Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Albert Niland upstairs at Dolans

Albert Niland with Dave Carey at Dolans
 Albert Niland is currently doing a short Irish tour and as we had missed him at the  Island Music Club, Clare  we made the expedition to Dolans for a midweek gig.  He was supported by fellow Galwegian,  Ultan Connolly who sounded pleasant although we just heard a little of him.

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. 

1 comment:

  1. Albert was in Tulla last Saturday night as a guest of the Island Music Club and promoter Frank Hayes. All the elements that made him a compelling performer were evident. The guitar style and skill if anything better than I remembered. There was wry humour in the anecdotes and some new powerful songs. He was supported by Síomha Brock.