- 11 Apr 22
Galway based Indie Rock band Newdad plays a joyful sold out show at Whelan's.
On Thursday night, Whelan's played host to acclaimed indie-rock outfit NewDad for the final gig of their Irish tour. The sold-out show was their biggest headliner to date – and the Galway quartet's connection with the audience was instant, effortless, and infectious.
"I don't think I'll ever stop smiling," beamed frontwoman Julie Dawson. "This is the best gig ever."
Standing centerstage, Julie radiated joy. In the hour or so of their set, the band's collective exhilaration never faded from the stage. Every member of the four-piece seemed wholly present and grateful for the shared moment, particularly as this was their last night in Ireland before leaving for London. The pride and amazement at their own well-earned success was held close, and it appeared they're taking none of it for granted.
The venue was packed from the main floor to the balcony. All in attendance exuded an easy-going excitement – the good vibrations bringing a palpable buzz to the room. The rising stars have already earned themselves a loyal fanbase, and rightfully so. NewDad embraced the symbiotic energy gained from friendly fan interactions – they announced that some flew out from Germany and Sweden just to see the night's performance.
The set kicked off with 'Drown', the moody first track from their 2021 EP Waves. The opening number highlighted each band member's strengths. The drummer immediately threw himself into the fast paced rhythm, pulling the audience with. The song simmered down during the verse to give the hypnotic vocals and resonant bass line space to shine. The chorus then rose back up again, followed by the first of Newdad's emotional and highly distorted guitar solos. The dark poetry of the lyrics "Take me to the sea / Then drown me / Let me sink into a sleep," was brilliantly contrasted by the irrepressibly high spirits of the band.
Each performer independently exuded their own distinct personality and style, while also presenting as a unit of close-knit friends.
Lead guitarist Sean O'Dowd appeared to have limitless energy. He threw his whole body into his performance, jumping up and down thunderously while still playing perfectly in time. The clever riffs played off the vocals to create another line of melody for us to follow in the warping, shoegaze-muddled soundscape.
Áindle O'Beirn, on bass, put on a show of his own. He seemed lost in a musical trance: mesmerised, happily, by the lights and sounds that overwhelmed the stage. He danced along in a series of dizzy flops, sways, and whirls – his bass line creating a steady undercurrent for the musicians to play off of.
In the back, drummer Fiachra Parslow embodied pure passion, cool confidence, and focus. He surveyed the space with keen eyes – easily playing quick and tricky beats to hold the band together with the unperturbed energy of a frontman. Near the end he shouted something like: "Are you all ready for the album?" Of course we are – though there's been no official word on the matter yet.
The band did, however, treat us to their new song 'In My Head', which is not yet on streaming platforms. The song touches on themes of anxiety and restlessness, but with a lighter-hearted, dream-pop influence. This juxtaposition called on the audience to lean into that escapism.
This brand new song was followed by their biggest hit 'I Don't Recognise You': a down-to-earth song recalling a relationship hindered by communication issues and struggles with mental health. The audience shouted along as the live performance added a new buoyancy to its quirky rhythm.
To cap off the night and commemorate the tour's final moments, Dawson brought a bottle of champagne to the stage. She popped the cork, which arced high up and over the audience. The drink splashed out onto the stage floor. The band members took turns swigging from the bottle before handing it off into the crowd: "Pass it around!" Dawson exclaimed.
Revisit NewDad's 2021 interview with Hot Press here.