IU Review of Mixtape Gig
Posted on 5 Aug 2009
The Think Tank
The Think Tank at the basement of The Mezz bar in the heart of Dublin’s Temple bar is an ideal hideaway for a small gig. This event was advertised as a podcast for mixtape.com and included a few acts. But I was here to see the maestro himself perform.
Enda has a certain charm, having a knack of holding the attention of an audience with his witty and catchy songs, is also a lovely guitarist and a pleasure to listen to as he sings with the accompaniment of the lovely Eimear Lynch on Fiddle, Gary Raymond on Drums and Rama Block on Bass, who also contributes excellent harmonies and backing vocals for most numbers. Influences include Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Paul Brady and many more.
With five minutes to go before the off there were about a dozen or so people about. I hoped this would change, but it being a bank holiday weekend and with lots of Music Fests around, it was possible there wouldn’t be many.
However I felt quite privileged to be there and things eventually got off to a good start, with a few extra bodies gradually pouring in.
Enda began with a song which always reminds me of a Paul McCartney number ;I’m doing fine just the way I am.
Fiddle plays a sweet riff and with close harmony and a choppy beat to it, this was a nice number to kick off with.
Strangers on a Train
A parody style piece, this is started in a bassy baritone and seems to lift as it goes along. The tempo is a chuga �chuga style to make you feel you are on a train. Lots of cute high jinx on Eimear’s fiddle lend atmosphere and drama. The melody is catchy and although this is a humorous number, it’s really appealing. Rama’s baseline also merits a mention here.
This is a jazzy number, with a cheerful beat and lyrics that tell the story of a guy who is trapped in his life and needs to escape. Don’t we all?
Fiddle does a delightful solo and Rama plays a slapping baseline, with Gary’s input of snare and cymbals lending spice.
There’s a cool pullback of instruments just before the final chorus, where lastly the drums stop and there’s only Enda’s plucked guitar note. Dramatic and really entertaining!
Cur an long ag seol (Set the ship assail)
Intro is done on the fiddle, with an exotic beat. This number is sung in Irish and although may not be easy to understand if you don’t speak Gaeilge, the melody says it all. You can picture a ship sailing away to the music, to freedom.
I rolled her down is slow and has interesting lyrics to set you thinking. With lovely guitar, fiddle and excellent harmony, it is romantic. The tempo picks up just before the end of this one, as if the vessel in the story is picking up speed. He speaks of his boat almost as if she were his lover.
The Weary Traveller
Conceived on a journey between Donegal and Belfast, this number is about fatigue setting in and the need for rest; Please take me in.
Eimear and Rama join in for this song singing harmony.
Yesterday how I cried has a mournful violin intro, with bass and guitar doing Cat Stephen’s style riffs. There’s a gypsy mood here too, where you can’t make your mind up if Eimear sounds like Stephane Grepelli or The Fiddler on the roof!
The Polar Bear Song
This is a funny but profound song and shows Enda’s strong feelings about the environment. Lovely bending guitar notes are played, close harmony is seamless and there’s a line that I love in it;The Polar bear is getting rare, he’ll have to learn to swim
Oxygen 21 is the theme song of Enda’s debut album. It raises questions about the environment once again. But it’s one of those songs where everyone ends up singing along. When that jitterbug baseline comes along, you want to jump up and dance and the fiddle is superb.
This was a long enough set and he went on to do a funny song Nut in the hut, which involved more audience participation and was great fun.
A poet joined Enda for his second last piece September 1913, which involved Stephen James Smith reciting, while Enda sang quietly and a beautiful instrumental was played by Eimear and Rama. This is based on a time in historic Ireland and is quite sad;Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, it’s with O’Leary in the grave.
The Samurai Sword
Reggae beat, fiddle is plucked and things build up for the chorus. Bass plays Sting-esque style notes and sings a refrain with lots of �Ahs’. I like this unusual song, which comes to a big rolling finish.
After Enda’s spot we were treated to a set by a guy who calls himself Weirdz……….. Read the rest of the review here in the reviews section.
Review written by: Angela Macari O’Looney —
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