The Gloaming – National Concert Hall – 1-03-15 – Review
When the Gloaming took to the stage at five past eight, I’m sure they took a few by surprise. There was certainly a few empty seats that were filled later in the evening. There would have been no end of young trad bands or players willing to perform as support, but for whatever reason, they dispensed with the formality and went straight to the main event. The five piece were applauded as they sat down and didn’t say a word before they launched into a twenty five minute collection of songs, with only a seconds pause between each!
The most striking thing from the offset was how comfortable they were playing together, despite this being the start of their short tour which will take them from Ireland to England, Australia and New Zealand, before finishing in Mexico. There is a massive amount of talent on display and each performer has a number of other projects outside of the Gloaming. The success of the band is something of a surprise, and they seem to have captured the imagination of the populace, with their combination of Trad music with more contemporary sounds.
After the initial set, Martin Hayes was the first to break the ice to the audience, with a few softly spoken words of thanks and delight with their present situation. There is no natural front man to the group, and each takes their turn at introducing the music. Iarla Ó Lionáird was certainly the most natural, as the others prefer to let their instruments do the talking.
They had met up several days before the gigs, so the set list contained the majority of their album, along with some traditional songs and a few new ones. The highlights of the set included Song 44 (whose origin was revealed), the Sailor’s Bonnet and Saoirse. To stay alive, trad music always had to evolve, and this is one of the finest examples. There were moments you could have been in a dusty pub in Sligo, but at other times it felt like something unique and very new. It is a vibrant and exciting sound, and will introduce a new generation to a uniquely Irish sound. It made me prouder to be Irish than Henshaw touching down in the corner!