The Young Folk at Whelan’s – Review and Photos
The Young Folk played to a very chilled Whelan’s audience on Thursday night. All it took was one person to decide that sitting on the floor was a welcoming option and sure enough they were all dropping like flies to do the same. What resulted was a circle time gathering with scattered bodies at the edges who instead chose to stand.
Opening up for the band was John Blek, a Corkonian with a powerful voice and some seriously good acoustic guitar skills. Having the name ‘Blek’ as a musician would be such a good entrepreneurial opportunity for something like ‘Blek’s Plecs’, however this idea soon crumbles as it becomes evident that there’s no guitar plectrums in sight. KFC better watch their backs because this guy’s talents are finger-pickingly good. He smooths his way through the set in an effortless manner, with tinges of Passenger-esque and even David Gray qualities to his voice. He also appears to have a signature outro to his tracks, slowing it down and fading out through one of his skillful chord sequences.
The Young Folk quite simply are a group fuelled with high-energy and gorgeous harmonies that are encased in a little folk world. It also appears that there’s no limits to the instruments given access to this world; if it’s playable get it on that stage. They treat the audience to a mix of both newer tracks and also those which would be more well known. With a solid arrangement of acoustics, bass, keyboard and drums, they also have a further inclusion of a trombone amongst this impressive sound and it’s just genius. ‘Ive Been Here Before’ also introduces the additional offerings off both banjo and ukulele, which gels so well with the catchy lyrics and crisp harmonies. Skillful chord switches are also an element often taken for granted but if you see these guys live, you get plenty of them in eloquent fashion. Furthermore, there was an intriguing inclusion of a melodica during their set (guilty of googling ‘accordion you blow into’) which appeared out of nowhere and yet again added to their note-worthy instrument catalogue.
Gavin Glass also joined the band on stage for a few tracks. With the combined energy being ramped up to not only showcase their talents through ‘Song About Wolves’ and Gavin’s own ‘Rag Doll’, from an audience perspective it was clear this group of lads were there to have a great time and also share the experience with everyone in the room. ‘Grown’ and ‘Way Down South’ come across so well in a live setting, with beautiful arrangements seeming effortless as Paul Butler produced a xylophone to see off a perfect outro.
Once Anthony, the lead singer, got the room to complete silence they also performed a stripped down version of ‘Olivia Leaves’, bringing the quality of their superb harmonies to the fore.
‘Way Home’ gets everyone on their feet near the end of the set, with Alex having to jump between ukulele and back to trombone in the space of about 5 seconds but pulled it off in style! Was also a nice touch to hear people in the room join in with the harmonies.
Their last headline show in Dublin for a while, The Young Folk definitely showcased a stunning raw talent that the Irish music scene should be proud of.
Review by Nicole Leggett
Photos by Tara Stanhope