Photos: AetherLight Photography
Gardiner Music’s new series of live music nights in Whelan’s continues with Waterford’s The Dead Heavys. Opening group The Mantells are from Manchester and are touring their new EP Can't Stop Won't Stop.
Drummer Lewis Moran sings harmonies with lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Barrow, while Dale Moran rocks a sexy looking 5-string Ibanez bass with gusto. He gets up on a nearby table during ‘Payday Playboys’ and the whole band deliver a cover of Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’ that gets the whole joint grooving. Barrow’s songs owe a debt to hometown heroes’ Oasis and The La’s and the tunes are short and to the point. They could do well here.
Gardiner Music’s Caoimhe Ní Riagain takes the stage to remind us that gig is in aid of SVP’s homelessness campaign, raising awareness and funds for the organisation, and that they are releasing a single called ‘Shelter’ by Katie Jenkinson for the cause.
The Dead Heavys are a six piece groove band with a dedicated percussionist driving the funky tunes. The Waterford sextet have three vocalists singing over some super groovy bass. The drums and percussion keep the vibe going between the rhythm-lead songs. They have a Spin Doctors vibe with Britpop-sized choruses. Their debut EP was produced by Jagz Kooner and there’s talk of an imminent album release to follow.
The keyboardist toys with atmospheric samples leading into current single ‘Lazarus’ before his piano takes over for the upbeat dance intro. The two guitarists harmonise like Crowded House’s Finn brothers on the next song and the trumpet comes out for the elegiac outro, an outro that quickly changes time and becomes a Mescalero’s version of ‘She's So Heavy.’ It's a brave move by any non-ska group to feature the trumpet so prominently but The Dead Heavys have understandable confidence in their abilities, individually and as a group. It's tricky enough to write a decent song, trickier again to make music that gets people dancing. The ability to do both simultaneously is a rare talent and should be treasured when it is found. Even through the thick funk rock fug, layered vocal lines reminiscent of José Gonzalez break through and elevate these songs from generic dance sludge. These guys are on another level.