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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Turner Pierces Gloom & Hawley at the Savoy

Pierce Turner in Cork     
Arriving at the Savoy Theatre in Cork, I thought maybe I had happened up on a Civil Defence troupe on  night manoeuvres given the marked security presence in position front of house.  Expecting a rowdy clientele,  I was somewhat disappointed to find  the audience attending the Richard Hawley gig at the recently reopened venue were quite a sedate, middle aged, predominantly male crowd.  The Sheffield entertainer  cut an inky,  sombre figure dressed all in black, in  drainpipe jeans and leather jacket .  Standing  on the stage end of a balcony ( yes  be warned those of us who are no longer young - it is standing only at this venue), I noted that  Hawley's feet  were embedded in a semi  circle of two  dozen  or so foot pedals, sockets and goodness knows what other high tech accoutrements.  The vibe was mellow, almost hypnotic. His baritone voice is rich, treacly and rather soothing. The band, a quartet of  guitars with drums were smartly dressed in dark  suits and exuded an aura of being far too cool to move to much  from  their static pose and the audience seemed almost reverential observers. Adding to the trancey ambiance, a  rather unusual  effect  highlighted in neon light the  lower half of the people standing at the glass balconies, almost like those swimming pool widows in theme park restaurants, revealing lines of blue jeaned and legging clad limbs.  Vaguely disconcerting!  Half way through the set there was a tap on my shoulder as a security guard  told me that 'Sitting on the floor is  'Verboten' at the Savoy.

Richard Hawley

On the other side a of town , the mood on Douglas Road  was anything but mellow and detached as Wexford singer and one man band extraordinaire Pierce Turner was whipping up  the crowd in the back room of Coughlan's Pub. Turner, an unorthodox figure has the rugged look of a man who would be as comfortable at the wheel of a tractor as striking a stage pose.  . Referencing all sorts of musical styles  from the sacred to the profane in his songs, always with a sense of humour and a soupcon of irony,  Turner  was exuberant, fun and the atmosphere was terrific.   Blessed with  a rather fine tenor voice and  a firm sustained legato vocal style  owing something to liturgical influences, I suspect. There was a strong choral element to the songs and the audience sang along  with gusto in the refrains, You could imagine some of the songs working very well on the terraces. A flick through his biography suggests he has had an fascinating musical journey including hooking up with Philip Glass (see below). Why have.I not heard more of him.?   He is surely a national treasure and as good as some of the other lauded music stars we hear about.Cognoscenti in the audience included Ger Wolfe and bassist Paul Frost and Mick Hannigan of Cork Film Festival and Andrew Desmond of Whazon Cork  My pick for solo gig of the year without a doubt . Shannon region promoters, take note and  bring him this  direction soon please!

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