Call me Russ L

Up the Dubs

Posted in Music by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 10/4/5.

Well, this was always going to be good – three gigs in three nights, with three absolutely great headline artists. Damien Dempsey at the Bar Academy on the Tuesday, Angie Stone at The Academy on the Wednesday, and Beverly Knight at the Civic Hall on the Thursday.

The opener for Damien at the Bar was one Sam Huxley. I wasn’t keen, really. His voice was annoying, and he reminded me (in his manner, not his music) of someone. I can’t put my finger on precisely who, but it wasn’t good. Standard singer-songwriter-y acoustic songs (none of them standing out), bolstered for most of the set by another chap on (mostly) electric guitar and (for one or two) harmonica. His playing was actually on the interesting side, getting a bit shoegaze-y at times. Doesn’t bode well for young Sam when his inconspicuous accompanying sidekick is doing more interesting things than he is.

Siobhan Parr was the main support. She seemed very, very nervous when taking the stage, but warmed up a bit after a while. She’s a girl with one of those tiny quiet speaking voices that could suddenly knock planes out of the sky when she starts singing.

She needed it, though, doing battle as she was with the pleasant buzz of public house conversation. The absolute arseholes who pay to get into gigs then not only talk through the acts, but talk through the acts LOUDLY to spoil it for everyone else too… well, they did themselves proud that night. She performed with a lot of feeling nonetheless, and some of her lyrics struck me as quite interesting. Her last song was a Tim Buckley cover, and suddenly the whole room was enraptured. Funny that. Sometimes I think that some people don’t deserve the chance to hear new music.

I went and bought her album (which is quite good) alongside Damo’s “Shots” afterwards, and said thank you to her (it seemed the least that anyone could do to go a step towards making up for the shower of rude bastards about).

Damo, then. A man dripping with Dublin charm, he’s likeable as soon as you see him. His music, meanwhile, has everything you could want – emotion, intensity, massive party-ness…

His was the best live set I’ve seen so far this year, and I’ve seen some good stuff. Trying to pick highlights feels futile, since practically all of it was that great. The big singalong that we mustered for ‘Apple Of My Eye’ impressed Damien enough to extend the song to hear more of it; ‘Love Yourself’ featured an even bigger singalong prompted by the man himself; ‘Colony’ blew the roof off the place; ‘Patience’ was just lovely.
The bar has been set for this year, then.

I was going to write about the following two gigs here, too, but I’ll leave it for a little while. They’ll follow soon.

~ Russ L

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