Malojian with support from Hannah McPhillimy
Saturday 23rd November 2013 – The Barge, Belfast (Real Music Club)
A barge floating in the river Lagan might seem like a bit of a strange place to launch your debut album but somehow it works. For some the reference to Jaws may have been unnerving but the intimate and cosy venue is perfect for the chilled out evening of local music.
Tonight’s warm up act, Hannah McPhillimy has been on our radar for a long time with her debut EP, Seeing Things racking up a lot of air play in Chordblossom HQ. With only bass player Tom for accompaniment her alluring vocals wash over the evenings attentive and appreciative crowd. As well as being impressively adept at piano, Hannah also treats us to the charms of her ukulele. Despite her claims that “it’s always out of tune” both ‘Kindness’ and ‘Homecoming’ sound sumptuous. Back in September 2012 when I first caught her live she seemed extremely nervous but now those nerves have gone and we can see a young, confident singer songwriter. There is a jazzy texture to her material and those with a fondness towards Katie Melua should give her a whirl. We can’t wait to see what she does next especially with new song ‘Merciful’ sounding so delightful.
Malojian is essentially Steven Scullion and a talented band featuring Michael Mormeecha (Mojo Fury) and Joe McGurgan (Seven Summits). Tonight is the official launch of his album, The Deer’s Cry which had been about for a while but Steven held off releasing until a label came along. Thankfully the album has now made it out into the wild and we can enjoy the exceptionally well crafted songs come to life. ‘Watch the Rain’ and ‘Often Wonder’ set the tone for a pleasant evening of alt-country/folk that re-invigorates the soul. What is perhaps so enthralling about Steven is his ability to write songs about the mundane (‘Bathtub Blues’, ‘Tea Time Song’) and make them interesting. Particularly amusing is the anecdote about ‘Communion Girls’ involving mass, guns and kung-fu. Although I’ll not spoil it for any of you incase you see him live in the near future.
Such is the demand for more than one song for the encore that it rapidly increases to three and still there are calls for more. Thankfully Malojian have enough songs to play for hours with a second album apparently completed and a third one being written (although sadly we won’t be hearing them any time soon). Despite not being able to satisfy the demand for a ten song encore, ‘Julie Ann’ and ‘Calling Borneo’ as well as an old Cat Malojian song prove to be a satisfying end to an evening of fine music and banter.