Friday, October 19, 2012

Hermitage Green - EP Launch live at Dolans 18/10/12 Review

Tonight saw the long awaited EP launch from local band Hermitage Green. The lads have been playing together for just over two years mainly as a covers band. As they have progressed, original material started seeping into their live sets. The band had regular weekly slots in several bars in town and their following was gaining more attention than the band at first. You were guaranteed a full house of women if the band were playing in a pub , the draw being a fit looking bunch of musicians with Munster rugby connections. This clearly is the holy grail for any single women in town. The rugby connection lies with ex Munster player Barry Murphy. He will always be in the sporting history books as the only player to score a try against the All Blacks on their 2008 tour. (Check it out). The next rugby connection was that of Bódhran player Felix Jones, Felix is now gone from the band due to rugby commitments in the form of Munster and Irish selections. So you can clearly see why the big following, I had my doubts before I saw them live due to the fact that the people telling me about them weren't your typical music fan. However the first time I finally got to see them live I was very surprised these guys can play! they had a great set list full of covers in their own styling and one or two originals thrown into the mix.

They started to release original material in the form of live videos , their first appearance on record was on the 2011 Limerick compilation album 'The New Reindeer Age' with the acoustic track 'Live On'. The band started the recording process for their self produced four track EP 'The Gathering' enlisting the help of local recorders Owen Lewis and Dave Keary and Richard Dowling of Wav Mastering adding the final touches.

The bands launch night was originally billed for the small venue upstairs in dolans but with the fast selling tickets meant a move to the downstairs warehouse venue. I arrived early to find the place thronged of people, any established band would give a lot for such a big crowd especially when its only launching your first release. The band arrived out to great applause and launched straight into a strong fourteen song set. The set included crowd pleasing covers such as Dick Burnett's 'Man of Constant Sorrow' and Florence & The Machine's 'Cosmic Love'.

Having such a hectic gigging schedule over the last few years has stood to them as they are very comfortable on stage and with their sound. It was great to see the band on a night where the emphasis was more on their original material and we were treated to several unheard tracks including a song dedicated to Paul Darbyshire a friend of the band who sadly passed away. Paul was the head of strength and conditioning at Munster Rugby and clearly left a big impact on the lads, Video below.

Their sound is hard not to enjoy as they have a great catchy folky upbeat country inspired vibe not unlike a band such as Mumford and Sons. The set included a wide variety of instruments including a Didgeridoo, banjos and harmonicas .One of the highlights of the night was when we were treated to a Bódhran extravaganza when Dermot Sheedy climbed the speakers onto the mini roof of the lower bar, a first for me to see at dolans to give the crowd a drumming solo.
The night went off great and the crowd clearly enjoyed themselves which included several big names in the current Munster squad. They were all sensibly not drinking ahead of their big Heineken cup clash this Sunday thankfully. The EP is one to check out which can be purchased through itunes here. Its clearly going to be a very busy schedule for the band from here on out and very well deserved. Well done to the lads on such a great EP and Launch night, Cheers!

Set List:
Red Flags
Live On
Constant Sorrow
Cosmic Love
Song for Paul
Let the Ink Flow
Bodhran Solo
Golden Rule
Not the Man

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