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DeXtra, RedKid, Bluetide, Ballymun Shopping Center, June 2003

Stunning. That?s how we describe the finale to the IrishUnsigned show at the Ballymun family fun day. Opened by the excellent Bluetide, who were joined for some numbers by Brewster Hamilton, and later by Santoria singer Lyndsey, the gig commanded the attention of anyone lucky enough to be there. Songs included original material such as the excellent 'In the city' and the crowd really began to rock with Johnny B. Goode and Lady Marmalade.

During the change-round between bands we were lucky enough to be entertained by some of the younger bands in Ballymun who will hopefully benefit by the groundwork done by their contemporaries. 'Faze' weighed in with a few songs, as did 'Storm'.

Visiting band 'Red Kid' took to the stage after a short break and soon had the audience showing their appreciation. Numbers like "I Believe" and the unusual but very listenable "Soup" were easy enough on the ear for those gathered in front of the small stage to enjoy. 'Red Kid' themselves certainly seemed to enjoy the set and may well have won a fan or three after this performance.

Following a brief interlude for a photo-shoot with the Lord Mayor and other local dignitaries, DeXtra took to the stage to close the event. Showing the Politicians a thing or two, Declan Grange of DeXtra was soon leaning over the barrier to kiss a baby in the audience. Despite the noise and the terror of Mr. Grange in full voice, the baby didn't cry. Perhaps an omen for a good show?

After their first number, when they were still feeling out the mood of the audience, DeXtra rocked into top gear, and electrifying it was. New addition to the band Jimmy Kearney (who also features in a solo capacity on "Scene Unheard", IrishUnsigned?s first release due out in July) showed that he has certainly added depth and maturity to the DeXtra sound, especially in the electric guitar riffs he has seamlessly fit into existing DeXtra classics like "Feelin' Blue" and "Ross 'n' John?

As the set went on, people began to come from the rest of the Shopping Centre to witness this - DeXtra on home turf - and soon there was well over 400 in front of the stage as Deco led them in chorusses of "Ballymun, Ballymun...". Finishing with an encore performance of "Ross 'n' John", DeXtra once again proved why IrishUnsigned once called them "Possibly the best live band around" for their sheer entertainment value.

All in all, it was a good return to Ballymun for IrishUnsigned. Even the Sound Engineers were impressed. Speaking of Shane from Bluetide, the engineer/producer said "I'd love to get him into a Studio". I better say nothing on that! Of DeXtra, both engineers expressed their delight at the show, at the energy, at the crowd-interaction and at the overall entertainment factor that these guys seem able to put into a show with little or no added effort.

Review written by: Ron Healy -- ron@irishunsigned.com

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