Arthur’s Day at Whelan’s, Dublin on Thursday 26th of September 2013

So after weeks of build up the day had finally arrived. Love it or hate it, Arthur’s Day is in its fifth year and is still going strong, although the negative feelings towards the day are undoubtedly building. One thing very different to other years was the secrecy behind what act was playing where. In the past, the weeks leading up to Arthur’s Day would see the whereabouts of the big acts leaking online, resulting in a scramble for tickets to the venues. Thankfully this year was different and only a few hardcore fans seemed to know the line-up after some extensive detective work.

Due to a late start the crowd in Whelan’s had plenty of time to formulate some interesting theories on who would be performing. It wasn’t until MC for the night Dave Fanning arrived on stage that there was any confirmation, and after an apology for the delay, he introduced the young Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.

The leggy beauty struts on stage to a huge reaction along with her two backing dancers and hype DJ. Some of the crowd obviously had an idea that she would be playing as the front row was full of fans who knew every single word to her songs. With her début album ‘The New Classic’ due for release in October, she is eager to impress. Her set is so fast paced that her dancers take turns resting at the back of the stage trying to catch their breath. Hit songs Pu$$y and Work, in particular, are instant crowd-pleasers.

In the middle of the set Azalea serenades one lucky concert-goer from the stage; her way of showing an appreciation for knowing all of her lyrics.  Azalea seems surprised by the huge reaction by the sold out audience, but her performance is deserving of it. After a quick thanks her short set draws to a close. The wait for the second act begins and the rumours start all over again.

After a quick stage rejig Dave Fanning returns. It’s fair to say you could hear a pin drop as he announces the next act. It’s also fair to say you could hear a pin drop after he announces it. Very few people in the crowd had any clue who THePETEBOX was. It was seen as an odd choice by some and annoyed others who expected something more. Coming on stage to a crowd who had largely been lost to the bar cannot have been easy for the Englishman. Most people seem to feel as though he should have opened the night. To his credit he jumped into his impressive set.

The beat boxer, who is actually very well known around the world in other musical circles, created all the beats and sounds himself using only his voice and loop pedals. Slowly but surely the crowd became aware of what they were witnessing and by the middle of his set an appreciative crowd had returned.

Before long Whelan’s was shaking thanks to the deafening bass and the bouncing audience. Finishing a very short set with a mash-up of Benny Benassi’s Satisfaction and The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams the Englishman leaves the stage to a deserving ovation. It really is worth checking out THePETEBOX to get a taste of the impressive work he does.

After another wait and the consumption of more Diageo products Fanning returns and reveals the worst kept secret of the night. By now the dogs on the street know who is headlining. Despite this, the crowd still erupts into an ear-piercing scream as Dublin natives The Script race on to the stage. Opening with Good Ol’ Days the crowd look on, faces lit up by the light of dozens of camera phones held aloft, recording. Audience members of both sexes are in tears as the Dubliners soak up the electric atmosphere.

Rattling off crowd favourites We Cry and Breakeven the night might as well be a karaoke event as the crowd sing along to everything. The band introduce Before The Worst as “the first song they ever wrote together as a band”. With huge smiles on their faces the set rolls on at speed. You have to wonder when was the last time The Script played in a venue this small.

In true Irish fashion the humour was rife on the night. A successful attempt to get four pints of the ‘Black Stuff’ from the bar to the stage was only topped when Danny requested someone in the crowd to hand up their phone with an ex-partner on the other end. Once the phone was on stage the band launched into their break-up hit Nothing. With the set coming to a close the band pay tribute to Arthur’s Day and to the fantastic work of the Arthur Guinness Projects. For The First Time finishes things off. After the obligatory stage exit the band return for their encore.

You Won’t Feel A Thing sends the crowd crazy again. This is only intensified when Danny jumps into the crowd to deliver the chorus. When the panicked security eventually wrestle him back to the stage the front man questions the crowd to find out “Who took my wallet, and more importantly my virginity?”

Hall Of Fame draws Arthur’s Day at Whelan’s to a close. As the band leave the stage to a rapturous applause from the crowd they promise to return “very soon” with new material.

On a night where the running order of the acts should probably have been different it was still special to see such artists up close under the one roof. Something that Arthur’s Day has delivered consistently over the last few years.

Arthur’s Day at Whelan’s Photo Gallery

Photos: Kieran Frost