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Dali, Hoarsebox, Thomas Kitt The Button Factory, 17/07/08

Dali, with Hoarsebox and Thomas Kitt

At the Button Factory.


I missed an opportunity to go and see 'Dali' last month and made a promise to myself not to miss their next gig. Although they weren't headlining for this gig it was still a chance for me to experience this exciting and fresh band live!
It was a fine evening and I arrived at the time advertised. However there was some sound checking going on and the guy on the door asked people to come back in a half an hour. I hung around nearby and noticed a bunch of young people outside the Art Gallery around the corner busking. They had a lot of musical equipment and looked as if they were en route to a gig. They were sitting on the kerbside singing with one guy playing an acoustic guitar. The atmosphere was electric and just as I was actually beginning to enjoy myself, I looked at my watch and realised how much time had passed.
So back around the corner I headed, to be greeted by the charming and friendly Sean Doyle at the entrance. It was nice to be talking to the face behind that amazing lead guitar, that so far I'd only heard on-line and on c.d. Inside I met Deirdre and the rest of the lads, all so young yet each one brilliant at their craft. Deirdre looks so young for someone with such a gutsy and mature voice. But she has to be the best female vocalist I've heard for a long time. Describing the unique and up-beat style of this band's music is as difficult as putting into words, the works of the great artist 'Dali' with which they share their name. An enigma!
The first set was performed by a guy with an acoustic guitar, Thomas Kitt. He had a tough job considering the place was almost empty. However he was very entertaining. He was a late addition to the night's programme so it meant a little bit of tightening up for the other two acts.
'Dali' handled this skilfully, wasting no time and got straight into their set with 'Think before you think'. Deirdre seemed in top form even though the audience was small. This wonderful number sounded even better live than on c.d. With a gorgeous riff and lovely chords in the intro, Deirdre then came in with the verse with her husky but sweet and appealing voice. The chorus is particularly nice and as she sang the words 'I feel good tonight' it seemed an appropriate description of the mood already prevailing at this gig, which was shaping up to become a great night. Sean Doyle's lead solo was fabulous as a bit of dry ice created a bit of mysterious mist to the scene on-stage. My friends arrived during this song and as they sat down I could see they were impressed. 'Dali' were giving it their all, despite the small turnout.
'Keep a lid on it' was second. This number has a short build up with a sweet little riff going on as the verse begins. Being from the older generation of music buffs, I myself think of Chrissie Hinde from the Pretenders when I hear this outstanding singer, but this band also have leanings towards a modern sound such as Sonic Youth. In this lovely song, Sean does fabulous lead and there's a bashing, rocky beat to give it plenty of oomph! Micky Cullen on bass is very involved here too. With a catchy chorus and that special something that gives this band their own original sound, they came to the end of this number and got a big applause from the still quite small audience.
Deirdre introduced the third song, 'Let your head go' as one they hadn't played live before. It starts with a little riff played by Deirdre herself. This one is punchy and alive and I absolutely love it!
They really need a big crowd for it though and I felt an overwhelming urge to jump up on the floor and hop about, but without a crowd to get lost in, I thought better of it. The bass in this is noticeable as Micky does a solo and of course Sean does his usual flawless riffs and hooks and a screaming but short solo. The drums were fantastic too with Brian Dempsey breathing life into this and every number. This number is short and sweet but got a terrific reaction from the punters.
'With you' has a cheeky intro with bass once again very audible. Catchy chord combinations are the main attraction here and Sean really getting to shine once again, with a great solo and a slice of distortion added into the mix. This one had a short sharp finish.
The song from the very successful E.P '27 Years' was next. Starting with rhythmic chords this is a great number. With lovely oohs and a gorgeous melody, it's by far my favourite. Sean stealing the show with his solos seems to be a trait of 'Dali' and Deirdre herself plays amazing guitar. A lovely rhythm goes on and gradually the dynamics build up as a loud thumping drumbeat brings you up to a huge explosion for the chorus. The last verse is sweet again and harmony adds life to it. Then the chorus is back with its fast, lively beat.
'No job, no money' – As this bouncy song took off I felt that Deirdre was really getting into her stride. Between each verse there's a nice riff. I love the tempo of this one and there's a particularly sweet middle eight. A fairly intricate solo is what makes this number and despite its shortness I really enjoyed it.
'Lights go down' was second last. This begins with a soft guitar behind a softly sung verse. It builds up to a throbbing chorus with lots of vibration and anthemic –style chords throughout with yet another superb solo and constant choppy rhythm behind.
Last but not least was a wonderfully lively number – 'Waisted'. As in all of their songs this included punchy riffs, a delectable melody and all the necessary ingredients to make you want to hear more. However, with the fact that the crowd which was still quite small building up and 'Hoarsebox' on next, they finished their set.
My friends went off to have a smoke and I stayed on to watch this loud and extremely lovely bunch of lads and was so glad I'd come along when they took to the stage. This was a nice lush dessert of harmony-laden and up-beat songs, after the main course of punchy rhythmic melodies I'd just heard!

