Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Guest post: do you want a Dingle with that? Tony Clayton-Lea at Other Voices

The National, Cathy Davey, Ellie Goulding and John Smith in a church in Dingle, Co Kerry: it can only be Other Voices. The report on last night’s action from our temporary Kerryman Tony Clayton-Lea. Another day in Dingle, another spellbinding …

Mon, Dec 6, 2010, 14:02

   

The National, Cathy Davey, Ellie Goulding and John Smith in a church in Dingle, Co Kerry: it can only be Other Voices. The report on last night’s action from our temporary Kerryman Tony Clayton-Lea.

Another day in Dingle, another spellbinding gig. Rocking the kind of look last seen modelled by members of the Jesse James gang, The National were first on stage in St James’ Church. Their outlaw threads are smart, but their music is simply stunning. It goes something like this: a slow start, a quiet thrum of guitars, serious vocals from a stoic frontman (Matt Berninger). Then, building momentum, incremental excitement and an intensified, almost strait-jacketed performance from Berninger, who stalks the stage as if looking for something to smash up. The intensity is almost too much to take, such is the fever pitch excess of the music, but it holds to the finish, when
both band and audience exhale in a collective orgasmic shout of triumph. Three letters: WTF.

Inevitably, all that follows doesn’t have a snow ball’s chance of catching up. English singer-songwriter John Smith is at the opposite end of the scale in terms of sheer exhilaration, but taken in context, he’s extremely good. He’s a young, well spoken guy who is well versed with the heroes of 1960’s British folk – Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davey Graham. It’s a pity that he had to follow The National, but he held up well enough in such exalted company that he certainly deserves a second look and listen.

We love Cathy Davey, but by comparison, she flunked it. She looked so dashing, sang so beautifully, but seemed undermined by a creeping nervousness that finally got the better of her. Davey’s set started and stopped and interrupted itself a few times, and before you knew it you were twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next act.

Say hello, then, to Ellie Goulding, whose young age belies a voice of experience. Goulding wouldn’t be on my Desert Island list, but, you know, she sang good songs, rooted in Brit folk and dusted with the sheen of a female string quartet (clearly dressed by Agent Provocateur). And her version of Elton John’s “Your Song” was, well, quite sweet and prim, and nowhere near as dog-nasty as The National.

Over and out from Dingle until tomorrow!

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