Whelan’s upper deck is nicely wedged for the launch of Davis’ debut EP Simple Words, Complex World tonight. Intent on giving punters serious bang for their buck, three acts are deployed to warm up the slowly multiplying crowd. Oh Joy’s melodic garage pop – akin to some of The Cribs more lo-fi material – a particular highlight.
Beefed up with an extra guitar, bass and keyboard player, Davis take to the stage to the delight of the crowd who holler, whoop and call for various states of undress to be adopted by the band. Opening with ‘Love, Hate and Drugs’, the audience are on board from the off. Cousins Gavin and Keith remain the nucleus of the band in the live setting but it’s clear from the first song that they have cherry picked their hired guns wisely. The band are tight, well drilled and more than capable of doing the songs justice.
There’s diversity on Simple Words, Complex World but there’s even more in its live performance. There’s also a couple of new songs showcasing the bands rapid development as song writers. New track ‘Dots’ particularly peaks the ears, a kind of distorted version of ‘Dirty Diana’ put through the amped-up new folk ringer. Debuting a new song just as strong as anything on the EP they’re launching tonight is a great sign of productivity and quality control.
Gavin and Keith are positioned next to each other on stage, the dynamic between them is interesting to watch. Not too much interaction, just the occasional intense sideways glance. They are the creative force behind these songs and they’re the ones driving them forward on stage. The mixture of Gavin’s almost percussive guitar playing and Keith’s driving drumming lets them push and pull the songs wherever they need to go.
Just before the last song a renegade brassiere lands right on the rim of Gavin’s spectacles, if that’s not a seal of approval I don’t know what is. The show closes with ‘Eager’, clearly a crowd favourite. It’s “Who are you?” refrain echoes around the room as the crowd immediately join in. Having played faultlessly throughout the gig the band have to start their last song three times due to a couple of crossed wires. Quite fitting considering there’s been a palpable sense in the room that this could be the start of something for Davis.
Photo by David Willis