Bush Hall, London
May 12, 2013
“BRING 20 friends next time,” jokes Kieran Goss, as he wraps up a debut London headline show that has been a long-time coming.
This gig – in Shepherd’s Bush – is one he’ll probably remember for the wrong reasons. There are maybe 50 people in attendance – counting staff. For one of the most popular recording artists in Ireland, and a renowned songwriter who’s recorded with, and had songs covered by, the likes of Mary Black, Christy Moore and Frances Black, it hardly seems fair.
However, it clearly won’t get the pint-sized singer down tonight.
On arrival at the dance hall-turned-indie music venue, with chandeliers hanging from the swanky room, Goss could be found chatting away cheerfully to the audience, working the room across candle-lit tables.
His amiable role as host is matched by the quality of his two-hour solo show.
His rich, full voice opens with the reflective One Boy’s Treasure, the opener on his album I’ll Be Seeing You. This, followed by The Reason Why, sets the warm tone for the evening.
Throughout, Goss manages to strike a fine balance between songs which evoke the emotions whilst avoiding sentimentality. Something which is reflected perfectly through the emigration song, Reasons To Leave (Heaven On Earth).
In between songs, the Nerwy-born musician charms the audience with a range stories – from his large family from County Down, to his wife Annie, to tales from growing up in his hometown and life on the road. Time and time again, he manages to keep a fine balance between humour, sadness and optimism in equal parts.
Goss even attempts two sing-a-longs with the dwindled crowd, during a cover of American Tom Paxton’s cover The Last Thing On My Mind and in the Motown classic Reach Out (I’ll be There).
Out Of My Head, his biggest hit, is preceded by a meandering tale about his first single. The singer says it was second in the Irish charts, only trumped by the untimely release of Celine Dion’s hit My Heart Will Go On.
To close the show, Goss fakes an exit from stage before his encore finishes on the slow and thoughtful title track I’ll Be Seeing You, as most of the 50-odd here hope that more people will be seeing him on the rest of his British tour dates.