Dublin Gospel Choir at The Button Factory, Friday 11th April.
The band starts up as the Dublin Gospel Choir struts on stage. The Button Factory is laid out tables and chairs, so there is an awkward refusal when the audience is called to “get up and get dancing”. Nonetheless, with blasts of colour, the Dublin Gospel Choir fills the venue with their own dancing energy as they launch into Shackles, the popular gospel classic.
In the mix of traditional gospel songs and pop hybrids, Simon and Garfunkel’s Troubled Waters shows off a fantastic soloist and stands out from the rest in its moving rendition. The poor lads in the choir are stuck in all black right down to their ties amidst the brightness of the girls’ tops, jewelry and makeup, creating a dark patch in centre stage. There is occasionally a similar imbalance in the sound, mostly due to the disproportionate numbers between sections. This is forgivable though, thanks to the great dance moves that nearly everyone throws themselves into with barely a hint of self-consciousness.
During Total Praise we finally get to see the choir’s abilities as an ensemble. Complex harmonies are hit impeccably as the audience are surrounded and filled with the power of their song. Smile has a very abrupt ending, but the singers are clearly loving it and their energy is infectious, upping the ante before Man in the Mirror takes advantage of another solo, the song a great choice for her voice, and generally a brilliant fit for the ensemble.
Surprisingly, the highlight of the evening is Little Mix’s Wings. From a phenomenal soloist to a first-rate arrangement, the song came together to finally get everyone on their feet and dancing. The house band groove down to this naughty pleasure, which brings out the song’s potential as the choir connect with the audience in a way that had until now been missing. Unfortunately, the group’s Crazy in Love cover didn’t hold quite the same power, and the crowd slowly and awkwardly began sitting down one by one until there was only a die-hard group at the back partying as hard as those on stage.
While the opening had a few tuning slips as the singers warmed up and the seating arrangement isn’t ideal, the choir went from strength to strength and the night overall is clearly a success – judging from the crowd’s reaction and ensemble’s buoyancy as they leave the stage. The Dublin Gospel Choir are guaranteed to provide great entertainment with a pure energy and enjoyment rarely seen in Irish choirs, and shouldn’t be missed if the opportunity arises to catch a performance as they command festival and venue stages alike.
Dublin Gospel Choir Photo Gallery
Photos: Abraham Tarrush