Gig Reviews, Dublin, Whelan's

04

R.S.A.G. (live in Whelans, Dublin)

RSAG (Photo: Copyright Sean McCormack 2008)Review Snapshot: Big fan of drum solos? Nah, me neither. Fortunately Jeremy Hickey, spotted above ground on a drum stool last weekend, kept the solos to a minimum.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:

Sure, there were lots of great fills and extravagant percussion but almost always with the backing of his very own phantom band. This is where the visuals come in. On a projected screen behind the drums was the reverse silhouette of Hickey accompanying himself on bass, acoustic guitar, handclaps and whatever else was called for. Not a brand new concept -- of all people Paul McCartney did a similar thing on TFI Friday about 15 years ago, but completely lacking Hickey's style or visual impact. Hickey's visuals were creepy and expressionless figures, one of them hooded, looking like a funky drop-out Ewok. A more interesting sight than most bands could muster.
His voice is a sort of cross between John Martyn's mumble and a throaty Ian Curtis yelp. It's fairly low in the mix and if you weren't already familiar with his Choice nominated album "Organic Sampler" you'd struggle to work out what he's singing. So the songs can get a little samey. The drums are obviously centre stage and the rest of the instruments act more as foundations for the song rather than the other way around.  It's a fresh way of approaching the 4/5 piece band, though I'm not sure it can hold a crowd for an hour plus.
Among the highlights of the night were "Talk Back Crawl Back", "Stick To Your Line" and "It Over", which got a good cheer from the crowd when that infectious acoustic riff kicked in, doubled by the bass. 
RSAG is undoubtedly a great talent; he has enough good songs to cement a decent set and the visuals give a memorable impact to the show. However for one hour plus, the one man groove might be spread a little too thin.

Peter Teehan


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