The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Imelda May (live in The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland)

Imelda May live in DubinReview Snapshot: For such a small woman, Imelda May has a huge presence, controlling not only the stage but the crowds sense of control as well, with everyone losing control alongside her. The queen of Rockabilly has returned to her home town and no sense of grandeur following her rise to the top  is going to pull this girl from her roots.

The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10

Full Review: Coming back to Dublin after a year of commercial success with critical praise and international stardom, one could fear that Imelda May could have lost sight of where it all began. She hasn’t.

Catching the first of four end of the year shows in the Olympia Theatre, a venue I have called once before a place of faded grandeur, where better to let your hair down and revel in your success.
May comes out on the stage showing off what she’s known best for, her style, charisma, an insurmountable surge of talent and that jaw dropping quiff. May’s got a look of determination on her face as she takes the stage setting out to prove that success doesn’t make you lazy.
Almost every song that was played has this unparalleled potential to take the charts by storm from the very sultry ‘Big Bad Handsome Man’ to the incredulous strains of ‘Psycho’. Not giving the crowd a break from their singing and dancing to catch a breath before moving into the rigorous ‘Sneaky Freak’ and then pulling it all back with her on stylised version of Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’ May proves she knows how to keep the crowd coming back for more.
Frantic bass lines and the trickiest of hooks and solos, May’s band know their place on the stage, holding back and letting her take the full stage for what it’s worth, letting the crowd see what they have truly paid to see: a spectacle of true musical talent. 
The jubilant mood only increases throughout the night as May aims to entertain not only the crowd but also her parents, who she only noticed watching her from the balcony part way through the show.
The set ended in the only way one could expect. An all out true Rockabilly performance of ‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’. But this couldn’t be the end could it? Of course not. Returning to the stage with a seasonal Santa style dress, May treats the crowd to an encore of Christmas songs to get them ready for the coming holiday. You haven’t heard Christmas until you’ve heard ‘Holy Night’ Rockabilly, and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ in true Rockabilly style with a barrage of billowing fake plastic snow. 
A fantastic end to a fantastic year for this queen of Rockabilly who can only expect better more to come in the New Year.
Greg Synnott


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