Blood or Whiskey — The Workman’s Club [Dublin 21st April 2012]

It would, I think — be a small bit of a misnomer to try and class Blood or Whiskey as some sort of Trad-Punk band.

It would, I think — be a small bit of a misnomer to try and class Blood or Whiskey as some sort of Trad-Punk band. They fall more with The Pogues in being poetic punk than most other bands people may threaten to say are of their ilk. There is a Larkin-esque “This be the verse“ quality to the lyrics of lead singer Dugs, that speaks to the there on the ground quality of every day life in Dublin. It rings painfully close to the bone, while at the same time shaking its fist at the “At least I’m not a leper” malaise that infects every corner of Irish society.

Held in The Workman’s Club — a small venue known for its sound quality — the gig on the 21st of April was Blood or Whiskey’s first in two years due to an illness enforced absence.

Filling late due to the typical Irish belligerence of not turning up for any support act — the gig had a good turn out, the club being comfortably full.

What followed was not just the triumphant return of a band at the very height of their powers but also perhaps one of the best gigs of the year. Tumbling out, swinging and roaring with the central thread of Townsend’s banjo tying each of these talented musicians (Colly Morrison — bass , Pete Townsend — banjo, Chris O’Meara — drums and vocals, Dugs — vocals and guitar, Chuck — electric guitar, vocals, Andy — tin whistle, accordion and vocals) into a tight ball of magnificent stomp. Tight? They were as close to CD perfect as I’ve heard in a long time. Whatever magic they’ve been working behind the scenes of their absence — I can only hope they keep it up.

The set list included old classic standards such as ‘Poxy Pub’, ‘Doors of Hope’ and ‘They Say No’, as well as a heap of new material from their coming album ‘On The Rocks’, such as the brilliant ‘Gernika’ and ‘Gone and Forgotten’, ‘Black Pits’ and ‘Shot by a Thief’.

With an album launch to come — and more gigs, hopefully — it’s about time this band got the success and recognition they deserve. Find their old stuff, get the new album and above all try to catch them live — you won’t be disappointed.

Originally published at 26/04/2012

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