Jacco Gardner calmly strolls around the venue pre-gig, checking connections, testing signals, then, with little or no fanfare, strolls off stage. A few minutes later he strolls back on again, this time joined by his band; and what a band. They somehow manage to perfectly re-create all the sounds, nuances and all the layered harmonies from his two previous albums with consummate ease – a joy to witness and to listen to.
The last year or so of non-stop touring with various bands has served Gardner and his band well. The sound here is pristine and one could even argue as good, if not better than the album. With the bass and drums more to the front of the mix than on the record and sounding all the better for it, the band are tight and in the groove – obviously enjoying themselves and revelling in the appreciation of the crowd.
Despite the potentially calamitous mid-gig misstep of associating the Dublin performance with the last night of their UK tour Jacco and co. recover by saying how great it is to be here, that it’s their first time here and they are blown away by the crowd. Audience back on side, Gardner continues to dazzle us with some tunes from his previous album Cabinet Of Curiosities with ‘Clear The Air’ prompting a collective nodding of heads and foot-tapping throughout the room. It’s hard not to get swept up in the music, the musicianship and the psychedelic pop trip we are being brought on by Gardner and band. The sound they conjure up sits somewhere between Syd Barrett, Toro Y Moi & Foxygen and while not as overtly dance-y as the latter, there are certainly grounds for comparison.
To rubber-stamp his psych-pop folk credentials even further, Gardner finds the time to throw in a cover of a song by obscure ’60s English singer songwriter Billy Nicholls. It fits in seamlessly with the rest of the catalogue and if he hadn’t said it was a cover you would have been forgiven for thinking otherwise.
The vocals could be slightly louder but with everything else sounding so good, you have to put this down to design rather than error. All of his ‘hits’ get an airing with ‘Find Yourself’ and ‘Another You’, from recent album Hypnophobia, particular highlights on a night of many.
They came, they played, they sold their own merchandise after the gig. They stuck around afterwards meeting fans and mingling among the assorted crowd. We couldn’t have asked for much more.