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David Gray live at Dublin Castle, Dublin
It took Gray a few songs, but by mid-set the singer-songwriter and his two-man acoustic band had moved into their flow, helped hugely by a pivotally-placed ‘Babylon’, to which the audience gave great song.
Adrienne Murphy, 17 May 2007
Is it just me, or do other people find Dublin Castle a disappointing venue? Maybe it’s all that surrounding stone, or the energy left from hundreds of years of imperial oppression, but any time I go to a gig there I get a chilly feeling (and not because it’s open air).
I’d say musicians find it a hard venue to warm up, so hats off to Simple Kid – who performed superbly – and to David Gray, bearded and mellow, for getting the crowd going as well as they did. It took Gray a few songs, but by mid-set the singer-songwriter and his two-man acoustic band had moved into their flow, helped hugely by a pivotally-placed ‘Babylon’, to which the audience gave great song. From there Gray and his band just got better and better, finally reaching an extended, brilliant and experimental encore.
In his characteristically lyrical, strongly image-driven way (“like my tears on your thighs so pale” – what a picture!), Gray brought us through his tender world, with its perennial theme of twisted communication and emotional fall-out. Top class accompaniment in the form of voice, guitar, mandolin, bass and double-bass added to Gray’s own vocal, piano and guitar performance.
With its jangly little melody and beautiful harmonising, ‘Hospital Food’ stood out as one of the best songs, while I was blown away by the amazing dance beat produced by the double-bass in ‘Sail’. Sublime slide guitar and uplifting, ascending vocals made the extended version of ‘Nightblindness’ beautifully trippy and Pink Floyd-ish. The rest of the encore kept up the heat, so by the end of what started out as a lukewarm gig, our fires had most definitely been lit.
Pic: Enda Doran