a date in The Grand Social in July, and even then it felt as though he was ready for a bigger stage.
On 18 December 2019, he played his biggest headline show to date in the new Lost Lane venue on Grafton Street.
Since his last show in Whelan’s, things have started to move very quickly for Elliott with the release of two new singles, Maybe We and For You, and a number of big support slots with Longford band Brave Giant, including a sold out show in the Olympia Theatre. All have helped to continue to generate an audience and fan base behind the charismatic Cork man and this was shown in Lost Lane as an excellent crowd showed up to listen to a night of storytelling and excellently constructed songs.
For the show, Elliott had assembled an excellent backing band to help him for the show, comprised of Alan Kenna (guitar), Dylan Howe (keys), Rob Kennedy (percussion), and Cathal McKenna (bass), and it was clear that there was a strong understanding of how they wanted these songs to sound. It was also clear that they were thoroughly enjoying bringing them to life. This was another extremely accomplished display by Dan Elliott and there is a strong sense that with every show he is becoming more and more aware of the kind of live show that he wants to create. From opening the show in the middle of the crowd with just an acoustic guitar and backing vocals from Aaron Rowe, Graham Mitchell, Dylan Howe, and James O’Sullivan, through to a crowd participation performance of the Christmas classic, Fairytale of New York, there was so much to love during this show.
Elliott has been working very hard on new music this year and the quality of the new songs in his set are testament to this. Songs like I Only Miss You When I’m Breathing (this song is outrageous and really strikes a chord with me… #sadness) and The Ramble beautifully compliment the staples like Something To This Love, Things Weren’t Great, and Maybe We. The Ramble is a standout moment through the set as Elliott performs it on a solo piano, a stunning soliloquy about the difficulties that the Cork man has gone through this year and the challenges that come with trying to make it in music. It shows some of the best lyricism of his career to this point.
“I changed my name so I could be myself on stage”
Again on the night, Elliott was supported by his good friend and excellent songwriter Aaron Rowe. It was another fantastic performance by one of the best musicians on the Dublin music scene at the moment.
Despite the fact that the crowd was bigger and there was definitely more people here who were only familiar with a few of the songs by Elliott, there was still an intimate and warm atmosphere around this gig. So many of the songs were screamed back at the performer as he worked through his set and there was a sense that the career of the talented Corkman is continuing to grow.
It’s a grand ‘ol life when you live it right.