Entries in Dublin (18)

Tuesday
Nov232010

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses - 20th November@ The Sugar Club, Dublin

The Sugar Club was not perhaps the best venue for Bingham  who seems to prefer the audience upfront and personal and Bingham got everyone on their feet at the show's end. Indeed, due to a 10:30 nightclub curfew, the audience  made no move to leave instead demanding the band return for an encore which they duly did. The encore really rocked with both Bingham and guitarist Corby Schaub playing electric bottleneck slide on a bluesy extended workout.

The show opened with Bingham playing solo with harmonica. The band then launched into Day Is Done with gusto and the gig took off. Front and centre was Bingham's aged gravelly voice, an amazing sound that belies his years. He acknowledged the audience with "How you guys doing? Alright?"before delivering a set that featured songs from all three of his Lost Highway albums which included "a songs for all the mothers out there" Tell My Mother I Miss Her So. Those expecting something akin to his Crazy Heart co-write may have been disorientated by the sheer energy and noise that this band makes. Key to this is drummer Matt Smith and bassist Elijah Ford, both of whom shonebut special mention must go to Smith who drove the band and the sound. Schaub played mandolin and a variety of guitars that blistered in raw intensity. As with many bands the live set is harder and more powerful that studio versions of the songs could ever be. Perhaps the most interesting section of the set was Bingham talkingof learning to play the guitar with Malaguena,  a mariachi inspired version that featured Schaub on mandolin. This largely instrumental number was full of atmosphere and ability and showed Bingham as a skilled guitarist too. Requests came flying from the audience with South Side of Heaven from his first album being a particular favourite. Hard Times from that album also featured. The song Strange Feeling In The Air was prefaced by Ryan's remark that there was a lot of discrimination in the world but that this songs says "fuck to all that". 

The set proper closed with a dynamic cover of Townes Van Zandt's Highway Kind which also featured opening act Australian singer/songwriter Liam Gerner on electric guitar. If that had been the closing it would have been a fitting tribute to a hero as well as a great song to end on. But then the audience, as mentioned stayed put and we got that encore. There's not doubt that all there were pleased with the show and that Bingham and the boys will be back.

Review: Steve Rapid    Photography: Ronnie Norton

Tuesday
Nov232010

John Hiatt - 17th November@The Academy, Dublin


I’ve seen John Hiatt live on a number of occasions in Dublin, the last time being an acoustic set with Lyle Lovett, and he has never put in a bad show. This though was one of the more vital and electric shows. It was the last gig of a four week European tour which made Hiatt comment that they were feeling somewhat “giddy” but couldn’t think of a better place to finish in than Dublin. His current band rejoices in the moniker of The Combo and includes bassist Patrick O Hearn, longtime drummer Kenneth Blevins and for this tour making his Irish Hiatt debut, following in the strings of many a noted guitarist, Doug Lancio. Lancio may be the best one yet. Playing a variety of guitars and mandolin he had no trouble in adding to the nuances and tones of Hiatt’s memorable songs. With a few selections from his latest album, including the title The Open Road, it was largely a case of delivering some classic Hiatt from through the years. Opening with a full force Perfectly Good Guitar he played a 20 song two hour set that included Just Like Your Dad Did, Master of Disaster - dedicated to his friend and former producer the late Jim Dickinson, Thing Called Love which was dedicated to Bonnie Riatt who Hiatt said helped him get recognition as a writer when she covered the song. Other songs coming from across his multi-album catalog were Alone In The Dark, Real Fine Love, Slow Turning, Drive South and the set closer an extended and robust ‘running down the road’ version of Tennessee Plates. The audience who were largely of Hiatt’s vintage and were obviously long-time fans who loved every minute of the show. There were some slower songs were Lancio switched to mandolin and Hiatt to a blond Gibson that included Cry Love. On other songs he also played a Telecaster adding to the overall sense of fusion in the air. He played my favourite song too - Icy Blue Heart  - a classic of failed relationships. Throughout Hiatt was in good form with between songs talk of his mild disappointment with the iPad. He reckoned it should have be a $30 full body suit that messed with all the senses. As is the norm in the live situation the band stretched and extended the songs on several occasions allowing Lancio to shine and show what a versitile player he is. No the more so than on the two song encore of Have A Little Faith and the lengthy guitar-driven pure energy of Riding With The King from the 1983 album of that name. Hiatt has been making great music for a long time. He still is. This night was just more proof of that.
Review: Steve Rapid  Photography: Ronnie Norton

 

Friday
Jun112010

The Tallest Of The Tall? - Whelan's 10 June

The Tallest Man On Earth 'The Wild Hunt'

I heard about this show via a MySpace (yes, remember MySpace?) link forwarded around.

Arriving to a sold out show is always a good feeling. On arrival at Whelan's Dublin I could taste a healthy dose of anticipation in the air.

Oddly enough, I noticed a large number of tall men in the audience. Perhaps they had seen the billing out front & thought to themselves 'I'll show him'. We were there, after all, to see The Tallest Man On Earth.

Cue the arrival of a very normal sized man stage left to a raucous cheer. Opening his set with the album opener 'The Wild Hunt' was a great place to start.

With a look of  Emile Hirsch from Into The Wild Kristian Matsson (Tallest Man's real name) was not going to let guitar pedal technical difficulties interrupt his opener, despite battery failure 3 times during the song. Matsson used the opportunity to show us his ability to stay in the moment - taking up exactly where he left off a minute earlier. He proved a humorous soul too, quipping "F*ck you Duracell!".

Firstly, let me say what a beautiful & intense performer Matsson is. A brilliant guitarist complete with vocal control is not something one comes across every day. And while the comparisons to early Gaslight period Dylan abound, Matsson is a far better guitar player than Dylan ever was & arguably a far more engaging stage presence (A big call, I know).

Secondly, I'd like to mention the fact that sometimes it takes more than technical ability & stage presence to really move an audience. Don't get me wrong. This crowd was being manipulated by Matsson as if we had all been invited to his house for a party that only he could throw. However, a friend & I commented that mid-way through the set, we felt we had heard the same song repeated over & over again - with different lyrics.

My major criticism of The Tallest Man On Earth would be this: he only ever got to 3rd gear. And 3rd gear is a good & sound gear. But what about 4th & 5th? At a show like this we want to be taken not just down the side streets, but we want to gush onto the highway in 5th gear & really hear the performer's musical engine take to the road.

Having said that, without a doubt, the anthemic 'King Of Spain' was a crowd favourite prompting a loud sing-along & the haunting 'Burden Of Tomorrow' reminded me of putting on a Dylan vinyl for the first time. Only this time, it was live & perfect in it's execution & vocal reach. 

The highlight of the evening was unquestionably the sublime rendition of Dylan's 1964 tune 'I'll Keep It With Mine' performed by Matsson & a mystery female guest invited up on stage. Positioning themselves very intimately on stage around one microphone with one guitar the duo cast a spell on the crowd.

Asking the sound man who the girl was he replied with a witty "The TM (Tour Manager), Girlfriend & Rodeo (I think he meant Roadie) all rolled into one!". If anyone knows who this mystery woman was, we'd be interested to know!

All in all, a fine show. I'd like to see Matsson again perform with a small ensemble. A small kit with brushes, an upright bass & a banjo (much missed from the album renditions) would be a welcome addition - just to get us out onto the highway of folk where we belong by the end of a set.

Check out The Tallest Man On Earth on MySpace here

Buy his album 'The Wild Hunt' here

JC

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