Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mumford & Sons March 18th 2010, The Acadamy, Dublin Review

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

All too seldom I hear a band that resonates with my heart and I know I've just listened to something special. The most recent band to do that to me has been Mumford & Sons. Their album Sigh No More is a perfect album from start to finish, I don't say that lightly. I find it seamless and one of the rare albums one can listen to from start to finish and it seems over far too quickly. They have recently been getting a lot of airplay and for some reason it's annoyed me. I'm not sure if it's a human thing or an Irish thing, but I'd rather keep Mumford & Sons to myself and a select few than share them with others. The thoughts of screaming 18 year old girls at their gigs is not a pleasant one but a nightmare that is rapidly becoming a reality. They have cracking music, they're humble, endearing, have accents and are good looking lads. A recipe to delight the ladies.
This gig went on sale 4 months ago and the tickets sold out in a flash. If they were organising a gig today they would have to play a much bigger venue so we definitely felt privileged to catch them in a relatively small venue. There was a buzz outside the venue filled with different emotions. Excitement of those attending, desperation of those looking for tickets and disappointment of those looking for tickets but realising the horrible touts where going to royally rip off the aforementioned desperate people, turning both sets of people into desperately disappointed people. Hopefully some of them got lucky. We managed to perch ourselves in some nice seats on the balcony overlooking the stage.
And I will hold on hope

They started with the sublime 'Sigh No More', a song which also opens their album in a perfect tone. It's a slow burner full of melody and emotion with truly amazing lyrics.
I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

They followed it up with the breezy 'Winter Winds', Jane's first favourite song on the album. She has since changed her favourite song on the album about 6 times. A compliment to the album, not a slight on her decision making.
It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say 'That's exactly how this grace thing works’
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start

Roll Away Your Stone came next, a song which starts making you wonder how it will continue. A little lick which turns into a great big ho-down. Cracking song which I'm sure made everyone want to put some straw in their mouth, put on some cowboy boots, find a barn and start dancing. It made me want to do that anyway.
can you kneel before the king
And say I’m clean?

Another melodious wonder, White Blank Page followed. One of the strangely endearing things about Mumford is how they sometimes don't quite seem to be in time, and how Mumfords voice occasionally cracks and near constantly seems on the bring of being radically out of tune. It keeps you involved and somehow it adds to the emotion that you know he's conveying as he sings from his gut.
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's hand

They then played a new song which is as yet untitled. It made me realise that they might not have quite the difficult time making their second album as so many bands have. This song perfectly followed their formula and sounded great.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life

The beautifully chilling Awake my Soul came before the giant sing along that is Little Lion Man. It was awesome to see everyone sing along at the top of their lungs. Even though it's a 'radio song' you know the guys where delighted to have everyone singing along to something they created.
But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

Another new song Lover of the Light had Mr. Mumford play the drums and sing, an art that must be hard to master but he did it easily. It's a powerful song that has a huge punch to it and looks like it's a fun song to play live.
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

There was plenty of chat from the guys who seemed genuinely thankful and grateful to those of us in attendance and they also seemed to be really enjoying themselves on stage. Thistle and Weeds and the gorgeous Timshell were a great one two combo before another great singalong The Cave. Did I mention how amazing their lyrics are? I love the rawness and honesty of how he write and like I said, something about it resonates with my heart.
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

They closed the set with Dust Bowl Dance, probably their most rocking tune. You can tell they enjoy playing this song, a good set closer even if it's probably my least favourite song on their album.
You were made to meet your maker

The encore was an old song and a new song. If I recall correctly they were 'To Darkness' and 'Restless Heart', another cracking new song that makes me look forward to their second album. An album I hope they release very soon.
I left the acadamy truly satisfied knowing I had witnessed something special and was able to appreciate every second of it. As much as I don't want you to listen to them as I want to keep them to myself; it's too late now so I tell you...buy the album. It's called Sigh No More, it's only 12euro and I guarantee you'll love it.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.


