BY PETER MCGORAN
With the release of her debut EP ‘Dancing Down Ravenhill’ cementing years of work and showcasing her extraordinary versatility as a singer, Morgan MacIntyre is slowly but surely emerging as one of Belfast’s most promising artists. Her EP launch in the wonderfully ornate Music Hall at the Empire brings together a growing local fan base who crowd with anticipation to hear what was certainly one of her crowning performances.
Preceded by Ryan Annett and Little Rivers – two accomplished musicians who both share a flavour for extravagant guitar-playing – the tone is set for the star of the evening to take centre stage. And Morgan seems on top form as she stands before the mic, bolstered by a formidably large backing band. She thanks us for coming and leads straight into ‘Mexico’ – one of her most well known and lyrically colourful songs.
It’s clear from the beginning that all her efforts are paying off; she doesn’t miss a single note and her vocals sore as high as the ceilings. Compelling, original and intoxicating, she has the audience hushed as she lists off a long and incredibly varied repertoire of songs. Whether it’s earnestly singing about late-night drunken calls, youthful relationships or wistful love songs, the lilting rhythms of her voice – combined with a distinctly
local twang – make her seem like Belfast’s answer to Joni Mitchell.
Morgan glows at her audience and her band after each song, savouring the moment (as she rightly deserves to). She even allows herself room to do an unusual cover of The Proclaimer’s “500 miles”. Opting for a toned down version of the song, things seem initially discordant until the beat kicks in and the audience are roused to clap and stomp along. This paves the way for the closing act of the concert and leads us on a journey back to an exuberant youth with the eponymous first track of the EP, ‘Dancing Down Ravenhill.’ And it’s fair to say in no uncertain terms that this is the highlight of the night. Combining lyrical poise and terrific harmonises with her backing vocalist, it proves to be a captivating finish (just ask the audience who take to their feet in ovation). Restless for more, we continue clapping until the band return to the stage and do a brief encore.
Too brief, it would seem. And that is the only criticism I can level at this talented singer – her performance was truly exceptional and left me with an insatiable appetite for more. This EP being is merely a taste of what hopes to be a promising career, we can only wait expectantly for Morgan’s debut album.
Find the ‘Dancing Down Ravenhill’ EP on Bandcamp: http://morganmacintyre.bandcamp.com/releases
Morgan MacIntyre – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgan-MacIntyre-Music/110021302370627