Listening to … Damien Rice

I’m so excited!  Tonight I heard the new song from Damien Rice.  My friend Bridget introduced me to Damien when I was living in Dublin.  We’d got talking about music and discovered we had similar tastes and she asked me to go with her to see Damien in a concert at the Olympia Theatre.  I still have the ticket, and it’s not even faded.

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Damien had at that point released a few EPs and his debut album “O” was just out or about to come out (I can’t remember which, it’s 12 years ago, after all!).  The concert at the Olympia Theatre was one of the most memorable I’ve been to.  It was the first time I’d been there, and the concert was on Damien’s birthday.  He slowly got drunk on stage as he celebrated with everyone, and when he was presented with a cake at the end, it turned into a food fight on stage.  The antics were, however, overshadowed by the brilliant performances.  It can be hard to go to a gig when you’re not familiar with the songs.  But I was drawn in so quickly by the songs, the melodies, the mix of guitar and cello (which has always got me), along with the other instruments, that by the end of the night I was a fan.  When we left the theatre by the side door and walked back down the alley to Dame Street we discovered Damien had moved out on to the footpath with his guitar and was “busking”.  For a good 20-30 minutes before the Garda arrived and moved on the traffic that was spilling out on to the road.

After “0” came “9” – about four years later.  I was back home in NZ by then and ordered my copy from an Irish website so I could get it more quickly.  So it’s been 8 long years for him to produce a new album, which is due at the end of October.  The track I heard tonight brought back the talent I saw on stage.  Falsettos, use of strings, a touch of punk attitude, and a song that builds up with tension.  There’s always a feeling of rawness as his songs build and that’s still there.  So yes, I’m excited and am anticipating the album due at the end of October!

 

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