Belfast Telegraph

Friday 30 January 2015

Review: Steve Earle, Mandela Hall, Belfast

Real music from a real musician is a real treat

While most of the city were falling over themselves on Saturday night to catch a glimpse of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, fans of more sophisticated sounds were at the Mandela Hall.

The aptly named Real Music Club played host to veteran roots musician Steve Earle, and a full house had turned out to escape MTV fever.

American Earle, whose gruff voice sounds more lived-in than ever, delivered three hours of country, blues and Americana.

Much of the set was culled from his latest album I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, including the brooding Molly-O, about a 19th-century serial killer.

But the 56-year-old lightened the mood with wry humour.

Before City Of Immigrants, Earle announced a “musicology lesson — just in case some of the folk from the Bieber show got in here”. The man-mountain spoke about the bouzouki he was playing and how it’s best not to call it that when going through airport security — “especially in my country, if you’re me”.

Earle’s strident political views were present and correct, with a banner on stage reading ‘We are the 99%’.

Meanwhile, renditions of Copperhead Road and The Galway Girl kept casual fans happy.

This inspired, affecting performance was a superb two-fingers-up to the pop circus unfolding across town.


COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


A cherished dream is elusive. It will be best to change gear, at least for the immediate future. Pursue a moneymaking opportunity with creative appeal. Getting paid to exercise your imagination will lift your spirits. By the time you finish this assignment, you may be in better condition to pursue your primary goal. A brilliant idea for operating on a shoestring budget will come. At that point, nothing will stand between you and success. Stay calm and take things one step at a time.More