Ryley Walker, Whelans, Dublin – Gig Review – 16-04-17 – by Killian Laher
A quick return visit by Ryley Walker to Ireland, just under a year since his last. As a vocal fan of kebab shop Zaytoon, perhaps there’s nothing quite like it back home?! Support came from Irish singer Brigid Mae Power who played a brief set of droning songs like It’s Clearing Now. Accompanied by Peter Broderick on percussion and backing vocals, she tried using accordion, guitar and keyboard but didn’t make much impression, at times struggling to be heard over a noisy audience.
Ryley Walker, joined by a bass player and drummer, opened with a long-drawn out jammy intro to Primrose Green, featuring dazzling guitar work and copious use of chimes. The man himself was on good form, ranting on about Donald Trump, Easter, Kilkenny and his favourite kebab shop. Which would wear a bit thin but for the fine songs and quality musicianship on display. New material seemed more country-inflected than any of his previous work, plenty of which he treated us to. His songs spring into life in a live setting, stretching out as the band ebbs and flows over their melodies. The Halfwit In Me went down well, as did a dramatic version of Sullen Mind, which featured thrilling changes of pace as the band powered through the outtro.
Cian Nugent joined him for The Roundabout which was possibly the night’s highlight, both guitarists playing clear, crisp melodic lines which weaved in and out of each other. After a great version of Tim Hardin’s If I Were A Carpenter and the powerful Funny Thing She Said, the band were spent, Walker finishing by saying “that’s all we got”, and you knew they had dragged every bit of music from their souls. Walker is clearly a real talent, particularly when experienced live.