Live Review: Keywest at the Olympia

“Remember where you came from” is a common bit of advice that’s been dished out to more than enough bands over the years as they find themselves under the spotlights of bigger stages. It can be hard to keep hold of your humbling roots though, especially when you’re headlining a venue such as the Olympia. So Keywest make sure they don’t forget their beginnings as buskers, with a massive banner listing the streets they’ve played on, from Dublin’s Grafton Street to the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s literally hanging over their heads as they play to a sold-out crowd under the opulent ceiling of the Olympia, the crowd singing the lyrics to fan favourite “Something Beautiful”. As if the banner wasn’t enough to keep them grounded, they’ve still held onto some of the same instruments that they played during their time as buskers.

Though they’re holding onto their roots, that doesn’t mean Keywest is looking to play their old songs the same way every night. There’s a bit of the gig where they take some old favourites from 2012’s The Message and shake em up. “In The Fight For Love” becomes a more rhythmically-driven acoustic number that I actually prefer to the studio version anyway, and the crowd seems to agree.

Even the distance the stage puts between them and the audience is a little too much for the lads, as they seem less fond of being placed on a platform looking down at the crowd. So they try their best to get on the same level as the audience. Especially with the finale of “This is Heartbreak,” with frontman Andy Kavanagh and guitarist Andrew Glover sitting side by side on the edge of the stage, which is about as close as they can get to the crowd without jumping into the pit.

“The theme of the night was definitely ‘from the streets to the Olympia Theatre’.” guitarist Andrew Glover tells me after the gig. “That’s our story, that’s who we are. We wanted to play really close to the audience, really intimate. That’s what busking is, just playing in front of people so you’re totally exposed, people can leave if they want, but hey, nobody left tonight!”

 

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