Live Zone

Dea Matrona, Arts Club Loft, Liverpool, 3rd May 2024




Friday the third of May 2024 is a massive date in the diary of Irish band Dea Matrona – fronted by the Belfast duo of school friends Orláith Forsythe and Mollie McGinn – for three reasons: It’s the first night of the band’s 15-date tour – all dates can be seen at the bottom of the page – AND this is their very first UK and Ireland headline tour AND it’s the release day of their debut album “For Your Sins”.

Liverpool Arts Club is the opening night for Orláith and Mollie, who honed their skills busking on the streets of their home city from 2017, before forming their band a year later. [The band’s name Dea Matrona comes from Celtic mythology and translates as “Divine Mother Goddess”.]


They now have a very decent fanbase after notching up circa half a million on-line followers and attracting more than eight million YouTube views. On the much anticipated debut album, “For Your Sins” – all dozen songs are penned by the pair, who also recorded and produced the project themselves.

The circa 350 fans present for this gig were treated to all but one of the album’s tracks in the 16-song setlist, which delivered three covers and some previously released original EP songs and some of their 10 singles.

A wide age range and fairly even ratio of male and females of those in the loft room – which is above a much larger theatre style venue – to catch Dea Matrona, whose core duo first shot to widespread attention in 2020 via Tik Tok, starting with a cover of an early – Peter Green-era – Fleetwood Mac song “Oh Well”.

That super cover came nine songs in to the set in Liverpool to loud cheers. Many of this audience not even born when it was a hit for Fleetwood Mac in 1969 [me included!]


They also covered Prince’s “Kiss” [also a hit for Sir Tom Jones with The Art Of Noise] and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder On The Dancefloor” – which was written as ‘MOTD’ on the setlist sheets that each of the four-piece band and the sound/lighting crew worked to, and which I expressed surprise at; when I mistook it for an abbreviation of the BBC TV sport’s show Match Of The Day’s theme tune!

  • Factoid: The duo notched up more than five-and-a-half million views on Tik Tok of their cover of “Murder On The Dancefloor”. 

The band [including their drummer and guitarist] had already performed an acoustic set that lunchtime at local venue Jacaranda, as promotion for their new album, but their energy levels were unwavering in this excellent set, which they kicked off with four songs from “For Your Sins” – “Stamp On it”, “Get My Mind Off”, the record’s opener “Stuck On You” and the bluesy “Did Nobody Ever Love You”. The only song they left out of the set from the album was track # nine: “Won’t Feel Like This”.

A real high spot probably for most fans on this tour was and will be, their beautiful version of “Glory, Glory (I Am Free)”, from the album and also on their self-titled 2022 EP.  The other two band members leave the stage and the two women ask the audience to light up the room with lighters, mobiles and vapes – Orláith  and Mollie playing acoustic and electric guitar and their voices sounding sublime.


They spoke of their recent trip to Texas for SXSW [South By Southwest] and donned blue “cowboy” hats for the country-rock styled song “Sell Your Soul”, which saw the return of the other two musicians to the stage.

Mollie and Orláith share lead vocal duties and harmonies, and they swap instruments [guitar and bass] during the show, as they used to in their younger busking days – when the bass guitar got too heavy for either one of them to hold for an entire busking session!

They featured just one song [“Nobody’s Child”] from their four-track 2019 EP, “Away From The Tide”, and four of the five cuts from their 2022 self-titled EP.

Their final song of the main set, “Red Button” is track three on the debut LP, and after a brief exit to shouts and screams for more, they came back on stage to offer up just one more song; the encore track “Make You My Star” – a single back in 2021 which claimed top spot on the UK and Ireland iTunes rock charts, after their live TV performance of the self-penned song on Ireland’s The Late Late Show.

Their songs maybe a tad punchier and bigger live compared to their recordings, but they are clearly destined for much bigger venues and hit records in the future, based on the debut album and this superb performance in Liverpool.


Yorkshire-born, London-based indie singer and songwriter Fiona Lee was the support act, recently signed to EMI/Gravity records, and despite some issues with the sound, performed an excellent “one woman and a guitar” short set of heartfelt original work, including her new single “Mother”, which has attracted airplay on BBC 6Music.

Fiona Lee

Overall, it was a VERY good night out which showcased strong and very talented female artists, their star very much still on the ascent, with a very rosy future [No aploogy for the use of four deserved verys!]

The gig was a golden chance for me and circa 349 others to experience Dea Matrona, aka Mollie and Orláith, and the excellent Fiona Lee, in a fairly intimate setting and on the first night of an important tour, before both acts surely graduate to much bigger, sold out venues as the word spreads.


Live photos: Romy Caton-Jones  * Not posed shot top of page *

Words: Emma Ledwell





    Fri 3rd May – Liverpool, Arts Club Loft
    Sat 4th May – Leeds, Wardrobe
    Mon 6th May – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
    Tues 7th May – Brighton, Hope & Ruin
    Weds 8th May – Bristol, Exchange
    Fri 10th May – London, The Lower Third
    Sat 11th May – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
    Sun 12th May – Southampton, Joiners
    Tues 14th May – Manchester, Night & Day
    Weds 15th May – Newcastle, Cluny
    Thurs 16th May – Glasgow, The Cathouse
    Sat 18th May – Cork, Cyprus Avenue
    Sun 19th May – Galway, Róisín Dubh
    Mon 20th May – Dublin, Workman’s Club
    Weds 22nd May – Belfast, Limelight 2




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