Knoxville Morning at Odessa – Review
Knoxville Morning at Odessa Club – Friday 23rd Aug 2013
The dim, secluded setting of Odessa Club is alluring enough for anyone, combine this with ambient lighting and Knoxville Morning, and you’re on to something special. Support on the night from Rory Hughes and Appo. Hughes opened like a shot gun, blasting home his hard-hitting folky-blues songs. He has a very powerful pair of lungs on him, almost blowing the rooftop off Odessa. “My Friends” (he said this was a cover) and “Epilogue” are two strong ballads by Hughes. Bluesy singer Appo followed and took us for a voodoo walk beneath the glistening stars of Brooklyn for his set. Appo and his vocal reminded me of a young “Tom Waits”, we look forward to seeing and hearing more by Appo. Hope he gets some more of his work up on YouTube. Overall, the opening selection of acts in support to Knoxville Morning, were delicious.
Opening with “Don’t Ever Change” the lead singer Ciaran Dwyer was here to enjoy himself, pint firmly in hand. Ten years of playing in “Band on an Island” with his closest friends, had a call for celebration and a change of name to Knoxville Morning. At the beginning it felt as if we gate crashed a private party, everyone knew each other by first name basis as Dwyer stood on tables and walked across chairs during “Jealous”, briefly stopping to say hello to various visitors. As the night progressed, it became clear that the band were simply very comfortable performers, and felt at home with the crowd. “Knoxville Morning” has an easy pace, with a nice country feel. “28” they really began to feel connected to us during this song, we were really beginning to have a great time because Dwyer is quite witty.
“96-98” a song about Las Vegas, winning sixty dollars and driving around looking for junk food with a girl in the back seat. “This city means a lot to me”. There is a nice authentic quality to their songs which transports you into an Americana style bar, there’s quiet nostalgic feel of travel surrounding these songs. Perhaps more travel wants to be done. Phil ‘the picker’ McDermot arrived to support for “Tulsa”, it was Phil’s 21st birthday. “Alphabet city” is a song about Rob Jacob, who likes to be out having his few pints.
The band smashed home country rock pop vibes, the crowd seem to know them so well like a cross between the Waterboys and the Commitments (they’re not a band, but if they were one Knoxville Morning reminded me of them). After some epic songs and friends joining from the crowd to sing with Dwyer, who often walked in around the crowd he’s a natural performer.
Stand out songs were “Folk Song”, “Alphabet City” and “Sunday” which was their last song and they made us split our sides laughing…it was a song about the Guards! Being flung into the air, Dwyer was suddenly crowd surfing in the tiny room, absolutely hilarious while us in the crowd were shouting our heads off and laughing. Ending on a high, the gig was great it was a night of fun with the band blowing out ten years of candles on their birthday cake, here’s to more.
Knoxville Morning were a lot of fun live, an old, but new act and definitely a quintessentially Irish band to hear, especially if you like country folk.
Review by Áine Byrne