Sunday 17th February 2019

Another hugely successful and enjoyable night for Anthony Toner in the Lyric. He is on a roll.

Mr Toner is a man of many talents and is currently available in a number of formats. Sometimes playing two handed alongside the poet Frank Ormsby, then switching to strutting a mean slide guitar with the Ronnie Greer Band.

Tonight sees him in what might be regarded as his central role, that is showcasing his ever growing talents as a singer songwriter. To be more precise launching his latest album ‘Our Lady of the Wind and Rain’.

As with his previous show in this venue, two years ago, it is a packed house that awaits the performer. The line-up is well crafted and paced, between Anthony solo, with band interspersed with special guest the performance Poet Tony Walsh. ‘Apology’ a song from the new album gets the ball rolling, followed by the extremely clever wordplay of ‘Alphabet’.

Anthony is in fine voice. John McCullough on piano and Hammond, Clive Culbertson bass (and possibly one of the biggest bass amps to appear on the theatre stage), and Matt Weir on drums make up the band. These are the core personnel on the new work and they seem relaxed and comfortable playing together. In a departure from the past, Anthony plays quite a lot of electric guitar. There are predictable humorous cries of ‘Judas’ from the cheap seats.

Tony Walsh entered stage right to preform four of his pieces. He has strong Irish connections is an interesting contrast to the music. Anthony and band return to finish the first half with two songs most notably a new one ‘Lost at Sea’ featuring a rocking organ solo from John McCullough. The second half followed the same format interspersing solo, band and guest.

The new material is really strong, clearly benefiting from the various contributions of the band. ‘Down Among the Chinless Wonders’ and ‘A Wheel and an Open Road’ (co-written with Matt McGinn) are ones to look out for. And, yes ‘Sailortown’ was beautifully delivered. A standing ovation, two song encore, ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and a roaring blues cover, left the audience very happy. Toner is a fine talent who works very hard at his craft and deserves to be lauded in the top rank of creators and performers. Well worth checking out the new album.

Anthony’s tour continues throughout March with shows the following venues:

1st March – Armagh: Marketplace Theatre

2nd March – Lisburn: Island Arts Centre

8th March – Downpatrick: Down Arts Centre

29th March – Newtownabbey: Courtyard Theatre