Ana Gog At The Unitarian Church – Review
Ana Gog haven’t had the best of times lately. Last month, the band’s van was stolen which is making it harder to transport equipment for rehearsals and gigs. Some people would curse their luck and maybe wallow in self-pity but instead, the band have taken a positive approach to the setback. They had planned to release an EP early next year but because they no longer have to pay insurance on the van, they tell the packed crowd at the Unitarian Church that this will now be an album instead. On the evidence of new songs, such as ‘Dame Street’ that get an airing here, this is wonderful news.
The new songs that the band aired were as well received as some of the old favourites and bode well for the future of a band whose sound always seems to be evolving while remaining unmistakably unique. The inventive rhythms of drummer Colm Keenan and bass player Rob Molumby provide the solid foundation for Ciaran McCann’s clever keyboard flourishes, while Adam Fleming’s guitar playing is a lesson in understated beauty.
The depth and power of lead singer Michael Gallen’s voice is breath-taking and he has developed into a fine frontman, happy to share witty stories with the crowd – some of them are about the little foibles of life such as your mother annoying you when you’re trying to watch TV but the stolen van becomes a recurring theme throughout the show.
Although in the end, he seems quite sanguine about the whole affair. “To the person who stole our van,” he says towards the end of the show. “Who knows what could have happened, we could have had an accident or something.” It’s a pretty refreshing way of looking at things but it’s that sort of night – a night filled with positive vibes.
Perhaps that’s because it’s nearly Christmas and people are feeling festive that there is such a good feeling about the night. Perhaps the church setting helps, as it demands that the crowd pay rapt attention to the band, rather than shuffling off to the bar every few minutes. It’s more likely to be the beautifully textured songs such as ‘Breaking The Atom’, ‘Better In Silence’ and ‘The Old Haunts’ delivered with expert musicianship that make this night so special.
The three and four part harmonies that Ana Gog employ at times produce hair-raising moments of musical beauty. It’s a trait that they share with the support act on the night Clang Sayne, who also put in a most impressive performance. Ethereal, folky yet also experimental, they are sonically different to Ana Gog and yet it’s obvious that both are musical kindred spirits long before Gallen unsurprisingly describes them as one of his favourite bands.
They may have lost their wheels but Ana Gog seem determined to keep rolling on and on the evidence of tonight, next year should be a good one for the band with the new album shaping up nicely judging by the fantastic material on show this evening. They’re a band that are hard to define as they have melded a host of disparate influences into a sound that is quintessentially theirs. That’s quite an achievement for a band who have only released one album so far and it will be interesting to see how their sound evolves on the new full-length release. Maybe that van thief did us all a favour after all.
Photo: Ana Gog perfoming at the Unitarian Church in 2013