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CLANN ZU NANCY SPAINS, Cork. 04/05/2002

It was a long drive from Dublin to Cork directly after the Fusebox Battle Of The Bands Final (reviewed above) but, boy was it worth it!

I have to admit that despite having heard their album Rua, (available at Road Records) and known some of what to expect, Clann Zu scared me as they set their stage. A Violin, Bongo's, and Bodhran lined up on stage sent shivers of fear at the possibility of pretentious crapology being thrust upon me. The shivers persisted but forever changed to those of happy awe as they opened with of course it is.

Tracks like 'Five Thousand More', 'An Bad Dubh' and 'Hi Fat Lo Fat' are songs that you will happily listen to over and again, especially played with the ferocity displayed to the assembled (and soon converted) Cork natives. You will note that there is a track with an Irish name mentioned up there. Odd, really, when you think that 4/5 of the band are Aussies. Lead Singer Declan de Barra is the Irishman in the group - a fact he pointed out to the audience (presumably as there were potential groupies out ther!).

From heavy rock sounds to trad to club and more Clann Zu imbue their stage presence with a sense that they will never give you what you expect. Every song is fuelled by a passion that when performed live feels animalistic in it's rawness, yet the quality of their playing is not sacrificed. From lead guitar style on the bass guitar to hypnotic Violin, rampant drums and at times esoteric guitar melodies. (It was hard to know what Ben - the guitarist - was up to as he spent the entire set facing either the amps for feedback or the back wall for reasons known only to himself!). Add a voice so resonant with feeling it will bring you wherever he wants to take you, with or without your permission, and, perhaps even with or without your awareness. Sometimes you witness people doing things and you can't help but feel they are made of different stuff than you. This was one of those times for me, as I felt wholly unrelated to this particular species of talent.

Fucking unbelievable!

Review written by: Deirdre Murphy --

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