Glimmermen at Whelan’s – Review
Glimmermen at Whelan’s, Saturday, August 10th, 2013
It’s hot. It’s late. It’s Saturday night. Perched above the hustling noise of Wexford Street, red velvet curtains plush up the rustic ambience of the intimate room upstairs at Whelan’s. Awaiting Glimmermen, the crowd traffic in and out to the bar in anticipation of “I’m Dead” the new album. The appearance of a luxurious double bass and a bright and shiny trumpet on stage lends to hopeful expectations of classy arrangements and polished percussion.
The endearing hopeful and supportive faces of family and friends surrounds the front of the stage. The band come on to their first track “I’m Dead“ blasting it out with vigour, banishing the nerves away. A catchy melody, addictive double bass and brass percussion package the somewhat dark lyrics in a happy shiny vibe.
The second song “Last Song“, ironically placed on the setlist, echoes vocals of David Byrne with engaging guitar led touch. Upbeat and bouncy, carrying the crowd with it!
Gavin Cowley, lead vocals is clearly a strong storyteller. His lyrical ability carries the listener along the journey of the song, establishing the context with descriptive colour, twinned with engaging catchy melodies. That lyrical irony is evident in the lyrics of “This Town”. “Feels like I’m in a cheap cartoon. Nobody bothered drawing any other characters. And I’ll concede that the eyes of this beholder are older not wiser tonight. It all sounds a bit grey until you add jingly jangly guitars, hints of 50’s twangs and that definitive double bass. It suddenly turns bright and airy.”
These guys have earned their stripes. Over the years they have amassed a lifetime of musical experience between them. Gavin (lead vocals and guitar), J Bassetti (vocals and double bass) and Phil Murray (drums and vocals) have all been in bands prolific on the Irish music scene. Jackbeast, Boxes and Holy Ghost Fathers were the bands from which this phoenix of Glimmermen has risen.
Other notable tracks in the set were “Believe Me” which got arms waving all over the room, harmonies and harmonica made this interesting song go a long way with the crowd, ghostly vocal chorus carrying it on till fading away time. The hollow tones in “Peace At Last”. It’s lyrics of insecurity and lonesome twangs from Mr. Bassetti build pace into a crescendo of chaotic almost punky guitar clashes inducing sweaty head banging from more than one corner of the venue.
Their last track is “Travellin’ Man“ from their EP “Satellite People”, released last year to critical acclaim. It seems to be a fan favourite. Quite bluesy in comparison to the rest of tonight’s offerings.
Plenty of vinyl leaves the room, tucked under arms and into oversized bags. It’s artwork reminiscent of Tim Burton illustrations. “I’m Dead”, clearly is not the case. Glimmermen seem far from that with this release that is brimming with bounce, grounded in guitars and oozing melodies from too many influences to mention.
Review by Ciara Sheahan