It just had to be one of those nights – a packed room, sweaty atmosphere, lots of noise and a live performance to restore your faith in the magic of the moment. The upstairs venue in Whelan’s is not to everybody’s taste but on a night like this it kicks into gear where the cramped space and lack of a decent view actually add to the vibe in the room.
Getting things warmed up is the local Dublin band, Kicking Bird, who play a confident set of energetic tunes, topped off with a strong vocal performance by Shannen Byrne.
Chuck Prophet takes to the stage with his partner in crime Stephanie Finch who has regularly performed with him over their many years in the music business. There are plenty of fans to sing along to the observant songs that take a slice out of life and toss it around in a way that gives you a seat on board this train we all ride.
There is a great chemistry onstage between the two artists as they harmonise beautifully on vocals and inspire each other as guitars and keyboard take the music through different gears, with superb interplay throughout. It is easy to forget just how accomplished a guitar player Chuck Prophet is and his solo riffs are greeted with regular applause.
His latest release Night Surfer is given an airing with tracks Ford Econoline and Wish Me Luck, but it is prior release, Temple Beautiful that gets the greater exposure with Little Girl Little Boy, The Left Hand and the Right Hand, Museum of Broken Hearts, Willy Mays is Up at Bat and Play That Song Again given full treatment.
Doubter Out of Jesus from Soap & Water is the perfect example of the tight harmonies between Chuck and Stephanie and an old Green on Red song, We Had It All, brings the show to an end with the crowd wanting more and the two sublime performers smiling in the knowledge of a fine night’s work as they left the stage.
Review by Paul McGee. Image taken from the cover of Chuck Prophet Dreaming My Dreams