Live Review: Gavin James – Whelans, Dublin – 16/8/14

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Photo: Gavin James live in Olympia Theatre for FM104’s ‘The Gig’
By Adam Ellison Photography
Returning to Dublin after a string of international shows, Gavin James is back home to record a live EP in Whelans.

Whelans was completely sold out for Gavin’s return, the Irish crowd eager to see the rising star on home soil. The night kicked off with a stellar performance from Craig Gallagher. Not overly familiar to the crowd, his sweet voice and lyrics were a real catch. His set may have been short, but he made a superb lasting impression. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for this young man.

As the crowd went back to their usual chatter, it was swiftly interrupted by a voice over the PA system requesting silence during Gavin’s songs as they were recording them tonight. This was followed by a roar of applause as the singer took to the stage.

Gavin introduced himself and told the audience what the evening would entail, joking that he felt like he was “wearing really big headphones” as two large speakers were placed on either side of him. He noted that he usually feels nervous before playing a gig, and nervous before recording, which resulted in a resounding “Awwww!” from the crowd.

As he began to play, it was clear that Gavin has honed his craft excellently over the last couple of years. His voice is soulful and mesmerizing, he is able to capture and command the attention of his fans with minimal effort and his imaginative guitar playing is near-flawless. Unfortunately, Gavin was confined to the small space on the stage due to the vast amount of recording equipment, preventing a more energetic performance.

The crowd, however, didn’t mind at all. They would sing all night long, with each song being played seemingly a bigger fan favourite than the previous. This was particularly noticeable during Gavin’s cover of Coldplay’s ‘Magic’. Even when he sang the lesser known songs, such as the new ‘Great Escape’ which Gavin claimed is “the happiest song I’ve ever written”, the crowd were still in awe of his performance.

Ending the main set with ‘Say Hello’, which is easily his most well known song, he left the stage to a roaring crowd who were united in chanting “we want more”. After about a minute, Gavin returned to the stage to play his encore set, which ended on ‘Book Of Love’, a song many we’re not familiar with – but still  captured the audiences attention.

It was a superb night of acoustic singer-songwriter talent in Whelans, with everyone being sent home happy. Gavin’s soulful voice is hard to beat in the Irish music scene, and the fans let him know how much they adore it each time he steps on to the stage.

Look out for the live album recorded live in Whelans to be released later this year!

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