Monday 19 August 2019

Review: Scott’s sojourn ends with a Celtic twist

Rock: The Waterboys vicar street, Dublin

Mike Scott
Mike Scott

Ed Power

In Ireland, Waterboys leader Mike Scott has gained an unhelpful association with the overblown genre of Celtic rock by dint of 1988's soggily beautiful Fisherman's Blues album (who'd have thought stadium guitars plus Sharon Shannon's accordion would add up to musical Nirvana?).

But Scott's fruitful sojourn in Connemara was merely part of an ongoing creative journey by the endlessly curious Edinburgh native, who, across latter years, has used the Waterboys as a vehicle to express his love of WB Yeats (the Appointment With Mr Yeats project) and, with the recent Modern Blues LP, of old school roots and r'n'b.

This was the incarnation in which he initially appeared on the first of evening of a four-night Vicar Street run. With his over-sized spectacles and wide-brim hat, the 56-year-old had the whiff of an oddball professor whose era of expertise was the early work of Bob Dylan. Flanking him was an equally rag-tag bunch, including silver-haired keyboardist Paul Brown and fiddle-stroking wingman Steve Wickham.

A narrow-shouldered livewire, Scott stalked the stage like a caged animal. He jerked his head and twitched his feet on Destinies Entwined and led the troupe through an endlessly spiraling re-imagining of early smash A Girl Named Johnny.

The crowd was into it all - even the droning, irascible new stuff.

Yet the loudest cheers came as Scott dispensed with the pretense that Irish audiences have space in their hearts for any incarnation of The Waterboys other than that with which they fell in love three decades ago.

So it was that shrieks and swoons broke out at the beginning of The Whole of The Moon, rising to a pleasant mass hysteria during Fisherman's Blues, a frisky dirge about wanting to be alone that had 1,500 people united in song.

Irish Independent

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