The Young Folk at Whelan’s – Review
On Thursday the 17th of April The Young Folk played the buzzing and sold-out venue of Whelan’s in Dublin’s city centre. Cocos Lovers, an 8-piece band from Kent, had the job of warming up the chatty and energetic crowd on the night and managed to do so superbly. Being a band made up of family members and friends, the chemistry between the musicians was obvious as they seemed to all be in sync and enjoying themselves immensely. Similar to The Young Folk, Cocos Lovers have an alike sound of folk and roots fusion. With a huge range of instruments like violin, banjo, and flute there was no limit to the number of layers their music took form in.
After Cocos Lovers left the stage there was a short wait until The Young Folk had finished setting up and took the stage but that was soon forgotten about when they greeted the crowd with warm smiles and a “cheers and have a good night” from frontman Anthony Furey. Kicking off the night the band played Grown, a number that really got the crowd tapping their feet especially with the addition of a trombone player. The Kiwi trombonist played with the band throughout the gig and gave the already appealing and catchy songs a new tweak with his brassy and jazzy flair.
Following suit came I’ve Been Here Before, a song filled with interweaving and close harmonies that had the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. Starting slow, with guitar being the main instrument, towards the end the tune took a quicker pace with added drums. Letters, came after and told the story about being away from home and those you love then returning after a time to realise that things have changed. Being a slightly more heartfelt song with its lyrics and slower tempo it changed up the balanced set list and showed us how The Young Folk have the skills at morphing our mood from elated and care free to pensive and reflective in the space of one song.
Being the evening before Good Friday meant that The Young Folk weren’t able to play a normal gig slot time and had to be done and finished by 11pm. With less than thirty minutes to go the band announced that Way Home would be their last song of the night and sincerely thanked the crowd for coming. The vast majority of the crowd knew the words to the well-known tune and were singing heartily along, especially when frontman Furey invited everyone to join in on the closing and repeated lyrics “I’m on my way home”. With another big thank you to the crowd the band left the stage but the crowd decided they hadn’t had enough for one evening and started up a chorus of “one more tune, one more tune”. After a minute or so the band came back on stage for an encore and decided to do something they “never do” by playing a song unplugged. The opening tune of their well-known Way Down South started to play and a hush came over the venue with everyone listening intently to every note and word coming from the stage.
As the last few notes on xylophone died out the band decided to do one last and final tune that was without a doubt the highlight of the night. The band picked up their instruments and hopped off the stage wading into the centre of the crowd, a dropped pin would have been heard hitting the floor the room was so hushed. Everyone took out their mobile phones and cameras to film the band as they struck up and played Olivia Leaves. There was no barrier between audience and band as they played, and once again the audience were invited to sing along to the closing lines of “Olivia, don’t let me down” first quietly and building in intensity and volume with every singing of it.
The magical and atmospheric night had come to an end and an audible reluctance to leave could be heard. The set of just under ten songs had been short and sweet which I’m sure many wished could have carried on into the small hours of Good Friday morning.
Review by Miriam McGovern