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Fionn Regan is mid way through a national tour of churches and having played Union Chapel in London and St Barnabus’ in Oxford you would have to assume that he would have been disappointed to find himself at the Trinity Centre.

The former church has been converted with little care or attention to detail, and the plastic table cloths and disco lights make it seem more like a town hall than a former place of worship. However Regan’s mix of quaint tales and charming Irish tones more than made up for the venue and made for a fantastic gig.

His set was supported by the acoustic folk jingles of Louise and the Pins who were capable and friendly enough – special mention goes to their cover of ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ by the clash which was an unexpected little treat.

Fionn Regan has been steadily developing a devoted following since his Mercury nominated debut The End of History(2006) which was a simple, quiet and beautiful 13 track album which he produced himself. In the Shadow of an Empire(2010) showcased his livelier electric side with huge doses of Dylan, and this year’s 100 Acres of Sycamore is a much more stringed affair so it was quite a surprise to see him performing alone.

However equipped with four guitars and a mic, Fionn burst out the traps with the title song from his latest album which demonstrated his unquestionable skill as a guitarist. He followed this with the engrossing Sow Mare Bitch Vixen and continued in this vein for the rest of the show. He played a good range of songs, with the emphasis understandably on the most recent album but he still found time for a couple of the old classics, namely Put a Penny in the Slot and Be Good or Be Gone from his debut album.

Performing solo meant that some of the livelier songs like Violent Demeanour lost a bit of their impact but a band would have been unnecessary for most of the gig and Fionn is certainly enjoyable enough on his own. His shyness and timidity make him all the more appealing and songs like 1st Day of May and North Star Lover felt incredibly intimate, and made for a quietly engrossing evening.

Words: Max Boon
Photo: Laura Williams