The Afro-Celt Sound System,
Monday 28 July, The Olympia Theatre.
The Afro-Celt's tour of summer festivals has done them a lot of good.
The now truly have the feel of a proper band and not just a random
collection of experimenting musicians.
In comparison to the last time the band played this venues, this time
they were trul electric. The music had a casual, relaxed feel about it.
It seemed that the musicians on the stage were having just as much fun as
James McNally is one of the most incredible front-men playing at the
moment. On-stage he is a cross between ringleader, clown and, of course,
a fabulous musician. Whether dancing around with a flute or whistle (tin
and low) like a demented pied piper, or beating the shit out of a bodhran
with some of the fastest playing I have ever seen, whenever he is
on-stage he is the center of attention.
The Afro-Celts on record are much more of a dance band than they are
live, on stage, the dance beats only form the most basic of a foundation
for the musicians. This gig featured some different faces from the last
time and they seem to gel with each other better than their fore-runners.
It is truly impossible to describe in words the music that was played,
from the demented jam of the Irish music mix to the delicate beauty of
Iarla O Lionard's sean nos to the mad African beats complete with a
Song titles lose all relevance, and in many cases the songs are only
slightly recognizable. The Afro-Celts play a music that is truly alive
and constantly evolving and is often characterized by battles between
different musicians - tin whistle vs. bodhran or bodhran vs. tama.
It is refreshing to hear something that is both very old but is also
incredibly fresh. The reaction of the crowd, which featured quite a few
dance fans, proves that this music has struck some kind of chord. Who
would have thought that rave would be replaced by traditional and ethnic
music? It is a funny old world.
by Donnacha DeLong