- 13 Mar 21
Since being tipped as one of the Hot Press 'Hot For 2019' Irish Acts, THUMPER have been blazing a trail through Ireland, across Europe and into the US. At the forefront of the Irish post-punk scene, the rising outfit stepped up to the plate in style for The Slane Sessions - joined by Irish hero Damien Dempsey as their memorable special guest. With the coming together of these two giants of modern Irish music, a very special night of music ensued for all who tuned in.
There’s something truly exhilarating about listening to a noise-rock band during a time of ongoing confinement in Ireland, with COVID restrictions still painfully in effect.
This was a special occasion indeed. The great Damien Dempsey had been lined up as special guest for the band's live performance at Slane Distillery, and the archetypal Dublin troubadour added his unique magnetism to a 30-minute set that reached transcendent heights.
But first it was all about THUMPER.
The band's leqd singer Oisín Leahy Furlong (pictured) was as enigmatic as ever, veering between insouciance and rock 'n' roll intensity throughout THUMPER's raucous performance – which showcased the psychedelic rock outfit’s 'Dubcore' lyricism, while also allowing the band to offer one brand new song for their fans' delectation.
THUMPER's compelling cocktail of psych rock, noise-pop and Dublin poetry was on full-frontal display. But there was also an extraordinary musical intensity. While you can hear the influence of songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Daniel Johnston in their work, there's also a musical strand to what THUMPER do that takes the work of bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Girl Band on to new creative heights.
The intensity built through a series of crescendos, with the twin drumming adding astonishing heft to proceedings: this was monumentally powerful contemporary rock 'n' roll.
And then it was time for Damo. “They have that wall of sound - it’s snarly and full of fire,” Dempsey had said of the band before going onstage. And boy, was he right.
Their collective rendition of 'Topher Grace' was a raw and fiery beast, full of passion and powerful, declamatory vocals. The vivid imagery and clever double entendres within the explosive seven-minute song were given fresh potency as Oisin and Damo traded lyrical licks.
The set finished with a phenomenal version of a Damien Dempsey song, 'Maasai'.
“This is for the 'seandaoine' (elderly/indigenous people) - we can learn a lot from them,” Damien proclaimed before launching into a heavyweight rendition of what is one of his finest tracks. 'Maasai' was a commanding performance by all all seven musicians that brilliantly rounded off a night of powerful music.
As the end credits rolled, there was no doubt whatsoever: the Slane Sessions were a triumph for THUMPER, whose stock will have risen hugely on the back of a superb performance. They were a triumph too for Damien Dempsey, whose status as one of the greats of Irish music was reinforced in no uncertain terms.
What more could we have asked for?
• You can re-live tonight's live performance, filmed at the Slane Distillery below:
• Check out Hot Press' behind-the-scenes photos from THUMPER and Damien Dempsey's performance here.
The filming of THE SLANE SESSIONS complies with all Irish Government restrictions regarding Covid-19.