Beth McCarthy at Fibbers

On Friday, local legend Beth McCarthy headlined Fibbers to launch her EP Wildfire, backed by a full band for the occasion. Joining her on the night were Annie Donaghy, Antonio Lulic and The Dunwells.

Review and Photos by Martin Frank

Confidently opening the night with her own songs Annie Donaghy, full of smiles engaged the crowd offering a glimpse of a star in the making and finishing her set with a great cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

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Antonio Lulic then burst onto stage with a performance that commanded the crowd easily with his own brand of powerfully passionate songs. Having played all over the world his confidence shows as he wields his guitar with the strength of a warrior giving us a jaw dropping set brimming with energy and enthusiasm.

The Dunwells followed showing us just how good two guys with guitars can truly be. I was astounded by their sound and why I’ve never heard of them before. They harmonise producing tunes with melodies as clever as the Finn Brothers and find it frustrating that they’ve not cracked the big time. Their song writing and performance is second to none, they are on I-tunes and well worth a listen or three.

Amid a cloud of dry-ice the tempo changed, Beth, York’s own singer song-writer who has been performing her own songs as a busker, on the BBC’s The Voice and around long enough to be almost a fixture has a new look and a whole new set of songs. This unassuming young lady came onto the stage standing taller than her twenty-one years and we witnessed the arrival of a new Pop Diva.

With a new band behind her, Beth filled the room with her new sound, strutting the stage in a white casual suit, big heels and a black boob tube she sings her new songs about love to a sexy, emotive R & B vibe. This wasn’t the old Beth we were used to but a Beth new all grown up. It’s obvious that performance is her oxygen and that she loves to share her songs with an audience, this is who she is but unlike many artificial, one-hit-wonder’s Beth has worked at this for years. She’s learnt her craft the hard way and taken the long way around, but it’s been worth it because the finished product is fabulous. Her lyrics are perfect with lines like, “Don’t blame me for my decision to choose me, because you didn’t.”These are songs from the heart, and she shares the story of each before she starts.

This is very personal showing her as the girl next-door, but this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand she wants to explain why she’s written a song so that her audience understands but too long a description and the audience loses the momentum. A simple, “I wrote this with a broken heart…” would do and would help keep the magic of her stardom. If the explanation of the song is longer than the song itself then it’s too long.

There is no doubt about the new Beth McCarthy, she’s a bright star, and this first performance with her new band made the night special to all those privileged enough to be there.  This new direction suits her, and it didn’t take much for me to close my eyes and imagine her on stage headlining a stadium full of fans. We love the new Beth and want her to burn us with more tracks like “Wildfire.”

Annie Donaghy, Antonio Lulic, The Dunwells and Beth McCarthy played at Fibbers on Friday 8 March 2019.