Luke Sital-Singh plays Oran Mor last night – gig review

Given the almost universal praise Luke Sital-Singh has gained from the critics, it’s hard to understand why the critical acclaim hasn’t quite translated into popular acclaim.

His music is certainly accessible and is an easy listen. Having said that, the majority of his tracks aren’t as basic as someone like Passenger for example; and they show a depth of influences- Jeff Buckley and Sigur Ros hitting your ears at certain points.

Gigs at Oran Mor are always that bit more special when the music suits the venue. When there is a gentle spirit and a bareness to the music the cold, stony walls give the songs sanctuary and hold the crowd in with the same comfort. Sital-Singh’s work certainly fits the venue.

With most artists, the power in their performances comes from an increase in speed and decibels; with Sital-Singh, he’s at his best when he strips it and slows it down. This is where you are able to breathe in and wallow in Buckley-esque chords. A highlight (for lack of a better phrase) was Dark; and it was the best example of the self-assured mellow sound being allowed to permeate and settle.

One song which possibly did miss the backing of a band was Still. It was a perfectly nice acoustic song on the night but the subtle production on the studio version makes it a lot more than just ‘nice’.

What could have elevated it would have been the use of his gorgeous 12 string Epiphone(?) which didn’t make an appearance until the final two songs. Although 12 string guitars can be seen as a bit of a shortcut to a fuller sound by the same people who criticise the use of more than a couple of pedals, his entire set could have been played on it and would have received nothing but praise.

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Sital-Singh’s accessibility is what makes it likely that he will break into that next level of popularity where he will share a space with past collaborator Gabrielle Aplin and others who woo their way around folk festivals and secret gig type venues.

Review by Luke Hawkins