Saturday December 9th
The Grand Social, Dublin
Festival of the Strings Blues, Rock & Prog Spectacular
A phantasmagoria of fabulous fun, a Lyonesse of loveliness, a coruscating combination of sound and soul. That is what we witnessed on Saturday, 9th December. That is what we participated in on Saturday. Hallowed and Bright, an Unholy Night.
The first one to take us on this trip was the Stone Cold hobo himself (Real name Martin Cummins). Just one man, one cigar box guitar, and the blues.
From the Überblues themes of drink and bad women he wrested tales of both, enthralling us with his music and his hard won lyrical dexterity.
The tracks he played were like a delta blues Bayeaux tapestry, taking us from the 1920’s to today with tracks like Motherless Child Blues, and the Rehab track Five Dollar Fine to the Muddy Waters number Champagne and Reefer all the way to the heart wrenching Pity the fool and finishing up with the amusing shouting blues number with the call and refrain “
Done Done it”. A master class in the true simplicity of the real blues.
If Martin’s style emphasised the simplicity of the Blues, then Gerry Quigley and his band emphasised the fluid complexity and prestidigitation of the man himself. From progressive arpeggiated runs of quixotic quicksilver magnificence to screaming sustain and Celtic power chords Gerry’s epic magnificence on the guitars (and other Instruments) he played was a delight to the ear.
If Martin’s style emphasised the simplicity of the Blues, then Gerry Quigley and his band emphasised the fluid complexity and prestidigitation of the man himself. From progressive arpeggiated runs of quixotic quicksilver magnificence to screaming sustain and Celtic power chords Gerry’s epic magnificence on the guitars (and
other Instruments) he played was a delight to the ear.
All the tracks were instrumental giving us all the more time to marvel at the man’s technical mastery of not only the guitar, but the one and only double necked 12 string mandolin in the Western world. (named Seán and Síle) we enjoyed the Celtic whimsy of To Be Sure, To Be Sure, To Be Sure, before being engaged by the maelstrom
of music in the epically progressive Today, Prelude, Tomorrow set before a final flourish of devilish dexterity with the Weeping Willow Track.
It has to be emphasized that it was not a one man show with tight drums and bass holding down the sound and the enchanting keys of Sharon bringing an almost Doorsian ambiance to proceedings, along with some Lou Martin style cracking groove.
The tracks they played?
These compositions, some of which are on their first album, and some like the aforementioned Blackbird are to be on their eagerly anticipated
Still, the night was not over, the magic and mystery not spent. The ending of the evening was not to come till the gathered masses of musicians had come together to have a Jam of monstrous proportions. Nutbush city limits as you’ve never heard it. More talent on show here than
on pretty much any festival you might attend anywhere.