Mystery man comes out to play the sweet sounds of a best kept secret . . .
EVERYONE loses their senses in December about whatever the so-called album of the year supposedly is. Meanwhile, Dubliner Simon Kenny quietly stole the Irish record of 2006 accolade on an influential taste-making music blog and website called Nialler.
Kenny operates under the alias of Si Schroeder, which is a nod to his former hardcore band Schroeder's Cat. He is ably assisted by Jimmy Eadie of Into Paradise fame on bass and Brian Mooney of the Idiots on guitar. Even though this intriguing and somewhat mysterious little band have rarely played live, they sound like as if they've been grafting it on live stages up and down the country every night of the week.
The performance was also wonderfully varied, opening with a meditative and mellow slice of electronica from Simon, but later bursting into sweet noise on a track called 'Lavendermist'. The band constantly play with total dedication and full concentration, doing Si Schroeder's delicate and beautiful music full justice.
Despite the atrocious weather, Kenny can pull an impressive crowd to listen to his unique creations. Judging by the turnout, the word-of-mouth recommendations spreading on the blogosphere appear to be working.
The Si Schroeder debut album, 'Coping Mechanisms', is so dense and layered it would be virtually impossible to re-create it note for note live. However, the band have fun with the songs, allowing the music room to breathe while applying beautifully subtle textures to these haunting soundscapes.
Kevin Brew's contributions on a synthesiser and a sampler fully flesh out the guitar-based sounds, and drummer Bryan O'Connell is as good a sticksman you'd see anywhere.
The crowd didn't want to see this lovely little band leave and they were rewarded with some brief encores. Hopefully, future Si Schroeder gigs won't be as rare.
In the meantime, 'Coping Mechanisms' would be an excellent choice for more discerning Christmas stockings this festive season.