HamsandwicH at The Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
HamsandwicH at The Olympia Theatre – 19 April
They’ve played massive venues such as the Phoenix Park and Slane in the past but Saturday night at the Olympia represented HamsandwicH’s biggest headline slot to date. If they were nervous about the prospect then they didn’t show it as they won over the crowd with huge smiles, good vibes and loads of confetti – not to mention a set full of cracking tunes.
Kicking proceedings off on the night were Swords.
By the time HamsandwicH took to a stage bathed in blue light, the crowd had grown substantially. The full house was treated to a storming set from the band, with singers Podge and Niamh pogoing around the stage from the opening song ‘Never Talk’. Podge in particular is a big ball of energy, bounding around the stage all evening like a hyperactive child let loose in a jelly baby factory.
The whole band seem genuinely delighted to there and this translates itself in to a fantastic performance that’s aided by a four piece brass and string section that they’ve brought along for the occasion. The extra instruments certainly add to some of the early highlights of the show, which includes a wonderful rendition of ‘Animals’ and some impressively intricate guitar work from guitarist Darcy on ‘click…click…BOOM!!!’
Of course HamsandwicH are well known for the unique vocal pairing of Niamh and Podge and their vocals all night compliment each other wonderfully well. This is especially evident on the likes of ‘St Christopher’ and ‘White Fox’.
See also: HamsandwicH Interview
There are a couple of new songs aired over the course of the evening that bode well for the new album that the band hopes to release during the summer. Recent single ‘Illuminate’ features a funky bass groove from David McEnroe and is complimented by some nice trumpet licks, while ‘Imperfect Rhymes’ and a song that may or may not end up being called ‘Cobra’ (Niamh likes the title but Podge doesn’t) both went down well with the crowd in spite of their unfamiliarity with the tunes.
After a quieter moment when ‘Floors’ segued into a few brief lines of Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’, the band ramped things up considerably, unleashing a few of the big guns that they’d held back until later in the set. The highlight of this was most definitely a stirring rendition of ‘Long Distance’ that featured three guest drummers, including the drummers from Bipolar Empire and The Riptide Movement. With confetti being blasted everywhere the song climaxed in a whirl of tribal drumming that led to Podge comparing it to the opening of the Late Late Show theme tune. Predictably this resulted in a mass impromptu sing-along of the Late Late theme tune from the crowd – just one of many fun moments on a night full of them.
The crowd continued in fine voice to sing every word of ‘Models’ back at the band before ‘The Naturist’ closed out the main set with phones in the air everywhere at the request of the band, who are planning to make a fan footage video with the resulting videos.
Huge roars greet the band as they return for an encore that features an incredible version of Dona Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’. It’s a difficult song to sing but Niamh’s stunning voice more than does it justice. The whole crowd’s arms are aloft bouncing round the giant balloons that are now bobbing across the room before massive roars of approval greet the end of the song.
There’s time for one more mass sing along as ‘Ants’ closes out a triumphant evening. The whole night had the air of one big party as HamsandwicH climbed another rung of the career ladder by expertly navigating their biggest headline slot yet. Their musicianship and stage presence is a pleasure to watch and with a new album in the offing in the near future things are looking bright in the HamsandwicH camp.
Review by Mark O’Brien
Photos by Tudor Marian