I’ll be honest, for the past number of years, I’ve avoided the Dublin city centre on St Patrick’s Day. So when I got an invitation to Jameson Live, I was curious to see what was going on but slightly hesitant at the thoughts of facing St Patrick’s night in the city.
Heading into The Academy, where the event was taking place, it was quite apparent that this was an event, it wasn’t just a gig. The entrance had been transformed and walking down the hallway, myself and my companion were handed a drink and a burger token each. Nice touch. A pass to the cordoned off bar upstairs meant we got a nice seat on the balcony and a perfect view of the stage, which had been fantastically transformed for the night. A stone like wall with an embedded video screen behind where the band would play was flanked by wooden barrels on either side, very old school distillery. As the crowd waited for the first band to start. We were offered the aforementioned burgers, my meat eating companion is still talking about how good it was.
The Cast of Cheers were first up and it takes the crowd a couple of tracks to get into it with the band noting that the crowd were ‘a reserved bunch but a great bunch’. Throughout their set, the band show themselves to be competent musicians but Kevin Curran stands out as a potential drumming god. Alongside recent singles ‘Animals’ and ‘Trucks at night’ they play some new material with ‘Closest Friend You Have’ having an early eighties ska reggae feel. They finish their set with the title track from their album, ‘Family’. Good solid performance, looking forward to hearing more of their new material.
Jape are up next and add to what is gearing up to be a line up with extreme danceability. The audience are now well on course for a good night and ‘Movement’ immediately wins them over with it’s seriously contagious rhythm and refrains. In line with the day that’s in it, the three piece, lead by Richie Egan, have some green hats thrown in their direction, which are worn for a time. Jape are a solid act and have their stage show down to a fine art with the perfect balance of songs in the right place at the right time. ‘Floating’ grabs everyone’s attention but it’s understated intro but when the guitar lines kick in, the whole place kicks off. Finishing off the set with ‘The Oldest Mind’ and ‘Scorpio’, Jape leave the audience hanging, wanting more. Fantastic set from one of Ireland’s premier musical acts.
With two greats acts having already graced the Academy stage and a waiting audience already partying, Bombay Bicycle Club have big shoes to fill to continue the trend. I shouldn’t have worried, from the opening notes of ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’, the audience were in the palm of the London band’s palm. Live, the band’s numbers swell to six for certain songs, availing of extra keys/guitar and Amber Wilson’s vocals. Lead singer, Jack Steadman, has a certain look leading me to think that he went to public school and was always one of the good boys. It seems good boys can put on quite a show. Even for outsider who may not be acquainted with the band, and that can happen at events like this, Bombay Bicycle Club are immediately accessible. Even if you don’t know all their songs or lyrics, you can dance to the band, handy in converting new fans.
Having a back catalogue of three albums means BBC’s set is turned into something of a greatest hits, with songs from their first single, ‘Evening/Morning’ to last year’s ‘Beg’ getting an airing. It’s also a testament to how their career has progressed since their debut EP release in 2007.
Stand out tracks for this punter were ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’, with its slow disco feel and ‘Ivy and Gold’, and uptempo track which defies you not to move. The band themselves describe it best as they introduce it with ‘Are you ready for a hoedown?’ Dublin apparently was, as the crowd goes nuts. Like The Cast of Cheers, Bombay Bicycle Club take the opportunity to play some new material and promise that as soon as the album is done, they’ll be straight back to Ireland. ‘Carry Me’ is an uplifting dance track, putting BBC in a place where the have become indie music’s Faithless. More of
As Bombay Bicycle Club leave the stage, they’ve lived up to expectations and together with Jape and The Cast of Cheers have provided us with a great night’s entertainment. As an event, the Academy looked amazing, it was a well run event and the burger idea begs to question why more events don’t have food available, especially over the course of a long night. If Jameson continue to grow their ‘Live’ nights with events of this caliber, they’ll be known for more than their whiskey.