No doubt Leaf on Bold Street will host many important night in the years to come, the space above the busy tea drinking den lends itself superbly to the music that has been performed there since it opened. However, the launch of Liverpool musician Alan O’ Hare and string virtuoso, Laura McKinlay’s latest project, the magnificent Only Child and their eponymous debut E.P. will take some beating.
Surrounding themselves with a plethora of musicians of different styles saw Alan O’ Hare and Laura McKinlay play 45 minutes of absolute cracking music from the E.P. and a couple of personal favourites. For anyone, which pretty much everyone, who has missed Alan on the Liverpool music scene since the dissolution of The Trestles and who hasn’t caught any of his quick turns at the Ian Prowse Monday night club at the Cavern Pub, these songs will sound adventurous and soul baring. Live, they sound outstanding, a testament to the desire of both main musicians and those on stage with them on the night to showcase fantastic Celtic music fused with the determination of a man to bare his life and thoughts for all.
Opening the night with Green Eyes Singing, the band took the audience on a journey that was a mixture of poetic symbolism, (Second Chance) and its Roger McGough sounding lyrics through to the thoughts of saying goodbye to someone you love. The set list was awash with great tracks and Alan was on inspiring form that captured him at his very best since The Trestles went their separate ways.
Much must be said of his main partner in the band, the excellent violin player Laura McKinlay. Not since Alan performed alongside Tom Carroll has he looked so happy to be on stage and performing his heart out. Laura’s playing is quite superb and she joins a legion of violin players plus a cellist, who can honestly be hailed as rather brilliant. Even though Laura remains shy in front of the audience, it is easy to see her enjoyment and the respect she has for the crowd taking in her well-crafted notes.
An excellent night of music in Leaf, made possible by the welcome return of Alan O’ Hare and Only Child.
Ian D. Hall