|Albert Niland with Dave Carey at Dolans|
Albert, looking like a actor from a French Cop movie bounded on stage, plugged in his Spanish guitar and served up a flamenco infused set of very attractive songs to energetic and skilful guitar accompaniment holding his guitar mariachi style high up against his chest . I particularly enjoyed the 1930's World War 2 anthem (I'll Be Seeing You Sammy Fain and Irving Kamal ) with his improvisational guitar style adding a distinctive stamp, making the rendition very much his own and unlike any of the many other covers.
Albert switched to steel string guitar for the second set of songs from his new album Hungry Ghost with the occasional cover . His version of Wuthering Heights is well known I believe . I was reminded of hearing the Ukelele Orchestra's quirky rendition of this unlikely modern classic . Something in his vocal delivery reminded me of Freddie White and I was not surprised to read later that Niland quotes him as an influence. Like Freddie , he is not afraid to mine the archives for old songs and his Autumn Leaves was lovely with subtle accompaniment . It helps particularly with a solo artist to have a player capable of entertaining with generous instrumental interludes to allow both the voice and audience some breathing space between the vocals. Niland gave interesting glimpses into his travelling lifestyle and his rocky path through the music business in his stage patter and this wasn't overdone and did give you some context for the songs . There was genuine sustained applause for an encore when he was joined by Dave Carey and there was a respectable few moments of calm before the house lights went on .
We enjoyed the gig and felt it was well worth the excursion from Ennis and at €12 it was great value . I felt the first set of songs were overamplified, robbing the Spanish guitar of some of it's silky effect . I felt he might have taken a short break between the sets to allow the audience a chance to move around . I loved the neat electronic bass drum pedal, used with admirable restraint . The venue is a good size for an intimate gig.* Wishing Albert Niland well on his tour and we will keep an eye on his gig listings and we look forward to hearing him in the West again before too long.
Note to Dolan's there are not that many comfy seats and the ones that are there are not used to full effect . I suggest some of the seats lining the room are moved away from the sides and placed around the tables where people can get get their bums on them . There were several people standing because it was just too awkward to get in at the free chairs which would have put them in shoulder rubbing proximity to fellow gig goers. I don't think I would fancy sitting on one of the stools for the night and my days of standing up to hear anyone are over.