Reglans recently finished their Irish tour in style, culminating in one of the most energetic sets Whelan’s has hosted in a while. Sean O’ Brien of The Daily Shift (not Raglans member) was present and has all the details…
Pre-Christmas giddiness is simply inescapable at this stage of the year, as December falls upon us once again. It’s festive, it’s baltic out and it’s Whelan’s of a Saturday night; where out of the cold, in the company of the stone-man, there is simply no better place to be.
Raglans returned to Dublin to finish their Irish tour in style, with a packed out homecoming show; and that’s what it was all about, style. They pulled out all the stops with the catchiest of hooks, the sharpest of harmonies and an upbeat drive that had the hometown crowd bouncing like they were at a Daft Punk comeback gig.
UK five-piece, Echotape got the ball rolling on an explosive night with a powerful display before Stefan Murphy, A.K.A The Mighty Stef set the scene for the main event, after his soulful serenade. Cue the raw, addictive appetite of Stephen Kelly, Rhos Horan, Conn O’ Ruanaidh and Sean O’Brien, otherwise known as Raglans.
The crashing of the kick-drum almost like a countdown, lifted the energy in the building, as Raglans peddled through a storming intro to the song ‘Down,’ that for many, put the folk-pop quartet on the map in their earlier days. Perhaps one of the catchiest tunes to come out of this country in the past few years, it epitomises what Raglans do best. Energy, shrilly yet balanced vocals and some souped-up mando.
‘Save Your Words for the Widow’ was about as subtle as a sledgehammer in Mass, sentiments surely certified by the topless crowd-surfers risking a bang on the noggin courtesy of Whelan’s low-set ceiling. I guess it comes back to that little old word that Raglans have seemed to master… ‘energy’. Songs like ‘Home’ and ‘Not Now,’ a song that first came to my attention after I happened upon a video of the lads performing ‘on a roof somewhere,’ showed off a perfect execution of harmonious vocals, blended with a barrage of fast-paced drumming and complemented by the very effective padding of horns.
A very hard day’s night-esque, ‘Sand In My Pockets,’ slowed things down a notch on an otherwise vivacious night, showing off another side to Raglans before the foot-tapping turned into all out moshing as the glistening sound of an echoing mandolin and the growling beat of ‘Digging Holes,’ capped off a triumphant return to Whelan’s for Raglans.
It’s not often that you see a mandolin invoke the kind of dancing you might encounter at a rave and I suppose it’s a testament to Raglans and their dynamic style of modernised folk. The Mighty Stef couldn’t hide his excitement for Raglans during his set as he said: “I’m delighted for the guys, it’s a really big night for them, with all their friends here and I’m stoked for them.” After what was my first Raglans gig, I now understand why there was so much excitement surrounding the show and after a string of stimulating performances across the country, it seems it’s onwards and upwards for Raglans. My only complaint was that they couldn’t have played all night.