Doyle's, Dublin, 15 June 2004
Featuring Juno Falls, Ellison 9, Stand and Carus Thompson
Not a breath of air whispered through the open windows and the balmy summer
evening was perfect for sitting back and letting the acoustic melodies wash over
you. Following the Germany versus Holland Euro 2004 match we moved upstairs and
found couches in a cosy corner at the back of the room. The venue is like a
comfortable sitting room with a stage at the front, soft muted lighting and
rich, red velvet curtains add a certain Twin Peaks charm. The atmosphere was
relaxed and a hush fell on the room as soon as the MC took to the stage to
introduce the first performer, Aussie singer-songwriter Carus Thompson.
Carus, who relocated from Western Australia to East in order to pursue his music career, had just come off a tour in Germany where he developed a touch of tonsillitis. It didn't seem to affect him too much, though he did say that his sober state for the previous few days while on medication had been a unique experience. He had a sound similar to fellow countrymen The Waifs (with whom he has toured) with a blend of country, reggae and folk styles peppering his songs. With his check shirt, stubble and tousled hair he was every inch the typical Aussie singer. Between his songs he had an easygoing manner and chatted away adding his own unique New South Wales reggae beat to 'Gonna Leave this town' a song built around a phrase he learned from a dying man. Another highlight was 'Tall Buildings' the first song he wrote when he arrived in Melbourne.
Juno Falls, who are currently touring to promote their new album 'Starlight Drive', took to the stage and had to inhale deeply to fit the entire band on. Their lush vocal-focused songs were in the vein of Turin Brakes especially 'Weightless' which started out with a beautiful harmony. It's perfect summer music, softly strummed guitar chords and haunting voices with lead singer Myles allowing you to drift away on songs that included 'This song is your own', 'Starlight Drive' and 'Headlights'. I've been listening to the album almost non-stop since I saw them.
Next up was Stand, a four-piece from Tallaght who are now based in New York. There was a big contingent out to support them and they were due to headline but due to Ellison 9's transport problems played next. Only two of the band performed, Neil Eurelle on vocals and bass and Alan Doyle on vocals and guitar, but their layered harmonies really stood out. The other band members were in transit apparently somewhere over the Atlantic and without them the songs which would normally have the crowd on their feet rocking were given an acoustic, mellowed out treatment which had the room swaying in time instead. They finished up their set with 'Little Sweet Lucifer', which is a really catchy tune. With three albums under their belt their professionalism shone through and they deservedly got a great reaction from the crowd.
Unfortunately there was a somewhat of an anti-climax for Ellison 9 and a few people left before their set. Problems with the sound didn't help and the female vocalist could barely be heard over the rest of the band. The venue suits smaller collectives and they might have benefited from a couple of less band members on stage.
The weekly Ruby Sessions in Doyle's are in aid of the Simon Community has been running for the last 5 years and has seen the likes of Damien Rice, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Gemma Hayes and many more well-known Irish and International performers grace its stage. Definitely worth checking out. More info onwww.rubysessions.com.