Review: Hudson Taylor – Academy 2, Dublin – 21/12/12

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Dublin brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor have definitely been missed busking on the streets of Dublin and playing frequent gigs in their hometown, so you can imagine the excitement of their Irish fans when they announced two Academy 2 headline shows.

As the crowd were piling into the basement of the Academy, support acts Little Bear and Cry Monster Cry gave two outstanding performances that definitely kept the mood up in the room. The atmosphere was just building and building, and that, combined with the expected buzz four days before Christmas created a beautiful setting.

The venue was full and the stage was set up when Hudson Taylor’s mash-up of Lose Yourself/Walking On The Moon began blaring from the speakers. As if the excitement from the crowd could radiate around the room any more than at this moment- until the boys hopped up on stage to dive into the opening strums of Drop Of Smoke. The welcome and appreciation from the fans could have taken the roof off this venue, which almost seemed too small for this class act.

The duo moved swiftly on to the calming chords of Hideaway– one of the many songs which highlight the rustic sound of Alfie’s unique voice. These two opening songs were clearly well-known by the crowd, having been released on their debut EP Battles. Before moving on to tracks from their latest EP Cinematic Lifestyle, it was time for a quick chat with the crowd, until Harry brought up their recent move to London, to which the fans responded with boos!

Having played an equal number of tracks from both EPs, we were then introduced to some brand new material- Drop In The Ocean. Of course, it’s always risky playing new material and anticipating a nice reaction, but sticking to their usual sound of upbeat, folk-pop, this song, although unfamiliar to the majority of people, was still a crowd pleaser.

Moving from the energetic, powerful performance of Drop In The Ocean, the guys ask the crowd to go quiet while they step away from the stage and the band, and stand basically right above the front row of the crowd, to perform an acoustic version of Left Alone. This performance was a reminder of what Hudson Taylor do best- connect and interact with the crowd while giving a flawless performance. For these few minutes, it no longer felt like a gig, but more like a sing-song at a gathering of friends.

Holding their positions away from the band, we were then presented with another new song Weapons, which was beautifully perfected with a violin solo from Tadhg. The energy from both the crowd and the lads themselves didn’t die down even a notch as they propelled onto what I would describe as one of the songs of the night, Cinematic Lifestyle. With the crowd screaming the chorus back at them, it was clear the boys were genuinely delighted to be back in front of their home crowd, in the city where their music started.

Now, this was a Hudson Taylor show… And what kind of one would it be without the title track of their debut EP Battles echoing around the room? This much loved song was next on the list, before the boys thanked everyone for coming out and disappeared off stage. Of course, they reappeared a short number of seconds later for a relaxed encore Trouble Town. Little did anyone expect, but, I suppose we should have known better; this was only building up to something bigger. With a false stop, the entire band on stage erupted into the duo’s legendary mash-up of Lose Yourself/Walking On The Moon. I think everyone present at this gig would describe this moment as the highlight of the night. Full credit to Harry and Alfie for a wonderful performance and a perfectly structured set that made it a gig to remember.

Setlist:     

Drop Of Smoke

Hideaway

Watchtower

Butterflies

Drop In The Ocean

Left Alone

Weapons

Chasing Rubies

Cinematic Lifestyle

Called On

Battles

Trouble Town

Lose Yourself/Walking On The Moon

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