Ryan McMullan likes being a musician more than anything. He's not a household name - yet - but it's clear he plays for the joy of it all. Whether he ends up playing the pub circuit in Belfast for the rest of his life, or headlining on a world tour, he's always going to be this cheeky Irishman muso to the crowds who'e enjoyed him in Newcastle.
On a cold winter night, he journeyed up the highway from Sydney, in between shows as the fill-in keyboard player for Snow Patrol who played the Sydney Opera House on Sunday and the Enmore Theatre on Tuesday, to headline an intimate show at Newcastle's cosiest music venue.
He was frank and fun in his exchanges with the crowd - the floor was full, if not the balcony - talking about his inability to shake off jetlag on the tour, the notion that every Snow Patrol song could end with the line "so kiss me", and his fondness for this venue.
The message from his chemistry: I'm safe and sound here, I'm among friends, I can be myself.
Alternating between acoustic guitar and keyboards, at one point mid-show while chatting to the audience he admitted he was strumming for no reason ("I'm just playing chords with no song, cause I'm an arsehole," he joked). He took on the challenge of playing a song request for Listen, an early blues piece he wrote, and, after a raucous beginning, stopped playing and apologised for not remembering the lyrics.
As a whole, it was a great show, as he played a string of songs, which show an incredible talent for writing love songs - love lost, love won, love just for fun. Among them: Jenny and Johnny, Ghosts, You Don't Dance, Hello Darlin, A Winter's Coat, Oh Susannah.
And despite the rigours of touring - he's also been opening the Snow Patrol shows as well as playing in the band - his powerful voice is in tact (Exhibit A: Oh Susannah, which he sings practically a capella).
The covers he threw in blended seamlessly, both an indication of his eye for a great song, and his ability to write music as good as anybody. He played Missing You (John Waite), You're All I Have (Snow Patrol), Black Is The Colour and Lakes of Ponchartrain.