David J Roch, Neil McSweeney, Lucy Farrell and Jonny Kearney: Lantern Theatre, Sheffied

A damp autumnal night brought the return of duo Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell to the comforting and intimate Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge.
Last minute addition to the lineup David J Roch has moved on substantially in the last few years, releasing albums, high profile support tours and becoming a staple of the London folk scene. Managing to haunt the venue with his powerful vocals, a deserved and hearty round of applause is passed on from the expectant crowd.

Tonight’s organiser Neil McSweeney takes over the guitar from David announcing ‘he’s pretty but he can’t tune for shit’. On a night of dark yet delicate music this was the first of many jokes through the evening.

One word I hate to use to describe Neil is reliable; it gives the impression that he’s just there to fill time. He’s not, and it always surprises me that he can adapt to so many varied situations. Being an honest songwriter rarely gets the credit it deserves but as Neil says “If I could say this stuff in coherent sentences I wouldn’t need to write the songs”.

Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell, sold out this venue within days after supporting tonight’s host Neil a few months ago.  The pretty young things politely direct the crowd to the last remaining seats as the show begins and the room fell deadly silent as Lucy began plucking on her violinLiving up to their billing “There’s a Disease” brings the tone down with serious lyrics but it’s quaint simple tune make it pleasant listening. Humourous banter between the couple about the tour so far, the theatre and Jonny’s medical history lightened the mood further. So when Jonny used a piece of paper to dull the sound of the acoustic guitar to give a children’s music box feel to a song, it was taken with a pinch of salt.It’s not very often in music that 2 + 2 = 5, on this occasion though; the relaxed tones of Jonny and Lucy’s delicate voice create more than their individual parts. Their simple but effective set brings a warm glow to the Lantern and I’m sure it won’t be long before Sheffield welcomes them back with open arms.

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