Saturday 20 January 2018

Review: Paul Brady

Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin

Ed Power

Ed Power

PAUL Brady's new album is saddled with the strange title 'Hooba Dooba'. And like many of the records he's put out over the past 30 years, it's a bit all over the map.

Playing fast and loose with his image as a doyen of easy listening, Brady dips his toe into country pop, singer-songwriter balladry and burnished roots rock. You almost expect him to throw in a few dub-step tunes, simply to underscore his versatility.

At the Grand Canal Theatre the 62-year-old isn't shy about reminding fans, most of whom are clearly here for an evening of nostalgia, that he's got a new record out.

Backed by a five-piece band, including North Carolina's Sarah Siskind on vocals, he devotes much of the show's opening half to 'Hooba Dooba'. A barbed rumination on celebrity, 'The Price of Fame' sounds like Daniel O'Donnell channelling Garth Brooks; 'Rainbows' is a syrupy lament in the tradition of 'Paradise Is Here', the Brady power-ballad famously covered by Tina Turner.

Bravely, he dispenses early on with his biggest smash, 'Nobody Knows', delivering a slowed down reading of a tune which errs just the right side of sentimental. More hits follow. 'The Long Goodbye' -- his 2000 collaboration with Ronan Keating -- suggests Brady may have missed his calling as a penner of treacly pop songs.

From 1981's 'Hard Station' he disinters 'Nothing But the Same Old Story' a moving rumination on the plight of Irish migrants in '70s London.

From the back of the room, Brady's resemblance to American chat show host Jerry Springer can be unnerving, particularly when he tries to 'rock out' -- facing his drummer and swinging his hips in a manner distressing for a man dressed like somebody's dad on his way to an office drinks do.

Still, there are few blips in a performance that suggests Brady is determined to look to the future rather than wallow in past accomplishments.

Irish Independent

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