Dirty Little Secret EP Launch

Dave O'Grady
Studio 2, Parr Street

Reviewed by Rebecca Brookfield

Organised by Guardian Angel Records and taking place in Studio 2 on Parr Street in Liverpool, the evening’s entertainment promised to make this a good night. Studio 2 is a converted recording studio, the acoustics are brilliant and the ambient light of candles and wall lamps give it an intimate feel. It has a pricey but well stocked bar, drinks ranging from about £3 upwards. This is a place where many famous artists have recorded including: Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, John Mayer and Diana Ross.

The night started at 8pm with two supporting acts, both solo acoustic artists. First Simon Lomax eased the audience in with some accomplished light ballads, followed by a more intense fingerpicking performance by Ronan Boyle. Both were an excellent start to the proceedings.

After a short pause to allow his band to prepare, Dave O'Grady was welcomed to the stage by an enthusiastic reception from the audience. Those who have already heard his EP may have been surprised to see Dave onstage with a full band (indeed, I was surprised to learn that this was Dave's first time performing live with his own band), but the extra musical textures didn't distract from the stripped down nature of the song-writing and actually gave some of the harder kicking songs a slightly rockier edge.

Dave kicked off his set with Bones, the first track on his EP, which gradually built up to a stomping climax as each band member joined in. The musicians joining Dave on stage comprised of Tom Cowley (drums), Mike Gay (electric guitar), Mike Smith (keyboards, saxophone), John Bird (bass) and Stephanie Kennedy (backing vocals). There were also guest performances from Sandi Thom on backing vocals and mouth organ. As said by Dave himself on the night, they were all “unbelievably and unfairly talented musicians”.

Highlights of the gig for me were The Weight by The Band (a personal favourite and the only cover of the evening) and the title track of the EP Dirty Little Secret, in which Dave and his guitar were accompanied solely by piano. This added to both the lyrical and intense nature of the song, creating a tender and vulnerable moment in the evening.

Dave's music is a mixture of gritty American blues (with echoes of Johnny Cash's narrative style) and strikingly honest ballads. Combine this with great musicianship and contemporary twists on old themes (such as the seemingly anti-war opener Bones) and Dave's Dirty Little Secret becomes an interesting and rewarding listening experience both at home and live.

Speaking to a visibly ecstatic Dave after his set, he cited The Black Crows, Credence Clearwater Revival, Foy Vance and The Band as his main musical influences. When asked about what made him pick up a guitar in the first place, he paused, and with a wry smile said “If I hadn't have had music as an emotional outlet, I probably would have killed someone by now”.

The night was thoroughly enjoyable and Dave himself is an engaging and humble performer, closing his set with a genuine offer to shake the hand of every person in attendance. A Dirty Little Secret? Not for long.

You can buy Dave's music on iTunes worldwide and find out more about him and upcoming gigs at www.daveogrady.com.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed