The Meteor Live Sessions in association with Paul McCloone featuring Delorentos, Fionn Regan and The Strypes
If tonight is any measure, the series of gigs Today FM are putting together in The Workman’s Club are set to be a bit special. They’re broadcast live on the Paul McLoone show, involve bands that typically play larger venues and seem effortlessly lively. Tonight’s openers, The Strypes, have got plenty of buzz lately. They’re young; fresh in the sense that even in my late 20s, I could have fathered some of them if I’d been a particularly… erm… early starter. In truth, before they kick in we feel somewhere between needing to re-evaluate our own ‘what was I doing at 15’ life choices and wondering if the band could have had the life experience needed to make them as good as they’re supposed to be.
The short answer is yes, they are that good. Dressed up like early-60s Beatles, they’re fronted by a vocalist with all the on-stage self-assurance of a sunglasses-toting Liam Gallagher. The source of their stage moves is perhaps not entirely original, but in singer Ross Farrelly and animated guitarist Josh McClorey, the Cavan lads have two born performers, and the musical talents of the remainder of the band aren’t too far behind either. Two tracks stand out tonight: an exceptionally rowdy rendition of the lead track from their EP, ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’ and the rock-out harmonica outtakes of ‘Got Love If You Want It’. They sound like they’re lifted straight from the 60s, and pull it off superbly: believe the hype.
Fionn Regan has the misfortune of having to follow the youngsters, and having always been as much poet as musician, his output here is perhaps a touch refined to sit well after such raucous rock n’ roll. Fionn takes tracks largely from his recently released fourth album ‘The Bunkhouse Volume One: Anchor Black Tattoo’. This is an album close to Regan’s heart, having been produced at home using a stripped down aesthetic, and avoided the usual pre-album extended build up that he’s always despised. There’s anger there, but as ever it’s delivered with an almost flippantly witty turn of phrase, minimalist and bitter in the most intelligent of ways. Still, tonight’s set is not his best, at least from within the room, which doesn’t assist with loud chatter throughout. We know from experience that in the right environment, though, he’s truly brilliant.
Headliners Delorentos have been drafted in as a last minute replacement for Le Galaxie, due to unrevealed technical issues. While Le Galaxie are clearly on of Ireland’s top live acts of the moment, Delorentos are an impressive replacement, and open with seven straight songs from their latest ‘Little Sparks’. The sound is surprisingly raw: Delorentos have built their reputation as a silky-smooth indie-pop act, but tonight’s set up is almost like a rock show, accentuated by one particular lad near the front who seems determined to jump feet in the air until he learns what’s hidden below The Workman’s floor.
‘Pace Yourself’, a mellow opener tonight, should probably be Delorentos next single (for me it’s the highlight of the album), but ‘Bullets In A Gun’, ‘Did We Ever Really Try’ and popular album track ‘Give It Up Now’ prove to be the vibrant highlights of the night. For all the ‘rough around the edges’ feel, such a sweatbox show suits the Dublin lads, and by the time we listen to them run through early career highlights to close, including ‘Secret’ and ‘Sanctuary’ given an airing along the way, this is proving to be a reputation-enhancing performance, especially among those with heavier leanings. All in, it’s hard to take issue with the chance to see acts of such pedigree up close and personal, even if the radio sessions do mean slightly extended between-band breaks. With tickets only available through contests, though, the main issue is likely to be getting through the door in the first place.