- 31 May 19
One of Ireland’s finest pop-rock artists gave it his all as he delivered stadium-sized hits for an intimate audience, furthering the musical legacy of the iconic Windmill Quarter location.
As an international talent, loved everywhere from Brazil to the Far East, Gavin James has played no shortage of incredible gigs. But his appearance at the iconic setting of Windmill Live – the home of the original Windmill Lane Studios, which was crucial in the making of legendary albums from the likes of U2, Van Morrison and Kate Bush – was always set to be a special one.
Support on the night came from rock-pop trio Saarloos. All three members of this Dublin group had previously found limited success with other outfits, but it’s clear as daylight that they’ve found their groove as Saarloos. Their heart-on-sleeve hooks and catchy riffs absolutely oozed with confidence from start to finish. The relationship between frontman Craig Gallagher and pianist Brian McGovern is nothing short of telepathic. New song ‘Feisty’ showcased their showmanship, while their breakout hit ‘Changes’ - with its enchanting piano melody - soared through the roof. This is a band hardwired for stardom.
Gavin James, who’s rarely without a grin on his face, took to the stage smiling from cheek to cheek as he launched into a powerful set. You imagine that it's not too difficult for Gavin to put together a setlist these days, considering that every time he picks up a guitar he seems to come out with another bona fide hit song. He duly rolled out a marvellous string of his hits throughout his hour and a half set, moving seamlessly between ‘Til The Sun Comes Up’, ‘Faces’, ‘Tired’ and ‘Glow’, getting the crowd pumped superbly.
He was in riotous form – and he was also in the mood for experimenting. His cover of Ray Charles’ ‘You Don’t Know Me’ (sans microphone, in the middle of the crowd: brilliant) showed a Gavin James that we can only see in this kind of wonderfully intimate setting, while his merging of his own song, ‘Two Hearts’, with U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, showed a performer who was attuned to the history of the venue he was performing in, with the confidence to give it his own superb twist.
This was a special night, with Gavin James' extraordinary set set to go down in the personal history books of anyone who was there. But the night was remarkable not just for the two acts' great performances, but for the fact that in being there and in performing so powerfully they burnished the legacy of this important place in Irish music history. Long may the Windmill Quarter's influence continue…