Here's the setlist

Sigh No More
Winter Winds
Roll Away Your Stone
White Blank Page
Untitled New Song
I Gave You All
Awake My Soul
Little Lion Man
Lover Of The Light
Thistle And Weeds
Timshell
The Cave
Dust Bowl Dance
----------------
To Darkness
Restless Heart

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dave Matthews Band March 9, 2010 The O2, Dublin, IRL Review

Bam! Tuesday night I took my Dad to see Dave Matthews Band with my brother. That morning I got word that I had won two tickets so Jane got to go as well which was awesome. She brought her sister. It was a cracking gig, the guys seemed to be in much better form than the last time they played here which was in May 2007. Dave especially appeared to be having mighty banter on stage, full of strange musings and geeky dances which makes us Irish laugh at him all the while glad he's in a good mood!
They opened with the superb Bartender. Starting with the haunting violin and ending with a beautiful penny whistle solo with 15 minutes of a song in between. Sometimes they can frustrate me when they drag songs out to the death, but not this one, it was a great way to start the show. The sweet little Stay or Leave came next. A great song from Dave's solo album. It works really well with the full band. Next were 4 in a row from their latest album 'Big Whiskey...'. All short, snappy and great songs. Lying the in the hands of God was an exception as it had a 5 minute instrumental section added on at the end with some nice work from Jeff Coffin and Tim Reynolds.
One of my brothers favourites Gravedigger was next. It started with a minute long drum solo echoing 'Say Goodbye'. As with Stay or Leave this is a song from Daves solo album and is usually played acoustic so it was great to hear the full band play it.
Anyone seen the bridge into a Too Much fake and Ants Marching was a highlight. Loved it. Full of energy and Carter giving it socks on his ginormous drum kit.
#27 was introduced as 'Arms of a Woman' and was another sweet song for the ladies. It's a great song and a surprise it didn't make the cut for Big Whiskey, it did however make it onto a bonus cd that came with the deluxe edition. Seven from the new album was excellent followed by another huge highlight which was 'The Stone'. I was stoked to hear that one live. It sounded great. The ladies all melted with the next three songs; 'Crush', 'Crash into Me' and 'Where are You Going?'. Crush had the usual gazillion minutes interlude in the middle. It was fun to watch though as we had good seats, not sure how much I would have enjoyed it if I was standing. They did all sound great and I enjoyed Crash more than I expected. It's normally one I'll skip on the quadrillion live albums I have of theirs.
Their Leroi Moore tribute song 'Why I Am' which is the first song I connected with on Big Whiskey, was awesome. You & Me, a song which is destined to be played at many a wedding was next, it's a better song than I initially thought, perhaps having a wife makes me appreciate his songs for the ladies! 'You Might Die Trying' a song I can take or leave again was better than I would have anticipated, perhaps I was just having such a good time enjoying one of my favourite bands playing live. It's a treat to get to see them outside of the states. They finished the main set with a thumping version of 'All Along the Watchtower', not exactly a surprise to hear it as they've played it over 600 times!
The encore in terms of what we could have gotten was pretty poor. Baby Blue is another song for the ladies, it was just Dave and sounded great. They finished with Cornbread. A song that has grown on me, still I wouldn't have picked it for the setlist, never mind to finish the show with. However, I didn't mind what they finished with as I'd enjoyed the whole show so much anyway.
There were only 2 repeats between the show in 2007 and this one. Gravedigger and Ants Marching, 3 if you include Anyone Seen The Bridge?. All in all it was a fantastic show, they played for near three hours and appeared to nearly run themselves out of an encore. I'm sure, even though the setlist was fairly predictable the show kept the seasoned Dave Matthews fan happy, and hopefully won a few converts aswell. Hopefully they'll come here again sooner rather than later. Till then we'll have to wait for the release of their 49th live album!!
Here's the setlist

Bartender
Stay or Leave
Funny the Way It Is
Squirm
Shake Me Like a Monkey
Lying in the Hands of God
Gravedigger
Anyone Seen the Bridge »
Too Much [fake] »
Ants Marching
#27 (Arms of a Woman)
Seven
The Stone
Crash Into Me
Crush
Where Are You Going
Why I Am
You & Me
You Might Die Trying
Stefan solo »
All Along the Watchtower
-----------------------------------
Baby Blue
Corn Bread