The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Gemma Hayes (live in Tripod, Dublin)

Review Snapshot: Despite the distraction of events elsewhere, Hayes and her band of merry men were able to put on a really impressive gig that showcased the Tipperary native as one of Ireland's brightest talents.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:Gemma Hayes Live
Anyone who reads my Key Notes Blog will know that I wasn't too sure about reviewing this gig.  After all, a certain European Cup semi-final was taking place at the same time and was pulling at my heartstrings.  However, despite missing out on Manchester United's victory, I made the right call by attending tonight's gig.

Initially I was worried that the gig might not be well attended as the crowd - most of whom decided to forgo Ann Scott's performance for the action at Old Trafford - were late getting in.  More fool them.  Scott is a competent performer with a haunting voice that was particularly impressive on set opener 'Jealousy'.  What let her down tonight though was the lack of a band.  Her guitar playing was not strong enough to support her voice and it was only at the end of her 5 song set, when she introduced a drum machine, that it really felt like she owned the stage.  Still, Tripod is a big venue to face when it's half empty and she did a good job warming up the crowd that had turned up.

Having never seen Gemma Hayes live before, my jaw dropped to the floor when she walked on stage tonight, but not for the reason you might think.  Hayes was accompanied on stage tonight by a veritable 'who's who' of the Irish indie scene.  

With such an impressive troupe around her, Hayes could hardly fail to impress.  However, it would be unfair give all the credit to her illustrious band as tonight Hayes provides them with excellent songs with which to work.  Opening with crowd favourite 'Happy Sad', Hayes and band launched into a lively 13 song set.  Aware of what was also taking place tonight, Hayes thanked the crowd, consisting mostly of mid-twenty year old women and their partners, for turning up tonight and even asked what the score was at one stage.

Highlights of the evening included new song 'Out of Our Hands' and 'Over My Head' ('Can you see a theme developing?' she asked) which were played back to back and showcased an impressive vocal range.  The only time the crowd really lost any interest tonight was during 'Home' a song taken from Hayes' new album 'The Hollow of Morning' which was unfortunately timed with the sound of hundreds of text messages announcing the result of the match.  However, obviously happy with the result, ther crowd soon picked up again during the performance of 'Back of My Hand'.

Overall, Gemma Hayes is very easy to like.  Her interaction with the crowd, while frequent, never strays into the Glen 'This song's about' Hansard range.  As a performance it's virtually flawless.  The only complaint I could have is that it finished very early, slightly after 10.  What ever happened to rock and roll; staying out all night, even if it is a school night!  However, that should not take away from Hayes', and indeed her bands, talent.  Gig of the year (so far) for me. 

Steven O'Rourke

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Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited to read this very article.