I arrived at the Button factory to hear the end of the Zun Zun Egui set, who played support on the night. They are a lively four piece band, with guitars and keyboards featuring prominently! I’m not sure we’ll hear from them again, but you never know.
The Dirty Three took the stage a little after nine, with Warren greeting the crowd in rambling fashion that was to be the way of the evening. The first of his stream of consciousness stories revolved around dying from a drug over dose on the floor of the Button factory toilet and coming back as the lead singer of Coldplay and creating the abomination below (their version of the Beastie Boys classic ‘Fight for your right’)! The tales he told on the evening were loose and free-form and were sometimes hilarious and sometimes bewildering. He said he was making them up on the spot, but who knows!
The rest of the band bear these interludes with good grace, checking their instruments, staring into space, scratching and generally waiting until they’re over. They do seem a bit like they are indulging an over excited child, but Warren is a natural at the front of the stage, and certainly doesn’t seem worried about what others think of him!
When the music did start, it had lost none of the splendor that I remembered from times past. The set list spanned their career, and had a few old gems such as ‘Hope’ and ‘The Restless Waves’. The technical expertise of the Warren Ellis (violin) and Jim White (drums) makes them fascinating to watch, even without Warren’s high kicks and other embellishments. Warren played a few songs on piano, but they were the more low key songs of the night. The band are at their best on with Warren at the front of the stage on violin .
The other stories on the night told of the valley of the Pauls (where Paul Heuston (Bono), Paul McCartney and other famous Pauls gather together to form a private vision of hell), the Facebook event that ends up with thousands drowned in ‘that river that flows through Dublin’ (Jim told him it was the liffey) and many others. At times you wished he’d just shut up and play the music, but it did add to the character of the evening, and the music was as beautiful and eery as ever.
Images and videos after the break below…