Richard Hawley - Vicar Street, Dublin, 30th October 2015

Richard Hawley – Vicar Street, Dublin, 30th October 2015

Richard HawleyRight at the start of the night Richard Hawley asks, “Are you ready to ‘av it?” Of course, the answer for everyone in the packed-out Vicar Street crowd is a resounding ‘YES’. ‘Which Way’ opens tonight’s proceedings, leading for a varied set of ballads from Sheffield’s most unlikely rock’n’roll hero.

The stage is beautifully arranged with the bassist and second guitarist on backing vocals. The drummer and keyboardist sit behind them, with Hawley positioned in the middle. ‘The Streets Are Ours’ gets the audience moving, followed by ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ from 2012’s critically acclaimed album of the same name. ‘Tuesday PM’, about his daughter leaving home, is the high point of the night, where the whole room is brought to a poignant silence.

The current tour ends a three-year break extended by health problems. Now back in full creative flow with a new album under his belt, Hawley is ready to win over a new set of followers.  Based on tonight’s performance, that won’t be hard. New album, Hollow Meadows is the focus of tonight’s show. New tracks ‘I Still Want You’ and ‘Sometimes I Feel’ are an instant sing-along success, blending in with classics, such as ‘Don’t Stare At The Sun’ and ‘Leave Your Body Behind’. The impressive tremolo and reverb-infused sound Hawley gets from his guitars highlights his unmistakable vocal style. He’s a crooning rocker and he carries it off well.

Unusually, Richard Hawley has a cross-age appeal. An almost tangible, warm feeling of love flows through the audience entranced by the singer’s velvety voice and poignant romantic musings. The guy also knows how to relate to his crowd. On more than a couple of occasions, he comes out with incredible one-liners. After inquiring about an admirer’s age he informs the audience that he has “peas in his freezer older than 17.” And when a local taxi driver tells Hawley that Dublin is twinned with Las Vegas because they are the only two cities where you could pay for sex with chips, he responds with “I’m here all week, folks.”

Modest and polite, he repeatedly thanks everyone throughout the night, after all, they could have stayed at home and watched him on The Late Late Show. Despite breaking a string (something he apparently has never done in 30 years of live performance) he ends the night on a three-song encore, finishing with ‘The Ocean’.

At the end of the night, he promises to be back in the new year. No doubt there’ll be many more waiting to see him and we’ll ‘av it again.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.