- 04 Apr 17
With the launch of their brand new album Modernised, The Blades – fronted by the legendary Paul Cleary – are back at the forefront of Irish rock. And the reaction of the crowd at Whelan’s last night confirmed exactly that...
Since The Blades reformed in December 2013, I have had the honour – and the pleasure – of being at nearly every one of their live outings. Last night, however, in the more intimate, sweaty, crowded surrounds of Whelan's, Paul Cleary and co harnessed a magic that catapulted their live show into another stratosphere.
The scorching double whammy of 'The Last Man In Europe' and 'The Reunion' set the pace for a dazzling performance of gems old and new, before the smiling Cleary introduced 'On The Town' with the words, "This is something something I've wanted to say for a long time… here's one from our new album.” There were huge whoops of delight.
The opening track of the new record – entitled Modernised if you are near a record shop as you are reading this – certainly delivers the approproate sonic sucker-punch. In fact all of the new material is received enthusiastically: soul pop nugget 'Two Dimensions' and the charming 'Then Came You' incite shimmying and singalongs respectively.
Seeing the band on a smaller stage makes it obvious how well the component parts interlink. The stellar rhythm section – comprising drummer Jake Reilly and bassist Brian Foley – laid down a tight, no nonsense groove; the inimitable Bluebrass – aka Frank Duff (trumpet) and Paul Grimes (trombone) – gave each gem an added dimension; guitar maestro Conor Brady weaved extra splashes of technicolour through the melody; and Pat Fitzpatrick sprinkled the magic dust with his keyboard prowess. And out front Cleary belted out anthem after anthem.
As the evening neared its end, a blistering 'Revelations Of Heartbreak' brought an already lively crowd to new levels of raucous exuberence. The high jinks continued through 'Downmarket' and 'Ghost Of A Chance’. These are great songs and it was wonderful to hear them delivered with such passion and energy.
After much baying from the excited throngs, a splendid 'Young Gifted And Black' sent us reluctantly on our merry way.
Here's to next time....