Last Thursday, Scottish born John Martyn treated his Galway following to an evening of his songs in Setanta. There was a packed house to hear this enigmatic singer/songwriter perform his sometimes strange but always soulful music.
With requests for songs being hurled from the floor throughout the course of the gig. It is a tribute to Martyn's talent that he has written more great songs than can be played in one evening. With songs like Sweet Little Mystery and Couldn't Love You More, from his Grace And Danger album, through to heavier rock tunes like John Wayne and the quirky Smiling Stranger (dedicated to Jehovah's Witnesses), right up to the final encore May You Never from [the] Solid Air album, Martyn more than succeeded in satisfying everybody while displaying the full spectrum of his range. At one point he gave an impromptu standup comedy routine while his guitar was being re-tuned, delivering a couple of funny stories with great panache, to the delight of the audience.
Unfortunately the gig was somewhat hampered by recurring sound problems, with Martyn at one point lashing out verbally at the Sound Man, apologising moments later for his outburst by explaining how he hated feedback. This little scene elicited a cheer from a small section of the audience. It is a pity though to see an artist of this calibre less than adequately catered for technically and forced to break artistic stride during a performance as a result. But for all that it was a very entertaining evening of quality music, leaving the audience very satisfied. And for those who retired to the Reggae Room in The Castle afterwards their night was pleasantly capped when John Martyn ambled in later to join in the skanking.
Some faulty song titles have been corrected. This review was placed in the Galway Advertiser of Thursday 26 March 1992. 'Last Thursday' refers to a concert date 19 March, however two weeks earlier the weekly published a very short announcement for 'next Wednesday', probably incorrect.