The Riptide Movement Olympia Theatre 10th November 2012
If you’ve not heard The Riptide Movement’s music before, it’s roughly the aural equivalent of partaking in a rabble rousing hoedown in a dive bar when suddenly, a fight breaks out. Then, in between the chairs flying over head and bits of beard and check shirt flying everywhere, someone smashes you over the head with a dusty bottle of whiskey and you pass out, delighted.
Whether it’s a packed out festival stage or busking over the din of a Saturday afternoon on Grafton Street, The Riptide Movement always know how to put on a show.
There was an amiable, community atmosphere in The Olympia while waiting for the lovable Dublin lads to arrive on stage. Everyone seemed to be there to celebrate the fact that ‘their’ band had worked their arses off to reach this point; packing 1,600 people into one of the biggest venues in Dublin.
The show opened with a choir and a four-piece brass section joining the band on stage for Warming Up The Band. It was a charming and rather clever extra touch for the gathered crowd of super-fans. Judging by the crowds intimate knowledge of all the lyrics and knowing exactly when to clap along, it’s safe to say that they have been following this hard-working band around for quite some time.
The bones of their regular live show remain intact however; their excellent cover of The Rattling Bog is still in the set list, and drummer Gar still likes to play with his ‘scary face man’ tom on his head before heading off for the encore.
Several carefully chosen bells and whistles were peppered throughout the performance; a shirtless, shoeless, Polish Digeridoo player appeared for Roll On The Train, then disappeared. Perhaps he had a train to catch. Support act Sive came back out on backing vocal duty for new single Without You.
The live string section performing Thieves In The Gallery were almost entirely drowned out by the audience, who coaxed on by frontman Mal, roared along to the “de de doo, de de doo, de de doo” part, much to the band’s delight. It was now clear and written all over his face that bassist Ger was the happiest man on the planet.
While The Riptide Movement have always been an excellent live act, their heavy gigging schedule seems to have resulted in them gelling better than ever before. They perform now as four limbs of the same dusty boot wearing cowboy, making it look like the easiest, most natural thing ever. They seem more confident, more polished (but still with the rough edges that makes their music so special) and most importantly, entirely at ease on the bigger stage.
While the new additions of a production budget allows for things like guest musicians, visuals and confetti cannons, these dressy extras neither add nor take away from the main reason you need to see this band. Four consummate musicians having an absolute blast, delivering a thoroughly entertaining night of cracking tunes.
Oh, and the next person to whinge to this reviewer about how ‘guitar based music is dead’ shall be put across my knee and spanked with a The Riptide Movement’s ‘Keep on, Keepin’ On’ album until they admit that they’re wrong.
Photo by Paul Mongan