Funk flavoured sounds, hefty rich rhythms and lush guitar refrains fill the room for Gorilla Troubadour’s ‘Tom Cruise Does All His Own Stunts’ single launch in Whelan’s Dublin. I entered the venue as their second song ‘Hey Hey’ wafted around my ears. Its charming strut quality and swagger drenched bass groove walked me through the bopping crowd. The tasty guitar lines, tight presentation and punchy drums were a delightful welcome. These guys have a fun approach to their live show as banter with the crowd is plentiful. The band played through their set creating a soothing sense of mellowed out hysteria through the crowd. They build their tracks perfectly providing something for every music lover from swoony melodies, intricate guitar lines and lush wails to a sublime hip moving rhythmic section.These guys are tight. They smother their songs in a wispy smoke of darkness – ‘Ophelia’ in particular is one hair raising gem. For such a young band their sound is sophisticated and mature. There are no holes, no lapses, just solid rich tunes ready to mosh, wiggle and sway to. To get a band this tight with a sound this compelling is a special find but then for them to be great live as well- that’s pretty fantastic.
A few well known covers pepper the bands set list – a bass slicked rendition of Royal Blood’s ‘Figure It Out’ goes down particularly well with the crowd while a refreshing cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘ (which sees frontman Dylan Kearns take to the keys) also graces the set list. The band are all impressive performers, Dylan Kearns plays the frontman roll well. His smiley persona comes across bubbly yet relaxed as he tackles the crowds song requests for ‘Esmeralda’.Eamon Ganley lead Guitarist has some shredding solo’s and boy does he execute them well, (perhaps playing up to the crowds enthusiasm) he strikes and wiggles with precision and panache while bassist James O’ Connor is immersed in his grooves as he majestically and nimbly swoops and glides through the bass lines. With a slightly deflated “confetti cannon” pop (more like a glorified party popper) the band introduce the most mesmerising artist to sing with them, Cat Doran. Her soulful vocals are hair raising, chilling and utterly enthralling as she ever so coolly blends with Kearns sweet falsetto.There is a mystical,enchanting yet haunting quality to her voice that lures and entices you into every note. Kearns’ vocals are pretty outstanding for ‘We Drove For Miles’ which was my favourite track of the night. This smoky gem features a sultry guitar solo, a spellbinding melody and oodles of passion.
‘Tom Cruise Does All His Own Stunts’ translates magnificently live. Drummer Eric Walsh puts on a gorilla mask and the track whacks into fruition. This track coils and uncoils itself ever so confidently live- it feels like it could be the work of a band with twice the experience.Walsh is quite the proficient drummer. He lays down their meaty foundation and executes it with a fluidity that is first rate, showcasing he can maneuver a pounding assault or a sweltering lighter tap-tap-tap with finesse and gusto. ‘The Apple Truck’ is the final track of the night and Kearns introduces this before he takes a memorable and lasting picture on his disposable camera – “your looking well” he glints at the crowd before they cruise into the sizzling track which once again shows the bands striking musical talent.
Gorilla Troubadour are definitely a band to keep an eye on. They have their heads screwed on. They know what they are doing, what works, what sounds good and then they turn that up a notch and make it theirs. The cool swagger with which they dispatch their meat-cleaver riffs, slick musicianship and catchy choruses is what makes these guys pretty special.