The Jigsaw Jam at Whelan’s – Review
The Jigsaw Jam launched their latest EP, Somewhere Between Lost and Found, in Whelan’s on Friday night. Their sound can be described as a welcoming explosion of folk-tastic goodness, guaranteed to get a room going with their multi-instrumental arrangements.
The upstairs room in Whelan’s mimics the heat of a sauna room as people keep piling in and adding to the excited atmosphere. It’s not long before the 6 piece take to the stage and are welcomed with roaring applause. ‘Bedroom Light’ has an uplifting feel, setting everything off on a catchy high and great first impressions. ‘Ag Caint’ is simply beautiful, and I adore the bilingual arrangement. However it doesn’t get the response and appreciation it deserves from the audience. I can imagine it being alternatively performed in a church setting (perhaps the Pepper Canister?) and being one of those tracks that’s marveled and people whisper about in awe. It is however still received well, but it is worthy of so much more.
‘Those Days’ brilliantly showcases their ability to create catchy and upbeat numbers, adding a flute to the mix for a foot stomping spectacle that reverberated around the room. They also put their own stamp on the classic Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made of This’, giving it a contemporary folk makeover that works so well with an added fiddle and distinct bass lines from Aidan Smyth hovering in the background. They continue on with a ukulele being thrown into the mix and joined by steady drums from Kevin Smith for a nicely paced track that’s an instant crowd pleaser and initiates a flurry of yelps and whoops of appreciation.
Although it was so great to see people to come out and support the band, the noise levels in the room were irritating at points. I struggled to hear the stories beyond the songwriting, and tracks that are beautifully crafted for your full attention missed out on their chances to fully shine. That being said, when it came to ‘Man In The Moon’ my wish was finally granted and a hushed silence fell over us all, allowing the soft female vocals of Brenda Weir to break through. Shane Davis is effortless in his finger-picking of the chords, while his guitar is also joined by the keyboard talents of Caroline O’ Sullivan and Grainne Noone’s impressive tin-whistle additions.
‘Skylight’ pin-points yet again the skill-set they have for flawless instrumentals, with ‘Rosalee’ building in a perfectly timed arrangement that’s complimented by sweet harmonies. They transfer this track so well to a live setting; still slowing it down to capture the story but also fluttering some uptempo instrumentals in there to get people foot stomping along. ‘Night Vision’ puts the icing on the cake with their quality of instrumentals and also their ability to sell their act as a crowd pleasing repertoire of likeable folk numbers. They’re also comfortable in portraying their sound which is definitely an asset to their live performance.
If you’re up for a good ‘ol session like atmosphere, then The Jigsaw Jam are the band for you. They piece together like a perfect fit, and would be one of those puzzles you’re happy to have on your shelf and happily re-make over and over to your heart’s content.
Review by Nicole Leggett