Isaac Butt, Dublin, 5 August 1999
Yep, Damien Dempsey used to be known as just 'Dempsey' and he is the guy who
had that single 'Dublin Town' out two years ago that got saturation play on 2FM.
I heard the single, didn't like it, and wrote Dempsey off as some half-assed Dublin
rap version of Christy Moore.
I saw him since a few times at the Tuesday night singer-songwriter thing in the International Bar and was astonished. He was head and shoulders above all the other acts (including my humble self). The man has presence - all he had to do was stand up on the stage and he had everyone's attention. He brought the house down every time.
Dempsey's focus is not in on himself, but outwards - on his (girl)friends, his community, his fellow human beings and you - not the abstract I-love-you 'you' of commercial rock, but YOU the person who is reading this. No navel gazing going on in his songs. He has something to say.
And at the Isaac Butt last night I could have sat and listened to him say it all night. His voice, his words, his heartbreaking, spine-tingling melodies. I left with his tunes in my head, a big grin on my face and a warm feeling in my chest. Honest to god. You cannot afford to miss him next time he plays.