Port O’Brien- Crawdaddy Oct 08

October 31, 2008

Thanks to State another gig gratis!

The Mighty Stef was the support…again. Not much else to be said that I haven’t said before- nice guy, nice tunes but not my type of music and have seen him too many times this year. Good crowd for him at least when I popped my head in.

Port O’Brien

After reading Jims piece that morning it was on my mind about how many were actually going to turn up as quite a few in Crawdaddy/Whelans of late haven’t had a big crowd- was a good crowd in the end even if it wasn’t completely packed.

The guitarist Josh was up first with a couple of his solo tunes since there was an issue behind the scene with the banjo- good voice and has a nice catch to it. The drummer and bassist came out for the second half of his second tune which gave it a nice punch.

When the lead, Van, came out what was striking was that his speaking voice is completely different than his singing voice- I didn’t realise that all of his songs are sung in a type of falsetto and that his voice is actually deep. It has been a while since I have listened to the album so I don’t remember the exact order of the tunes that he played but he started with the quieter ones with the acoustic guitar and Don’t Take My Advice and Stuck On A Boat were quite good.

One thing that was very obvious from the start was that Van is very chatty person with the audience and the other band members in the break between the tunes- it really made a difference though and it felt more like you were in his living room rather than at a gig. Of course with it being an American band in Ireland there had to be a comment about how much of the band were Irish…made a good joke about though so thankfully not one about actual lineage. He then said he was playing one of the newer songs and somebody from the audience shouted out Fishermans Son which is the very song he was thinking of so he dedicated it to…Ed.

They then went into the more electric side of their sound and while tuning his guitar he told us the story of how Ryan(?) broke his toe with the amp coming down on it and getting a cast in Vienna which was then checked in Germany and told was done wrong…and then checked again in London where they said the Germans were wrong. Even funnier then was the story of the guy that broke into van while in London and stole some of their personal items and that there is now a guy going around with a cool pair of Josh’s jeans with an ipod full of their tunes wondering what hippy shite this was. Just to cap it off Van dedicated the next song to the thief…I swear that if his voice ever goes he can do a line in standup!

A couple of other electric tunes followed (Pigeonhole among them) and then a new song which was ok but not stellar. Van then asked the audience who the best Dublin Band was…there was a pause but eventually somebody shouted Thin Lizzy followed by a shout for Redneck Manifesto (given the connections in the room doubtless somebody associated with the band there!) and then finally Boyzone which of course Van the comedian picked up on and that if there was anybody that had met them to talk to him afterwards…so he could bask in the associated glory I presume;-)

He then pumped out Close The Lid which is one of my favourites and then did something which I have never seen at a gig- he was handing out pots and pans along with drumsticks for some audience participation for the next tune! Along with that he had the audience practice singing woahohohohoha so there was not doubt I Woke Up Today was coming up. A great version of it indeed even without the audience participation since this was more electric than the album version. A great way to end the gig and that was the end despite the clamouring for an encore. Some American groups I have seen just don’t seem to realise that it takes ages for the crowd here to give up unless they get their encore!

While waiting in the que to get another of their cds I ended up chatting with Van along with another gig-goer called Darren. So I heard about Van’s obsession with Westlife and the Pussycat Dolls and how they are using them as role models- yeah tongue really in cheek there! Really nice guy though and got some stories on the fishing up in Alaska and what really happened with the banjo- Van had stepped on the neck but the way it snapped they have managed to keep it going with constant repairs.

Of course when I went out to the main bar in Crawdaddy there was the lovely Tanya Sweeney again…seems that we have this stalker/stalkee relationship going but with Dublin being so small that is not a surprise! Lucky her got to interview the band that morning- definitely benefits of being a journalist and if I could write properly I would be there! Quick hello to Sinead Gleeson as well who I hadn’t seen since the blog awards…and seeing her of course reminded me of how neglectful I have been in checking out Dreadful Thoughts!


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