There’s something about live music that captures an artist’s essence in a way that an album recorded in a studio can’t. In a fleeting moment of connection between an audience, the artist and the hardworking crew, the music feels even more honest in its instantaneous form. Mick Flannery’s Alive, recorded during a live set from the Cork Opera House in 2019, breathes new life into his already powerful moment, serving as a testament to live music that feels more welcome than ever as the live industry is put on pause.
Each track, while ringing true to its original sound, feels reworked in the setting. Opener ‘Wasteland’, one of Flannery’s most poignant tracks from last year’s self-titled, takes on a more powerful rock sound than ever before, culminating in a guitar solo that feels as if it could shake the entire room. ‘Star to Star’, another stand-out from Mick Flannery, once again becomes more powerful than ever with a full backing bang on stage, the addition of saxophone becoming truly chill-inducing. Not every track becomes a full-blown rock track, but even slower songs like ‘I’ll Be out Here’ feel more layered and complete than ever before, strong emotion clearly taking over Flannery’s powerful voice.
‘Christy Skulls Hits’ is something new that can only be captured in a live setting, a combination of comedic interludes and impromptu stand-up. Flannery’s personality shines through in these spontaneous moments, supported by roaring laughter from an intensely attentive group. While the powerful live versions of already-released songs are incredible on their own, moments such as these make Alive feel truly special.
Alive is not only an example of the immense talent of Flannery as a songwriter, rather one of the impact of touring as a full band. With all proceeds evenly split among the band and engineers, it’s an amazing dedication to the spontaneity and energy of playing a sold-out hometown show. The best way to take it all in is by closing your eyes, blasting the album, and picturing yourself in your favourite venue, surrounded by like-minded people and one of the hardest-working touring artists in Ireland.
By: Ingrid Anglo