REVIEW: The Deans @ WhelansTweet
Review by: David Quinn
Photo’s By: Kieran Frost
Wednesday 21st of July 2010 Whelans
Its 9pm on a typically wet Wednesday night and I am sheltered in the cosy familiarity of the Whelans bar, a comfy pint of the black stuff ready to hug my insides. I know what you’re thinking, there are a million places you would rather be on a miserable midweek night, and there is only so much to be expected entertainment wise for this time and place. The bar was a ghost town at the stroke of 9, with a few faces fitting in like the quiet locals of a rural pub. So I stood at the bar, weighing up my expectations based on the crowd, cynically half assuming my mind would be/could be made up before even judging the band. I didn’t like these thoughts, this lack of optimism, so I went outside to clear my head. As I stood in that lane we all know so well, I witnessed something which flickered memories of Almost Famous or some other stereotypical rock-fiction moment that brushed all scepticism aside. A large coach pulled up right in front of the lane, allowing dozens of people to flood off, all of whom walked straight in my direction and into the bar. Five minutes later it happened again. A rush of excitement filled me and my face flushed as I uncontrollably cracked a smile. Travelling fans – which mean at least one thing – notoriety. A second meaning is the inclusion of a crowd, because we all no how it feels to be at an empty gig.
Prior to my arrival I did have high hopes, as The Deans were fresh off a European tour spanning some of the best Rock and Blues festivals the continent has to offer. And as I came back to take my position at the bar, the large group forming in front of the stage told me that I was in for a treat. When the Deans graced the stage with their presence, they personified the rock and roll image, and immediately kicked things off with a rendition of Bo Didley’s Hey Luci. I turned to an acquaintance and we gave each other the approving nod. Following their opener, they played their original Rise and Shine, and that they did. The brothers Dean broke into a mid track solo and, to the joy of the crowd, oozed stage presence while playing each others frets. Yes, I said it. Some other fan favourites followed in the form of Harboring Faces and Mama Don’t Talk to Me, and then they stepped it up another level. One thing I am a sucker for is crowd participation, and if done successfully and prove ownership of everybody’s attention. Basically, if you have fun you are going to rave about the gig, and crowd participation is damn fun. This came in the form of the a capella Lin’in Track, assisted only by the beat of the crowds clapping hands. This also showed the range of Gavin’s voice which is equally astounding as his guitar playing. They slowed things down a bit next with their EP title track Distraction and Snake Dance, with hints of Ryan Adams, Rory Gallagher and The Doors peeping through. Two songs that could definitely withstand the weight of commercialism.
After another traditional jaunt or two they introduced what will soon become a newly released single, Worried All the Time. Thinking financially for just a moment, a single is assumed to be the pathway to commercial recognition, and therefore needs to have a certain element that can induce the majority into turning up the dial on their radio. More airplay means more dineros. Worried All the Time definitely has the strength and character to push their success, but I would worry for their sake that they do not become the victims of change too soon in order to please the “Suits”.
Thankfully these thoughts did not weigh heavy for too long as they introduced their following song as a “spiritual orgasm”, and proceeded into a lengthy medley of Mr. Hyde and William the Coward, which could only be described (by me) as a musical mind bomb transfusion of Santana-esc similarity. I am aware that the description doesn’t make sense, but referencing mind and body to the liquid sex of the song still seems justified.
By now I am in the palm of their hands, and when a band gets an Encore on a Wednesday in Whelans, it’s special. They finished off with classics Honey Hush by Big Joe Turner, What I’d Say by Ray Charles and the always welcomed Johnny B Goode.
When they finally did say goodbye, I included myself in the provision of a worthy ovation, as The Deans truly encapsulate classic Blues Rock for the modern music climate, similar to what The Answer are to doing for heavy rock. They stick to the roots of their influences and give a new generation access to a quality of music that, to the few who are aware or still care, literally paved the way for most of the music we listen to today. It may finally be time for all the Indie scenesters to open their mind to the past, the beginning, the reason for the songs and the bands we love – the blues. And what better a way to re-educate than for a fresh, young band to emulate the greats of the past while keeping it unique for the present. Imagine my surprise when I overhead a fellow attendee state “That was great, but not as good as the last time.” The possibility of The Deans leaving any more of a positive impression was difficult to fathom. At this stage all they will be doing is preaching to the converted.
Hey Luci (Bo Didley)
Rise and Shine (Gavin Dean)
Harboring faces (Gavin dean)
Mama don’t talk to me (Gavin Dean)
Lin’in track (Traditional – A Capella)
Distraction (Gavin Dean)
Snake dance (Gavin Dean)
Why’d you do that to me (Traditional)
Feel so good (J.B Lenoir)
Worried all the Time (Gavin Dean – unreleased single)
Mr. Hyde (Gavin Dean)
William the coward (Gavin Dean)
Encore; Honey Hush (Big Joe Turner)
What id say (Ray Charles)
Johnny be Goode (Chuck Berry)