Janet Devlin – The Cluny Review

Irish songbird Janet Devlin filled The Cluny 2 with her unique, warming voice on Sunday 27th November in front of an intimate, yet full, room.

Devlin’s My Opium Tour started on 23rd November in the Old Fire Station in Carlisle and continues right into the depths of December, finishing in her hometown of Omagh. She’s enjoyed a successful few months with the release of the catchy, ukulele infused ‘Outernet Song’ and the Christmas EP Little Lights. The singer, who is a self-confessed introvert, nonetheless gives a confident performance. She has her own sound, is comfortable being an independent artist and thrives on the control she has over what she records and puts out into the public.

“The singer, who is a self-confessed introvert, nonetheless gives a confident performance”

That is exactly what Janet Devlin deserves credit for – the artist she is now. It is rare to read a gig or album review that doesn’t brand her as a ‘former X-Factor contestant’ in the opening paragraph. When she first auditioned she was a mere 16 years old and wowed the nation with her darling cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. She did perform this during her set but was hesitant in doing so, introducing it as “that song from that TV show one time”. Devlin progressed far through the competition, finishing in fifth place, but since then has become her own artist who deserves recognition for the unique sound she has honed in the past four years.

The set opened with ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’, a haunting track which really showcased the emotion Devlin can convey in her performance. The audience immediately were at ease and ready to be filled by the songstress’ voice. A cover of ‘Whiskey Lullabies’ followed, which included a verse in Gaelic, and the singer drew the audience in effortlessly. Another covers was “all time favourite band” Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ ‘Dani California’, before which she confessed that she can’t do a tour without covering one of their tracks. Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ came later on in the evening and she managed to get the whole crowd joining in a hushed chant of the infamous chorus.

“Janet Devlin is still the quiet, timid performer that she was when the nation first fell in love with her on The X Factor”

The highlight of the night was another cover, this time of The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m In Love’ which has clocked over six million plays on Spotify. It’s no surprise really. It is a fantastic cover, Devlin makes it her own song and the crowd swayed in their seats to the gentle plucking of the guitar.

Other standout moments of the evening included performances of a couple of unreleased tracks from the film Songbird, out next year, which Devlin stars in. The two tracks she did perform from Little Lights were ‘Christmas Kiss’ and ‘Wake Up It’s Christmas’ which charmed the room with the calm, festive feelings that she has perfected on the EP.

The night closed with a pitch perfect performance of ‘Hallelujah’ which matched her vocals perfectly. Janet Devlin is still the quiet, timid performer that she was when the nation first fell in love with her on The X Factor. However, what she has developed now is herself as an artist. Devlin won’t be selling out stadiums anytime soon but she isn’t aspiring to do that anyway. She does what she does perfectly and is a pleasure to watch.

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