- Live Review
- 29 Jun 22
Hawke The Band delivered a superb medley of high energy fuelled, indie-pop tracks and paired-back, heartfelt trad songs that had the crowd belting along in unison.
Hailing from Dublin's North Inner City, Moran's soft accent added an extra layer of depth to his warm, powerful vocals as he preformed a beautifully relaxed solo set. Emotionally charged tracks 'Follow Your Soul' and 'Mother', which tackles themes of domestic violence, were followed by a heartwarming cover of 'The Auld Triangle', and members of the audience couldn't resist singing along. Mentored by the likes of Christy Moore and Roddy Doyle, Moran has supported Aslan, Damien Dempsey and Maverick Sabre, alongside playing his own sold out headline show in Whelan's earlier this year.
While waiting for Hawke The Band to come on stage, the posters which adorned every square inch on the walls of the venue were hard to miss, and it was interesting to think about how many legendary musicians had played there over the years. Steeped in history, Whelan's has played host to an endless amount of local and international bands since the late eighties including Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, The Frames and in 2005, the then up-and-coming indie rockers Arctic Monkeys sold out a show in the venue's main room and played for 450 people.
There was a great buzz in the now packed out room, with a huge roar of support emerging from the excited audience as the main act arrived on stage. The warm red lights faded into darkness as the first atmospheric notes of 'Pinch Me (Am I Dreaming)' began to play. With high energy electric guitar at the forefront of the track alongside a hypnotic, explosive drum beat, Hawke The Band's opening track set the tone for the night's spectacular set.
2021 electronic dance single 'Halfway To Toronto' layered keyboardist and vocalist Richie Powers' enigmatic voice over guitarist and singers Eoghan McMahon's broody vocals. Natural performers, the London-based Dublin-born duo appeared to be having a great time on stage and their infectious energy had the crowd fully engaged.
Slightly reminiscent of 'Alright' by Supergrass the band slowed down the pace of the night with unreleased indie-rock track, 'Miracles', with the pair adding that it was their first time performing it.
An incredibly significant song in band's catalogue, the next track of the night 'What About Love', was selected out of 500 entries by other musicians in a competition to support Aslan in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens in the summer of 2019. Released just before the pandemic, the crowd sang along to the song's catchy chorus of 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' and swayed along to the rhythmic, veering on melancholic beat.
The band then went on to play love song 'Did You Know?' followed by poignant track 'Gonna Be Alright' which quietened the audience as they listened intently.
Speaking on their love of going to small pubs and playing sessions, the pair brought out a bodhrán into the centre of the audience. As they did not have microphones, the crowd hushed as they huddled around them and what happened next was a truly special moment. With the accompaniment of the bodhrán, everyone inside the venue began singing 'Grace', proving that Power's and McMahon's powerful voices can lend themselves to a range of genres.
After the mini trad session had ended, the band launched into a superb cover of Sam Fender's 'Seventeen Going Under' which had the entire crowd up on their feet. After thanking everyone in the audience for coming to the show and making a shoutout to those who had flown from other countries to attend, it was clear that the band were incredibly appreciative of the crowd's support. Hawke The Band finished off their set with groovy, electric guitar laden track 'Limo' before leaving the stage.
Returning for their encore, and following a particularly risky stage dive considering how low the ceiling in Whelan's is, the band played popular track 'Molly', and ended the night with a bang.
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