Martin Finke and Ian Whitty
Review of their gig in Whelan's, Monday 19th August 2002
It feels somehow apt that this gig took place at the end of (our non-existent)
summer. At a time when shadows would normally be lengthening as the chilly
evenings took hold of the days, the two musicians who played tonight gave us
true, simple music to wrap ourselves in, and make us feel warm inside.
Both Ian and Martin travelled for tonight's gig. Martin having come home from his stay in the States, and Ian up from Killarney. The sense of place in both their songs is strong, identifiable markers of the influence held by Dublin and Kerry respectively. This connection meant the two performers complimented each other, and blended together giving us images of domesticity, and of love.
Ian played first, his distinctive voice and evocative lyrics grabbing the audiences attention. One song (which had echoes of Dylan's "Last Thoughts on Woody Gutherie" in parts) was recited instead of sung, as he claimed to have never found the chords to suit it? The actions of a brave man, as Whelan's audiences generally aren't known for their patience and attention span. However (as throughout the whole evening) the only sounds that could be heard apart from the musicians were pints being pulled, and cars passing outside.
Martin's unassuming manner on stage belies his strong imagery. Wordy songsmiths tend to be frowned upon these days, but Martin has an ability to use phrases that astound you, for example "a few more years of this and my life will be full of untended upended stories that straddle a decade of ruin" from 'Lament for a locksmith'. He used his lengthy set to good effect, taking songs from his various releases such as Cast in Old Cast Iron and Let It Ring. He was also unafraid to throw in covers diverse as a Lou Barlow song, the traditional "Parting Glass" (sung acapella with Lara), and the closing song of the evening, the Wedding Present's Octopussy. Martin hopes to have his next album (studio based this time apparently!) out by February 2003. Keep an eye out for it.