Photo: Remy Connolly
Gig Review: "Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." - Oprah Winfrey.
As music venues go, upstairs at The Workman's Club has a lot of appealing characteristics, in the old Georgian building overlooking the Liffey, you feel like you could be in someone's living room, it's a relaxed space and it's intimate. While the downstairs venue regularly hosts big local acts, and therefore reaches a certain standard in terms of set up and sound, upstairs seems to be the opposite, especially when you're dealing with amplification and electrics. Hence my quote, I was looking for some clever quote from a Greek or Roman philosopher on adversity, and the will to triumph, but no one understands adversity more than billionaire Winfrey. For me the upstairs venue let The Journals down on Monday night, and not just them, but the other acts that preceded them, although I only saw impressive rock outfit Voxx, the word on the street even before they had played, was that other support acts Brass Phantoms and Donal Quinn had been gazumped by deadened vocals and unfriendly acoustics.
By the time the headliners took to the floor the place had filled up, a mix of friends, fans and young tourists, and The Journals got stuck in by opening with their most recent tracks 'Mannequin' and 'Habits & Recreations', personally I was delighted to hear these two tracks live for the first time. The clock was against the band as previous sets had overrun their allocated slots, and you could sense that the trio were rushed in trying to fit as many songs into a limited amount of time. As a result, it wasn't until the final two songs of their set that they seemed to have settled and fully gotten into their stride, and they fairly ripped it up. The mood in the room lifted immediately as Moyles and McDowell on guitar and bass seemed to have decided to shrug their shoulders and make the best of a bad situation, condensing whatever they could into the final minutes of the night. One of the best parts of The Journal's performance on the night though was reserved for drummer Alex Cummins, impressive control and sheer energy, his drumming was wild but completely in step with his bandmates and was exhilarating to watch. I enjoyed being on the bus with the super talented Journals, but I look forward to our next trip in the limo, their music deserves far better surrounds.
Photo: Remy Connolly