What a difference a few years can make. Almost three years ago to the day Anna Mitchell launched her debut album in a small room upstairs at The Workman’s Club to a modest attendance. Fast forward three years and Mitchell and her band are launching a new album and selling out gigs on her mini-tour in support of this excellent newly released self-titled album.
Tonight’s well attended gig Upstairs in Whelan’s features two support acts, Harrisburg Pennsylvania indie folk singer Marie Danielle and the Cork based Patrick Freeman Band, who also feature on stage with Mitchell. Both perform really impressive sets before Mitchell and her four piece band – Brian Hassey on bass, Patrick Freeman and Alan Comerford on guitar and Fionn Hennessy Hayes on drums - take the stage. Mitchell is positioned centre stage behind her characteristic Nordpiano 2 keyboard. Kicking off her set with the closing track on the new album Come Home it's instantly noticeable how far she's progressed in those short few years since her debut album launch.
What is particularly impressive with Anna Mitchell Mark 2 is the mix of her trade mark ballads with more aggressive full on material and this evenings offers the perfect mix of both. Aided in no small measure by the strength of the material from her new album and by a super tight band, her self-assured stage presence combined with her honey sweet vocals wins the audience over from the word go. Never Learn, All These Things, Radio Waves, Get Out from the latest album all feature alongside Better Life, a song which particularly showcases her wonderful vocal range. The Sarah Siskind song Lovins For Fools – also from her current album -is one of four covers featured in the set alongside The Carpenter’s Superstar, Mary by Big Thief and the Jefferson Airplane classic White Rabbit. She revisits her debut album Down To The Bone by performing both What’s A Fool To Do and When My Ship Comes In but the biggest cheers of the evening follow her delivery of her latest single It Pours and the raucous/care free set closer Dog Track.
Mitchell always had the vocals and the talent, she's now got the songs, band, work ethic and most importantly the confidence that has seen her grow from a young lady with tremendous potential to the finished article. Get the album and get to see her live, it’s most unlikely she’ll be playing venues this size for much longer.
Review and photograph by Declan Culliton