- 07 Feb 20
This superb Local Boy gig featured Sourfruit – and involved involved ice cream and tangerines. Strange days indeed...
Before Jake Hurley (aka Local Boy) takes the stage Upstairs at Whelan’s, the crowd is buzzing with pints in hand, practically pressed against the walls of the tiny room. I am impressed, I have to say, by the graphic projection of an ice cream!
It’s obvious Hurley is genuinely excited that we’ve all made it out to see him on such a cold night. I can’t help but smile. He takes us on a high-energy journey through his 2019 EP Local Boy Ruins Everything, beginning with ‘Slip Away’.
After a song or two, he’s decided to “try to look like a bad boy”, throwing on a pair of thin red glasses. He launches into multiple guitar solos during his set, playing behind his head at one point and with his teeth at another.
A surprise appearance by Anita, the featured artist on his track 'Trumpets', further gets the crowd going. Then, he announces that he has two more special guests for the evening - his friends, Matt O Baoill and Max Zanga, better known as the hip-hop duo Tebi Rex. Almost every word of their collab song ‘I Never Got Off The Bus’ is delivered in unison with the crowd, who go absolutely wild.
With his genre-bending combination of rock, hip-hop, R&B, indie and funk-infused tunes, it’s no wonder that a couple in the front row break into a dance as Jake rocks out to ‘Dance With Me Tonight Please’.
When all is done, the crowd chants for “One more tune”! And what better song for a Local Boy encore than his hit ‘Bright Days’? He rounds the corner dressed in cardboard ice cream cutouts reminiscent of the music video. It’s an unexpected but entertaining end to his set when he takes off the cone, sending it off to do its own bit of crowd-surfing.
• Less upbeat by nature but just as lively were supporting act Sourfruit. The group, part of the Dublin-based collective GONZO, do a bit of genre-blending of their own, drawing from indie and hip-hop influences alike.
Anyone who’s been to Whelan’s will be well aware that the Upstairs space can make a performance feel like one between friends. The group use the intimacy of the venue to their full advantage, inviting audience members to move even closer.
True to their name, the mates are prepared to hand out tangerines to crowd members between songs.
“Does anybody really want an orange?” group member Eoin Byrne jokingly asks the crowd, holding one between his fingers. There’s plenty more where that came from, as a bowl with a variety of fruit sits behind him.
From the vocalisation in ‘Vesuvio’ to the rap-turned-belt in ‘Candlelight’, the rawness of their live performance more than does the group justice. The emotion booms through the speakers and the floorboards, ringing in my ears long after the gig is over. An excellent night overall...