Little Green Cars at The Iveagh Gardens,Dublin, 23rd July 2016
The Iveagh Gardens seem to be hallowed ground for Little Green Cars. At the end of their last tour back in 2014, they wrapped things up with a gig at the Gardens. This time around though, they were a bit more solemn as they made their way onstage. This is understandable, as even on their newest album ‘Ephemera’, they are a much more mature group and they understand just how cold the world can be.
Despite this, there is always a glimmer of hope in theie music and during their set they beautifully combined their harrowing intimate moments with uplifting communal ones. That is the true power of this band and, in a live setting, they really are something to behold.
It did take a while for the band to fully warm up and they were a little bit rusty at the beginning. It wasn’t anything major that took away from the show, but you got the impression that they just hadn’t settled in yet. Much of the early set was dominated by songs from their second album. The likes of The Garden of Death and Brother set the tone early on and eased the crowd into proceedings.
Stevie Appleby is hardly the most natural frontman, but he has his own way of engaging with the crowd. Whether it’s through a poem or a witty story he made sure that there was never a lull in proceedings. He also quoted famous folk singer Woody Guthrie, as he said “It’s a folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people.”
Clearly there were quite a few people in the crowd that were too comfortable, as during Clair de Lune they decided it was a good time for a chat. Thankfully, that was as bad as it got, but it’s always disheartening to hear the band being drowned out by the crowd.
Things really got going half way through as Faye O’Rourke took centre stage for the moving ballad Please. From then on there was no more getting warmed-up, they were in full flow. Old stalwarts like The John Wayne still sounded as big as ever, and My Love Took Me Down To The River was just as captivating.
Damien Dempsey, who supported the band earlier in the night came on stage near the end to play his song Sing All Our Cares Away with the band. It was a touching tribute to one of Dublin’s finest songwriters and you could see they really appreciated his presence on the night.
Little Green Cars said at the end that it was a very special gig for them, but for the crowd, it was even more so as they witnessed a powerful and poetic performance from a group that always delivers when it matters most.