Hamell on Trial
Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick, March 19th 2002
Ed Hamell, aka Hamell on Trial, made his first visit to Limerick in November, producing one of the most energetic and entertaining performances of the year to a pitiful attendance.
As a result, anticipation was high for his return to Limerick, and indeed the first date of his European tour. The early signs where good with two excellent support slots from Limerick's finest, 22 (who even did a cover of Hamell's "Sugarfree"!) and Niall Quinn (formerly of the Hitchers).
Some of us were a little apprehensive before the gig, wondering could he live up to his early performance, with some punters quipping that if he used the same jokes, they'd finish them for him. However, we should not have feared a thing. Hamell's performance is somewhat unique. The man himself, a bald mid 40s character with an undeniable new yawk twang, pounces around the stage aided by just his acoustic guitar. His stories are predominantly true and witty and sometimes horrifying. In essence, his music is a glorious mix of social commentary and black humour. However, it isn't just the tunes that make Hamell such a live favourite. He tells jokes and stories between songs, and adds to the friendly atmosphere by not using his microphone the whole time. Songs such as "Choochtown", "Joe Brush" and "When Bobby Comes Down" (all taken from his current album "Choochtown") all tell hilarious tales of the seedy, underground world that most of will never experience (Ed used to work in a crack bar after all). Hamell also shows a sensitive side, writing songs about his mother, wife and dead friends.
With about three times the amount of people attending his November show present tonight; the gig is a success on all fronts. It seems that after three studios and one live album that the "trial" has concluded. However, if that stops him from performing live, I'll have to demand a retrial!
Check out a review of Hamell on Trial live in Dublin in November 2001