Live music review: Paul Brady

Vicar Street, Dublin

****

Great musicians often have a great back catalogue, a profusion of songs. And this is the case with Paul Brady. As he told the Vicar Street audience, the Sunday performance would include songs not sung in years. We were in for a treat.

He opened with ‘I Believe in Magic’, from the 2000 album Oh What A World, setting the tone for the night with its eclectic mix of acoustic, traditional and rock n roll blended styles.

The Tyrone native went deep into the vault, digging out the the 1980s ‘Soul Child’, recorded in LA, and more recent hits from the 2010 album Hooba Dooba, made in Dublin.

This was an intimate evening of reflection and humour. The night’s music was made sweeter by the choral voice of accompanist Suzanne Savage with her violin and the super guitar licks of Bill Shanley. Alongside newer numbers such as ‘Harvest’ from his latest album Unfinished Business, listeners were rewarded with the cheeky ‘I Like How You Think’ and the famed ‘Nobody Knows’.

You would not think Brady is 70, especially with a non-stop two-hour performance. Age has only added dept to his voice. This was especially so with the mystical but political ‘The Island’, which threw up a huge cheer. A poignant song with Brexit looming over this island, a reminder of the dangers of sectarianism, of marching down that road to freedom.

And lest we forget his time with Planxty, Brady took out a tin whistle for the glorious ‘Oceans of Time’, dedicating this to his son in New Zealand. Brady left us with breathtaking deliveries of the ‘World is What You Make It’ and finally the all-popular ‘Hills of Donegal’.

This was a poetic evening, punctured with laughter, those Brady-esque alternate acoustic sounds, his neck-tingling classics that silence a room and a lively trip through his extensive back
catalogue.


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