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Amy MacDonald at Whelan's, Dublin

"...there are songs about dead dogs, Pete Doherty, and even a Killers cover version, all of which are rapturously and raucously received."

Lauren Murphy, 18 Feb 2008

It’s a damp, drab Tuesday night in Dublin and a line has formed outside the Ambassador Theatre, where rock gods Queens of the Stone Age are playing tonight. On the opposite side of the city, and at the opposite end of the musical spectrum, a similar queue meanders around the corner of Wexford Street. Amy MacDonald fans aren’t concerned with silly notions of metal and Flying V guitars, though; no, this motley crew of middle-aged groovers, coiffured teen girls and indie boys with strategically-arranged scarves are here to see the Scottish songwriter make her Dublin debut, and the venue is bubbling with a sense of excited anticipation.

Arriving on stage in a blaze of bagpipes, it’s clear that MacDonald is fiercely proud of her heritage – a fact cemented by the t-shirt stand’s profusion of Scottish flags, not to mention her Celt-rock-infused sound. The subsequent hour-long set sees her breeze through debut album This Is The Life: there are songs about dead dogs, Pete Doherty, and even a Killers cover version, all of which are rapturously and raucously received.

Yet although the songs happily take on an edgier, less-polished feel than their recorded counterparts, there’s a general lack of ‘oomph’, sass or originality about them. MacDonald’s strong, burly voice belies her twenty years – but so too do her MOR-laced ballads. Not that it matters to tonight’s capacity crowd, though; young MacDonald has a charm, and it’s not in the least offensive to her adoring public.

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