Their first number 'Seahorse' began with a cheeky riff intro on lead guitar followed by the verse sung by the lead guitarist Philip Broadberry. Bass and lead did close harmony as the lead vocalist, Johnny Holden sang the chorus. They do these amazing discords then go into sweet major chords and the beautiful contrast is just unbelievably sweet. The lead solo is nice and simple and the crowd by now began to build up and move towards the stage. A great big crescendo in the last chorus with harmony and cool little ooh going on, eventually bringing the whole thing to one big STOP!

The next song was 'Look the wrong way'. The chorus in this is so melodic and there are jazzy undertones coming through. I think of 'Jamiraquoi' for some reason as I listen to this. Lots of interesting weird stuff is being played on keyboards and they have the now slightly bigger audience with them for certain!
Johnny introduced number three with a joke and with a name like 'No pants Island' this song was bound to command curiosity. Jazzy intro! The bass player plays his guitar with a slapping style with lively and wonderful harmonic oohs in the verse. The keyboards in it are outstanding and the chorus of 'Gotta give me some love' is superb! With sexy piano chords and a tropical style coming through this is a real dance number. A few people were doing their best moves out amid the now pretty sizable crowd around the stage and the mood was great.
'Rosey' is a really exciting song and is in the Irish charts on the new E.P 'Cuckoo land' and can be sampled on My Space. Beginning with a splash style chorus, it is catchy with snazzy keyboard riffs throughout. The lead solo is much better live and the bassist Kieran Walkin is extremely talented. The drummer, Max Carpio does quite a lot of singing on this too and after the sharp finish, they got a huge response from the crowd. They went on to do 'Wine to water' with its bashing beat and lively mood. Lyrics are tongue in cheek and the bassist does a great solo. These guys spare no energy and ignite the place with charisma.
Johnny performed the next song but as in most numbers each member of the band sang and as in all of them, harmony was fabulous. Everything with 'Hoarsebox' is so tight and polished. In the last chorus of this song called 'Do it to the letter' there's a sweet refrain 'I'm going to do it'. It is a magical and memorable song.
This set was quite long with about twelve songs and two encores. My guests spent quite a lot of the time popping out for a smoke and coming back. They were enjoying the gig but found the length of it a bit like too much of a good thing. I stayed put, riveted to the spot by the magnetic music from start to finish.
'Love and hammer' the seventh song was slow, with gorgeous backing vocals and each instrument very involved. 'Heebee jeebees' has an unusual beat and a haunting but appealing melody. There's this bell effect used on keyboards that gives it a heavenly feeling.
'This club' is a real dance number with an exceptionally nice intro and a simple yet exotic beat that gets your adrenaline pumping. With lovely harmonies coming in for the chorus which is a choppy refrain -'This club!' There's a weird alternating rhythm in the middle of this song but before it gets too complicated and fussy, thankfully they return to the more simple disco style beat in the final chorus and everyone present loves this. An echo effect sung behind the main vocals brings this fabulous number to a close.
Gorgeous little 'do do's take you into the sweet and delicious 'All I need'. There's a brilliant keyboard solo and although I did find it was long and a bit repetitive at times, I found it enjoyable. The lead singer really shows his voice off in this I must say and also the bass guitar shines, without question. Johnny announced that the band were playing at the Bray fest if anyone was interested in going along.
'Free Preview of the future world order' one I never heard before had this cha cha meets rock sound. I loved it. It was probably my favourite. The lads really let it all hang out here and so did the crowd. The place was hopping now and a real party atmosphere was going on. There were another three numbers, 'Tales of the workplace' which was a brilliant number, followed by what sounded like their own favourite, performed for the encore.
Beginning with a lovely piano riff, care of Johnny Holden, Tales sounded to me like a cross between Mikka and Jamiraquoi. With a funky beat and a cheeky but catchy style, this song is just so up-beat and fun. Like this band it exudes smart ass lyrics sung with Johnny going up to falsetto smoothly and the chorus packed with four part harmony that is candy coated it's so sweet.
They seemed to just go on and on. But the best song of the night was the – 'The pain got too much'. Now this was a much more rocking and vibrant number and a perfect finish to an action packed evening. A distortion packed riff with a fast moving beat, a chorus with the lads singing in harmony behind Johnny and the whole ensemble pumping energy. 'Best intentions' was the final song of this exuberant set!
This night at the button factory turned out to be a fantastic one. Each act kept me glued to the spot apart from one visit to the bar. But who needs alcohol?! I was intoxicated enough walking away with the exotic music of Hoarsebox, the memorable and magnetism of Dali and Thomas Kitt who held the attention of the earlier arrivals so well.
Thanks to each for a lovely evening!

Angela Macari - O'Looney

Review written by: Angela Macari - O'Looney --

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