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17/01/08 IN WHELANíS

On Thursday the 17th of January, I ventured into Whelanís to get a close-up of 'More Tiny Giants', a motley crew of lads headed by the fun and spunky lead singer Paul Finan. I had become familiar with their music through the link on IU and I watched a crazy home video of Paul singing 'Pirate Circus'.

'Murder of Crows' and 'Amazing few' were the first two bands on. I arrived during the 2nd bandís slot. There was a great atmosphere already in the place as the lead singer of this band who reminded me a little of Elvis Costello, sang some great numbers backed by a pretty girl attired in fancy dress as a nurse. I counted eight people on stage, making a really appealing sound consisting of lead, bass, drums, 2 singers and a brass section of Trombone and both tenor and alto sax. The lead singer had a great voice and a great way of getting the audience involved and in party mood!

After a brief interval, 'More Tiny Giants' took to the stage. The first number of the evening, 'The heebie jeebies' was one I hadnít heard. I enjoyed it thoroughly. An echo-style feedback from Paulís mike created a cool effect and an outstanding lead guitar solo was played on a semi solid guitar by Stevie.

The chords in this song are catchy and I particularly noticed Rianís gutsy input of bass riffs throughout.

'I DONíT LIKE FORMULAS' was next. This starts with a thumping three four tempo, develops into a screaming anthem Ė style song with sweet memorable lead solos, gorgeous chords and plucky guitar throughout the verse, which riveted me to the spot for certain!

After the second chorus, Stevie did an amazing lead solo once again, then we were brought back into the three four tempo again to bring this outstanding number to a close.
The atmosphere in the place was electric, the crowd shouting out lyrics of most songs and the performance seemed to go on non-stop. I felt adrenalin pumping through my veins.

'Tom Barry and Mary' was third and although Iíd heard it on-line, thereís nothing quite like seeing the band perform such a catchy and adorable melody in which the whole of the audience (and myself) sung along with Paul. The refrain of 'Iím going by you hoo' is contagious and you have to join in. The unexpected change of pace that seems to be a signature of MTG, occurs to liven you up again. A galloping beat, heightens the intensity and you can see that the lads enjoy performing this song just as much as everyone listening! Paul played fast and furious guitar rhythm and the bass player got a chance to show off a little, which he did. He and the lead guitarist did some backing vocals towards the finish which involves a gradual build up with a refrain of 'Go sister go sister'! You feel the build up to the inevitable BIG STOP!

Paul at this point introduced each member of the band, mentioning the absence of Jeff, the drummer and commending Oisin, who was stepping in in his place. A cheer of approval went up for him and a very special round of applause went up for the suffering Jeff who stood up front watching the proceedings which must have been painful along with his broken foot, since it was turning out to be a terrific gig!

'YOU WANNA SELL' was fourth in the line-up and was ten times better live than on-line. Itís brilliant with a catchy three chord theme running through the whole number. The highlight of this song for me was the sense of unity between bass and lead guitarists. These guys are so polished and confident; itís exiting to watch them do their thing. Paul gives a lot of energy to the proceedings, playing an electric guitar in this number. This shows he is a man of many talents along with his unique and appealing style of singing. For me this style of song would bring to mind a little of the cheekiness of Mick Jagger combined with more up-to- the minute groundbreaking bands. However More Tiny Giants are a genre devoid of predictability and the catchy little harmonies and slight wild western cowboy lilt to each melody give them an edge that make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck!

The lead guitarist did lovely backing vocals in the chorus. This song got a huge response from the crowd which is not surprising.

'BUXTON BLUES' is slow and folksy at the beginning. With a lovely melody line and a faster rap-style chorus, it was popular with the audience. The whole place was alive and most people joined in with this song as in almost all of them, which to me is a testimony to good song -writing. Thatís the thing about MTG. They make you get in the party mood and they donít need all the palaver of fancy introductions to each number. They just get on with producing a great nightís entertainment. The chorus is just so enjoyable with a rap being belted out by the rest of the lads while Paul sings it. This song is a classic!
When Paul made an occasional comment between songs, I couldnít help noticing how soft spoken and nice he comes across, despite the Mohawk and several facial piercings.
He has such charisma and unwavering showmanship, he won me over anyway!

Because they played straight from one number into the next, it was hard to determine if they were finished the last song, or starting a new one. However, this was a rap with an upbeat choppy tempo. The chorus was sung by the whole band giving a full sound and adding great dynamics.

'HEROES AND BUILDINGS' is something of a rhapsody what with such a combination of beats, styles and almost like two or three songs injected into one number. It starts off with a slowly sung intro with a soulful, sorrowful style to build up to a choppy up-beat verse. Paul has an amazing range here. The catchy lead riffs are extremely artful and exciting. You here some amazing screaming solos throughout along with an unerring expertise by the drummer (guest drummer on this occasion), who manages to bring your pulse way up with thumping fast rhythm to slinky, sexy staccatos then back to the slow soulful refrain!

'SIN MR. JOHANN' has a slow romantic intro with a change of pace much like itís predecessors but it has this amazing beat like a runaway train when it does move into the faster tempo. In this number the Bass and Lead Guitarists did a bit of monkeying about, facing each other down with their guitars. However the star of this one was the lead guitar with some pretty nifty bits of lead filtering through that couldnít be ignored!

There was a little break, where the guys played a few chords and seemed to be tuning up. Then SUDDENLY the familiar and popular intro of 'WOLVES AT THE DOOR' rang out with screeches of approval from the crowd. All the lads sang the chorus and the atmosphere was just out of this world!
This song is by far my favourite. The place was throbbing from wall to wall and I know anytime I think of More Tiny Giants, that moment will stand out in my mind.
This slinky, seductive and beautifully composed song will be their signature tune with the creepy intro, the haunting melody and the feeling that something dangerous and threatening is closing in.
The lead guitar, the big thunderous chords, the bashing drums and the gutsy bass throughout are showstopping. This isnít a song. Itís a phenomenon!

Paul thanked everyone for coming and paid tribute, yet again to poor hobbling Jeff. A big 'AHH' went up for him from the crowd. Then the last number was introduced- 'PIRATE CIRCUS' and he asked the audience to shout out lots of piraty 'Arrrghs'. Itís such a crazy IN YOUR FACE number, with pluck and personality, with a piraty feel just like youíre sailing the briny as you clap along. What a perfect choice to bring a perfect gig to a close!

Angela Macari-OíLooney

Review written by: Angela Macari-OíLooney --

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