Magical Mark Geary delivers a corker in Ireland
The Garda surmised that they "Focked your bags in the river like, the dirty bastards," and that was that. That's how the night ended at least, getting mugged at 4 a.m at the bus station in the city of Cork, Ireland. But why weren't our spirits dampened by this? ...because we'd bared witness to a triumph of a gig earlier on at the Cyprus Avenue, that's why.
At the venue Kelley McRae played a stunning set to a quiet but wowed audience; when she descended from the stage there was a grand ripple of applause from the appreciative crowd and a feeling of it being a shame she didn't play a few more...
But then Mark Geary came on. He stood alone onstage, just him and his guitar with it's strap slung over his shoulder, he fastened a capo, gave us a welcome and launched into his first number. The timbre of the strings resonated within the ears of the audience members euphonically and his voice lifted the spirits in the place almost to the point where you could see a translucent aura rising and distorting the patterns of the air.
He reeled off a few funny little stories between songs, about his coffee-shop open-mic days, playing to weird crowds in the South of America and he made a special dedication for his last song to Timothy Horton, after mistaking a Canadian lady for an American embarrassingly, the song was 'America'.
On numbers like 'Adam and Eve' and 'Mid-nite Sun' a passion's displayed that you rarely see in this day and age, Geary gets into it, he ends his lines with whoo's and yeah's, he nods his head, strums his strings with a double-time motif every now and then, and even incorporates little hip-swaying dances, looking like a handsome and debonair gentleman of music all the while.
The whole crowd joins in on classics like 'Suzanne' and 'It Beats me', 'Volunteer' is charming and 'A Prayer For St. Rita' is beautiful, he starts slipping a few cheeky snippets of current hits into his numbers, a bit of Kanye West's 'Golddigger', a bit of Ray LaMontagne's 'Jolene', and before long everyone is totally immersed in this man's stage presence.
He gets Kelley back onstage for one or two songs and their voices work perfectly together, he plays a cover of Kathleen Edwards' 'Away', which is stunning. He starts to mess around with looping solos over his acoustic rhythms which leads to a funny sounding conglomerate of notes, yet culminates in a blend of music that's quite sublime, he's great and receives a well-deserved standing ovation after his exeunt.
The crowd is left fairly breathless, people mingle with Mark and thank and congratulate him, a few more drinks are acquired, the party of people moves to downstairs where the night continues on until closing time and then they leave the building and look around for somewhere to stay. We take a bench at a bus station, two of our bags are stolen and thrown in the river, we're out on our ears, but that's fine, because they're still filled with the music of Mark Geary.