Monday, January 18, 2010

O Emperor Live at Dolans 17/01/2010 Review

My first gig of 2010 was to be a three band affair upstairs in Dolans. A Sunday night in January would not attract a big crowd but tonight was different as people were streaming into the upstairs venue. The stage was adorned with a mountain of instruments and it looked like we were in for a treat. The only band I had heard of going into the gig were the headliners “O Emperor”, I had checked them out on myspace awhile back and loved what I heard. There was lots of hype about these guys and when I saw they were playing down the road I jumped at the opportunity.

The first act of the night was “Alessi’s Ark” an extremely quirky girl from London took to the stage to play a few tracks from her debut album “Notes from a Treehouse”. She is clearly all shy and awkward on stage but as soon as she starts to sing she is quite mesmerizing, her voice matches her quirky persona and her style of vibrato singing is quite something to witness. You could say an English Lisa Hannigan with a twist of jazz thrown in. All her songs lasted less than two minutes and felt like they were just snippets for us to sample but listening to the actual album these are the actual lengths all short but sweet numbers. The album is just a great collection of songs extremely well put together; I will be coming back to this album a lot. She was joined by the next band up for backing half way through her set. As I mentioned I purchased a copy of her debut album which came in its own handmade woollen pouch, which is incredibly adorable along with the artwork adoring the sleeve. This album is worth getting and she is worth check out over here

Next up were the Brighton 7 piece band “The Sons of Noel & Adrian”. Cellos, trumpets, keyboards, drums, bass and two brilliantly played classical guitars made up this bands sound. The video below captures their sound and feeling the best. Sea Shanty Singalong feet stomping brilliance is how I could describe this group. Their collective sound shouldn’t work but it just does so well. The layering sound of instruments make for an amazing racket. At times you could nearly here hints of Irish traditional music from a bunch of people who have never set foot in Ireland before. Great whistle intro to a song called “The Wreck is not a boat” was a highlight as it transcended into another band sing-along. Their song comprised of very little lyrics as their masterpiece was their melodies and almost battlecry vocals. Also hints of Spanish traditional music more than likely down to the picking of the classical guitars, the cellist added so much to their sound and at times the sound he was modulating was nothing short of excellent. Such a unique sound! this band will go far and these guys are well worth checking out live. I got a copy of their great self titled album and their latest EP “Rivers”, head over here

Last up were Waterford band “O Emperor” as I mentioned these guys have been hitting headlines in the Irish music scene as ones to watch of late. Their sound is very hard to put your finger on. The sound is so diverse and different in each song, ranging from very melodic almost film score pieces to full on rock. Some songs seem like they have no structure with swirling guitar parts and they just work. The lead singers voice was clearly in bad shape from being the last Irish date of their first ever tour , they looked like they were enjoying it and looking forward to their English leg of the tour. Highlights of the night included their brilliantly released single “Po” and a song called “Don’t Mind Me”. It’s clear to see why these guys are getting so much hype, they live up to this Live and their 3 track EP “Persephone” is a sign of great things to come from this young Irish band. I wish them the best of luck to them over in England and Ill look forward to seeing them playing to a much larger audience when they are in this neck of the woods again. Check them out here:

O Emperor Set List:
Small Town, Local Hero
All Worked Out
Ghost of my Heart
Don't Mind Me
To The Sea
Don Quixote
Epic One
Some Small Matter
The Fat Lady Sings

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