Last night, Spousal Unit and I went to a wonderful concert. He'd had his eye on Slide, the band, for a couple of weeks, and wanted so much to see them that we actually wrote it on the calendar. (Usually, the only things on there are birthdays and Spousal Unit's thesis achievement stars - bronze through gold.)
They were well worth the wait. The five guys are from various parts of Ireland, and they are incredibly talented, playing at least ten instruments between them during the show, including several flutes, a concertina, and lots of stringed stuff. At first, Spousal Unit and I didn't see any percussion - not until someone started playing the bodhrán, an Irish hand-held drum. They didn't play it for every song, and didn't need to; other instruments kept the beat quite well, along with the audience's clapping.
About 20 minutes into the show, they asked us each to make our "special noise" for them - "You know, everyone's got that one noise they like to make." I chose a bellydancer's yip (which you can hear at the beginning of this video). The rest of the show felt radically different. The entire crowd would randomly make their noise when a song started heating up, and it made everything so much more vibrant and exciting - the crowd's energy was lively and made the music even more exciting.
Their instrumental pieces were incredible, but being an English major, I remember and can describe the songs with lyrics much better.
Their lead singer, Dave Curley, is incredible. His voice is unique and touching. Two songs he sang last night made me cry at the beauty of them: Follow On and a new one they'd never done for an audience. The new one, The Pleasure Will Be Mine, was about a man on the verge of losing his job, wanting to take off for new parts. The chorus goes:
If you come with me to Ventry
Willie says to Caroline,
I would have a happy heart
The pleasure will be mine, she says
The pleasure will be mine.
It makes me think of when Spousal Unit came out here, and my later decision to follow him. One of the best decisions I've ever made, despite all the homesickness. That song, being one of their new ones, isn't on one of their albums yet, but check out the versions by Sean Keane and Alan Reid in the meantime.
Follow On called on more of the band, featuring Dave again. Who, by the way, is pretty good looking - Spousal Unit agrees - and there's a poll on their website where you can choose the most attractive band member. Dave is in the lead right now, just behind Éamonn de Barra, who looks incredibly like a certain red-bearded friend of ours from back home.
Anyway, Follow On had more backup vocals to it and more instrumentation, and was the song that sealed the deal for me (five minutes into the show) that we needed one of their CDs. It's on their live CD, and the lyrics that really got me were:
For the open road is waiting
Like the song
We will welcome what tomorrow has to bring
Take my hand
And we'll walk the road together
I won't mind
If it turns out that we never find the end
All I ask is that you want me for a friend
I highly recommend you get their CDs, but I recommend even more that you see them live. The energy in their live performance makes their songs even more endearing - especially after seeing Daire Bracken's mad dancing throughout.