Last weekend and Dublin, more than ever, is awash with skinny jeaned young men sporting Dalston crops and a burning desire to be discovered (worn as utter nonchalance of course) at the HWCH festival. Tucked away upstairs in The Village though, a whole different kind of crowd is waiting to see Jack Penate. The front three or four rows are tightly packed with screaming and excitable teenage girls and a smattering of adoring fanboys sporting their own Penate imitation hairdos and shirts. Further back the venue fills up quickly with an older more sedate yet no less adoring type of fan.
When Jack Penate and his band finally emerge from the little door at the back right corner of the stage to chants of -We Want Jack’ they immediately burst into -So Near’, with the singer barely waiting for any crowd reaction before he is dancing around the stage like a non-gothic Robert Smith. Tonight’s set is made up primarily of songs from the recently released and critically acclaimed second album -Everything Is New’, with a few of the favourites from the somewhat less celebrated debut Matinee. Next up is -Have I Been A Fool’ from that album, which sees the entire room attempt to keep up with Penate’s energetic dance moves. Following this are three new tracks, including the title track from the new album along, all of which receive a resounding welcome.
Penate introduces the next track as ‘a song which I’m sure you will all very much know’, and indeed the crowd continue to lose the plot down the front to -Torn On The Platform’. The only cover version of the evening is by the band’s favourite band, Talking Heads; -This Must Be The Place (NaÃ¯ve Melody)’. This is followed by -Give Yourself’ and -Second, Minute or Hour’ which culminates in a stage dive and plenty of feverish groping and hugging before Penate returns to the stage and swaps his telecaster for a keyboard. For a moment there’s a fear he is going to go all Chris Martin on us but no, instead he plays standout track from the new album -Body Down’, accompanied by a female backing vocalist.
Penate and band encore with the first single off the album, -Tonight’s Today’ which is so anthemic that it prompts a stage invasion, somewhat encouraged by Penate who gives the front row a helping hand. After a set which lasts little more an hour the band are engulfed, leaving the security and staff grumpy and unimpressed but a lot of very happy punters.
Photos: Sean Conroy