Review of his gig in Whelan's, Dublin, June 11th 2002
I entered the venue on Wexford Street to the sound of AC/DC blasting over the PA system. This was a surprise as I had heard Se? play before and knew his set as intimate and acoustic, so where is this going?
You'll have to remember that this was the night that Ireland qualified to the second round of the world cup finals. Half of the crowd had obviously been celebrating for most of the day. I thought that there would be trouble quelling the furore when the music started but the noise disappeared to merely a ripple when special guests 'illyad' began. They were offered the respect they deserved from the crowd. With their well-crafted songs and subtle harmonies they lulled the crowd into their music.
Afterwards Se? stepped up on the stage, looked around and beckoned the rest of his band. The band was slow to join him so Sean played for time by tuning his already tuned guitar until the band made their way to the stage. They were probably as surprised as I was that tonight's show was going to be different. He did not start alone and acoustic as usual but instead the night kicked off with the full band sound of 'Funny How We', 'Mother Mary' and 'Sunday' (which he offered up to the Irish football team who were to play the following Sunday).
He then contrasted all this by bringing the tempo down for a few songs. This looked like it may not work as, by this stage, the spirits were rising - and so were the voices. He introduced the first solo song "This is a song about Northern Ireland and about all the shit that's going on up there" the crowd stopped to listen as he sung from the heart "I don't want my children to grow in a 'PROVINCE WITHOUT A SOUL'". He lightened it up then with a Paul Brady style song about gambling with love and money. Then - with the introduction of the 'REFUGEE' - he raised another serious subject, this time the refugee situation in Ireland.
Following this it was rock upon rock for a solid night's entertainment. And, yes, Se? even admitted to experimenting with his new guitar pedal during the night. This was evident as the core of songs such as 'My Friend', 'Fake' and one of my favourites 'Not Your Doctor'. Throughout the night he did not forget to play his crowd pleasers from his EP such as 'DEAREST YOU' and 'TIRED SLEEPING'. But the entire gig was heavier that usual and all but two songs were played with a full band.
I was curious as to weather this was a change of direction from the acoustic-driven sound so at the end of the night I asked Se? if that was the case. Not quite, as he said himself "I knew after the match that the gig was going to be part of the celebration. There is no change of direction, in fact there is no direction just a time and place for everything and tonight was the time and place for cranking it up a notch".
As the staff stacked the chairs and kicked out the crowd I remembered the name of the AC/DC track coming through the PA at the start of the night 'For Those About to Rock, We Salute?'
Download a freesong by Sean Needham in the CLUAS MP3 section