Live Review: Aldoc - Barry's of Grange, County Sligo by Orla Sweeney

Live Review: Aldoc - Barry's of Grange, County Sligo by Orla Sweeney

Friday, January 30th saw the end of a gloomy month come to a close, and smiles lit our faces with excitement for the night that lay ahead as we headed North of the county to one of this countries finest musical establishments to join the gathered masses for the long awaited arrival of Aldoc to the stage in Barry’s of Grange, Co Sligo.

It was Aldoc’s first visit to this neck of the woods, but the reaction to last year’s album “From Tallaght to Halle”, and the live reputation that has been steadily building drew a sizeable crowd to a venue which has always been a byword for great music. Drawn from the ashes of that fine band, Gráda, with a coterie of newcomers on board, Aldoc bounded on stage with an energy that was to characterise their set, most of which – though not all - was drawn from the aforementioned album. From the get go we were struck by frontman, Alan Doherty who’s stagecraft, humour and ability to engage with the crowds was impressive to say the least!

Their music, while based in the new end of the Irish tradition, has much more to it than that, shaded as it is by elements of reggae, even hip hop, reinforced by the use of decks as an integral part of the set. There is a strong sense of composition, and an awareness of the variety needed in tune forms which make for moments that alternate between sheer power, seductive and slinky, and a whole lot else besides. A track like ‘Sooner Lucky ,Da’ where whistles and drums push the rhythm is in sharp contrast to Feeling Much Better, a lazy, sloping sample laden piece. This variety - and the sheer energy they conjure up as a live act - is what sets them apart from many of their contemporaries, and with writers of the calibre of Alan Doherty and Gerry Paul in the lineup, and a willingness to take on most things, even Senegalese poetry(!) there seems to be no end to their prospects.

Another major highlight included Christof taking centre stage and wowing the crowds with a melodic, vocal performance that sent all toe-tapping dancers back to their seats! What a performer, without doubt an artist in his own right, with a draw ensuring that many of us in attendance will keep a watchful eye out for his possible return solo gigs along the Wild Atlantic Way in the future.

Even with the benefit of a few day’s hindsight, come the end of 2015, I think last Friday night in Barry’s will still rank as one of the gigs of the year. Aldoc represent everything I love about music, buy the album, see them live, they are simply brilliant!

Órla Sweeney