Review of their gig in Whelan's, Dublin, 9th December 2004
Comprising of the core of Driven and Ashley from Indie legends The Frank and Walters, Citizen blaze through a set of confident, anthemic rock and roll.
The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10
Once upon a time there was a rock band from the deep dark depths of Limerick that went by the name of The Driven. Their first single, the nicely titled 'Jesus Loves You More If you Can Drive', was a bit of a minor hit but record company crap meant that the band never got to release their debut album in Ireland. I do remember years ago reading an interview with them in Kerrang and the lead singer talking about growing up in culchie land and how all the kids from the small towns and local villages would be kicking the sh*t out of each other. Condemned to spend my adolescence in rural Tipperary, needless to say I was smitten.
Fast forward a few years and we have Citizen, comprising three former members of the Driven and the most famous drummer in Bishopstown, Ashley from the Frank and Walters. I was beginning to think they were looking rather youthful on stage in Whelans when I realised I was only watching the support band, Long Lost Brother, who despite the crap name seriously had the songs and melodies to make me think they were the headliners.
They mix up smatterings of banjo and harmonica for country-tinged numbers, including a beautiful pastoral instrumental, but also conjure up plenty of rocking moments with vocals even veering close to Liam Gallagher at one stage, although Dylan and The Cure might be the main influences. A bit more stagecraft and these guys will be seriously good.
Citizen are slick. You can tell straight away these boys have been around the block before as they crash into an ultra confident set packed full of smart, anthemic rockers. This is tight and taut rock'n'roll that also carries plenty of melody, at times maybe even like a more rocking Teenage Fanclub with lots of impressive Fender Telecaster lead guitar work (everybody seems to be playing Telecasters these days?) They also have a bass player who sexes up the rhythms and stomps around the stage in an oversized suit. Cool.
The crowd is sparse but appreciative, and you get the feeling that these are songs you could definitely learn to love with a bit more familiarity. God knows someone needs to do something about all these acoustic-wielding singer-songwriters. Do your duty, Citizen. Let's hope we get to hear the album this time.
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