Sandi Thom: Live at Whelan’s, Dublin

Sandi Thom At Whelans

Sandi Thom At Whelans

As someone who really only knew Sandi Thom for ‘I was I was a Punk Rocker’, I was pleasantly surprised by what the night at Whelan’s had instore.

Starting off we had an acoustic performance by local act The PW Sessions. Not bad, I like their use of percussion, mixing it with vocal harmonies.

Next up was Marcus Bonfonti, a guy who plays a mixture of blues and southern rock. Entertaining and funny as well as being a really good guitarist and vocalist. Great to see him acoustically like this but for some reason I could also see him fronting a band like The Black Crowes. I’d go see him again.

First things first ‘Punk Rocker’ is total not what Sandi Thom is about. Her live set kicked off and to my surprise Sandi Thom is country.  We’re not talking Daniel O’Donnell country here, were talking the equivalent of Rascall Flatts, new American country. What’s more she’s damn good at it.

Thom and her impressive band of musician’s play songs from her new album ‘Merchants & Thieves’ and was quite simply breathtaking. Why Thom isn’t or hasn’t been mentioned in the same sentence as Miranda Lambert, Terri Clark and Carrie Underwood is beyond me.

The new country swagger of her band is infectious and uplifting. It’s reassuring that she gives ‘Punk Rocker’ the country makeover and plays it about 6 songs in and not leave it until the encore like many counterparts would. Thom is definitely in here element here. The song ‘What If’ has a Ryan Adams feel to it and ‘Castles’ vocal harmonies tip a hat to Shania. Thom even throws ‘I Need Your Love So Bad’, a cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic, in for good measure.

The band are joined on stage by Marcus Bonfonti for a version of ‘This Ol’ World’ which she mentions she sings on record with her boyfriend, Joe Bonamassa (She forgets to mention he’s already a guitar legend).

The hoedown party continued to the end of the set with Thom showing off her harmonica skills, she also plays a mean guitar.

The split with RCA/Sony has obviously not harmed at all. She should be bigger than she is. Ms. Thom get your ass to Nashville.

Have a look at some photos from the gig..

Sandi Thom

Sandi Thom in Whelans

Marcus Bonafanti

Marcus Bonafanti in Whelans

The PW Sessions

The PW Sessions in Whelans



  • Corriine Mcmanus

    Im a fan of Country as well Nessy, but i think what i watched at Whelans, albeit a polished enough performance, was an artist who appeared to be playing Blues in an almost cliched fashion. I can actually say i much preferred Marcus Bonfanti (i think you may have misheard his name)I thought his voice amazing and he has a new fan in me.
    As for Sandi still playing these small venues, she had more spent on promotion on her while at her record label than many artists will spend for years to come and this pushed her into the limelight beyond most peoples dreams, she was everywhere on TV and radio even over here in Ireland but still she is playing venues the size she was playing before her success and still not selling them out even though she is a very well known artist. Im not going to even begin to second guess as to why she has problems gaining a larger audience but i left the performance without any feelings whatsoever for Sandi Thom, a bit like leaving a restaurant still hungry if you know what i mean. Still, i wish her every success, Nothing i wrote is a personal attack on her, just an observation on her music/career.


  • nessy

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think you can really say ‘which is why she wise enough to be playing places the size of Whelans and why, looking at her tour schedule, she continues to play the smallest venues across the UK despite being on her 3rd album and still trying to expand her audience.’

    Yes Its her third album but it is also her first independent album without the backing of a major label. Having worked with a different artist as they too were establishing their independence, I know first hand that the biggest thing an artist misses is the marketing and promotion that was previously behind them. That’s why Sandi plays in venues of that size.

    What most musicians want to do anyway is make enough money to record and gig and once they are doing that it enables them to do the next record.

    Yes, there are a lot of good singers in Nashville but I do feel that the US is probably a better market for Sandi. This side of the Atlantic seems to have some kind of negative connotations with country music.

    I happen to listen to a lot of new American Country and if you listen to a music station like you’ll find Sandi Thom would fit right in there.


  • Corriine Mcmanus

    We were at Whelans as well to see Sandi Thom and although she was pleasant enough i wasnt impressed enough to buy the merchandise. Middle of the road blues/country is where i would place her.
    No doubt the girl has a voice but if you listen to her lyrics they are decidedly awful and surrounding herself with good musicians and backing vocalists was something of a saving grace at her gig.
    Nashville will swallow Sandi Thom whole, there are girl singers like her in every bar and music venue which is why she wise enough to be playing places the size of Whelans and why, looking at her tour schedule, she continues to play the smallest venues across the UK despite being on her 3rd album and still trying to expand her audience.

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