Keywest at Vicar Street – Review
Keywest at Vicar Street – October 19th, 2013
See also: Photos of Keywest at Vicar Street
It’s 9:30pm in Vicar Street. The background music stops and the house lights go dim. A long pause is followed by a sudden and startling beat, accompanied by dramatic siren sounds. The five members of Dublin based pop/rock group Keywest walk on stage to cheers and girly screams. Opening with “Straight through my heart”, the group begin the relentless wooing of the predominantly female audience, and make no hesitation progressing straight into the second song of the night “In the Fight for Love”.
Unsurprisingly, the audience is mostly comprised of women in their twenties and thirties, but the antics of the band seem more suited to entertaining thirteen year old “One Direction” fans at times. There is a lot of pretentious posing going on from bassist Sam Marder flaunting his bare chest beneath his open black waistcoat, and guitarist James Lock flirting with the front row fans, sporting a cowboy hat over his flowing locks which seems to somewhat resemble a Johnny Depp style. Singer Andrew Kavanagh is well aware of his allure with the ladies, and laughs off proposals of marriage from the audience. There really is no need for the pomp however, as they are actually talented musicians, and their performance leaves little else to disapprove of. Kavanagh’s voice is impressive and the sound in the venue is clear and well balanced.
With only their debut album under their belts, the setlist was going to be fairly predictable for anybody who was actually a fan; so one of the highlights of the night comes when Kavanagh introduces the cover song slot. He tells the audience how he would search through cassette tapes as a boy, and latch onto certain ones that captivated him; inspiring him and influencing his own musical career. At recent live shows they have played music by Prince and Michael Jackson, but tonight he promises Vicar Street a special treat. A clever Bob Marley tribute medley of “Redemption Song”, “No woman No Cry” and “Could You Be Loved” prompts the loudest sing-along of the night, with even the obedient boyfriends seen chirping in.
Another highlight of the show is the percussion performance which sees all five members of the group contribute to the infectious rhythm with drums, bongos and cowbells. Kavanagh entertains the audience often with stories about life in the band; from their humble beginnings busking in Dublin and Galway; to his ex who screwed him over; to living in shared accommodation with his four bandmates. He begins a story about the time they all met a stripper, and explained that the next song “Roses in the Summertime” was written about that experience.
A dramatic and prolonged countdown, starting arbitrarily at eight, culminated in an anti-climatic salute to the audience, and departure from the stage. Of course, they return for the obligatory encore which starts with another entertaining drum solo, and performance of their popular radio singles “Feels so Cruel” and “Back into your Arms”. Kavanagh thanks the Vicar Street crowd for being the biggest and best crowd that they have performed for. Based on their reception tonight, there are bigger and better things to come for these lads.
Review by Alan Daly