The Stunning celebrate their 25th anniversary as one of Ireland’s most loved rock bands this year. Lisa Redmond of The Daily Shift not only caught up with Steve Wall but also went to the live performance…
“Stunning fans want to recreate a time”; a phrase that stood out for me while talking to Steve Wall. Indeed, The Stunning’s performance at Vicar Street certainly allowed them to do that.
The gig began with a video clip depicting the goings-on in Ireland during the 90′s, a time when the Stunning were at their peak. The audience laughed and cheered as clips of the Eurovision, various sporting victories and even Riverdance were played.
As possibly the youngest audience member of the audience, I could see that the band really aimed to please their older fan-base. Nevertheless, I too found the video inventive and entertaining, particularly the ending; a clip of Gay Byrne introducing the band on The Late Late Show which was used as the introduction to their live performance on Friday night.
Throughout the gig, The Stunning attempted to take their audience on a journey. They began the show, fittingly, with their first single ‘Got To Get Away’; proceeding to play their entire debut album Paradise in the Picturehouse from start to finish.
There was a parallel to be seen between the gig itself and The Stunning’s development as a band: somewhat slow to begin with but really picking up as the band became more successful.
Steve Wall commanded the stage with ease; relaxed yet upbeat throughout set the general vibe of the gig. There were seating options, although most chose to stand, dance and sing-along with the band. Steve encouraged the audience to join in particularly for the lively numbers such as ‘Romeos on Fire’ and the well known ‘Brewing up a Storm’; the crowd erupting with many capturing the performance on their phones.
The group took it down a notch for the final song on the album, ’An Empty Feeling’. The other band members left the stage, leaving Steve with nothing more than his vocals accompanied by a guitar.
This was unlike any other; understated and captivating. There was no call for tricks or performance techniques. His vocal’s and ability to tell a story through the song kept the audience engaged throughout.
One phrase to describe the gig would be: Irish. The Stunning stayed true to themselves and their culture and gave their audiences what they wanted to see. One of the contributing factors to their success is that they are a truly Irish band and they maintained that vibe throughout the night.
Even during the interlude they had performers playing the bodhrán and accordion. Furthermore, they gave off the impression of being ‘one of us’ in the way they interacted with the crowd; they joked and were down to earth, while ‘having the craic’ with the audience.
On the whole, the gig was intimate and relaxed with glimpses of energy. The band’s musicianship was effortless and guitarist Joe Wall demonstrated his capabilities as a vocalist during ‘She’s on my mind’. They also made good use of unlikely instruments throughout the show including a saxophone.
The Stunning were supported on the night by The Pale who proved to be a unique and talented contribution to the gig. Their originality suited their position supporting The Stunning.
As they put it, “It’s a very Irish thing to talk for twenty minutes about something that can be said in one word: Love.” And i must say, after that night, I may now love the Stunning.