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My last phone hadn’t many functions. Texting was a chore and I'm surprised the only game it played didn't at this stage have a morbidly obese snake plodding around after dots. So having won the HTC One, suffice to say I was a little overwhelmed. After getting to grips with the frankly ludicrous amount of functions on the camera, I performed every cliché of a new smartphone owner. I added photographs of meals to Facebook and tweeted anything – because I could – whenever I was on the bus. Having it all led to a Wednesday night in one of Dublin's trendier locations.
4 Dame Lane was the venue for tonight’s intimate gig with rising stars Royseven. Situated (surprisingly) on Dame Lane, it provided the perfect location for an intimate gig from the Dublin boys. It seemed fitting that having formed through the Hot Press back page adverts' pages over eight years ago, Royseven were now cover-worthy stars, playing to a select, chosen few.
The competition winners were the first to arrive and after a quick Q&A with the HTC experts, we were whisked aside by Hot Press' own photographer Graham Keogh, who did his best to beautify us. Bless. Trying my best to perfect that smile that occupies the safe middle ground between foot-pervert and constipated toddler (I failed miserably – the Hot Press online photo gallery will haunt your dreams), I shook off the ordeal of being on the opposite side of the camera with the free alcohol kindly provided. The lights dimmed and the now packed room was lit only by candles and stage lights…
Niall Stokes appears on stage, backlit like a musical messiah, albeit a bespectacled one. For those in the front row he comes with the good news, just in the nick of time. Screams of 'we love you Paul' had reached breaking point and as Niall relinquishes the stage it's kicking off.
Paul Walsh has arena frontman written all over him. Parading on stage to the show opener ‘Every Line’, waving a black and red flag, he wouldn't look out of place at the main stage of a major festival. From his hair clenching moments to his impressive one-legged spins, he provides the perfect subject for any photographer.
The ten-track set-list is perfectly planned and even though ‘We Should Be Lovers’ is dispatched of early on, the crowd’s interest never seems to wane. ‘You Say, We Say’ is executed note-perfectly and set closer, ‘Killer’ is arguably the highlight of the night, bringing the best out of guitarist Sam Garland, who parades through the crowd, wide-eyed, broad-shouldered and strumming furiously. The set flows effortlessly, due in no short part to the crowd interaction.
The band have perfected their patter and are in great form this Wednesday. 'We love you Paul', is batted away playfully, before calls of 'We love you Darragh' are scoffed at almost collectively by the band. “That never happens!”, quips the frontman to the confused drummer. It's understandable that the band are so comfortable amongst such a crowd, given that they have played to thousands at an array of European festivals.
As the night nears its end, and as the bar clears, the street fills with cheerful punters, humming along to themselves. I can only hope this is the start of something fantastic…