Tonight’s Olympia show comes on the back of a remarkable week for Cathy Davey. The date falls in the middle of an Irish tour in support of her third album The Nameless, which went straight into the Irish charts at number one when released last week. Cathy’s previous albums, her 2004 debut Something Ilk and follow up Tales of Silversleeve received widespread critical acclaim but for all the praise she has until now enjoyed only minor commercial success. So now, six years later, it is just rewards for the Dublin songwriter that her talents have been fully rewarded.
As Cathy arrives on stage in a red dress and boots it’s clear that the packed out Olympia crowd are eager to join in the celebrations. An early set highlight is the apt new single ‘Little Red’ that builds from a sweetly sung intro to a soaring chorus, bolstered tonight with a string section Ms. Davey delivers a goose bump enducing rendition. The momentum increased as ‘Clean and Neat’ followed – the pounding, bass driven track features kitten like vocals but is fiercely melodic.
For somebody who once dreaded the stage it seems like Cathy has changed her mind about playing live and is clearly enjoying herself tonight, joking with the crowd about spilt water and sweat patches. ‘Rueben’ is another stand out moment, a piano-led pop stomp featuring handclaps and howls glazed in sugar-candy vocals. On occasion Davey’s soft vocal style can get lost in a live setting but tonight, she was note perfect. At times she whispers lyrics, like she’s telling a secret in the schoolyard but don’t be fooled, she can also belt ’em out.
The one downside of the night was a slight lag towards the middle of the set as less popular new album tracks (or maybe people haven’t had enough listening time) left some audience members heading for the bar. However once the opening beats of set closer ‘Moving’ rang out, the nagging, groove propelling song had the crowd well and truly back on side.
There was a surprise in store during the encore as Cathy and band launched into a rousing cover of Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’. A clearly delighted Davey ended proceedings with crowd pleaser ‘Sing for your Supper’, sending the crowd home having witnessed a triumphant night for one of Ireland’s best performers.
Photos: Damien McGlynn