Event Reviews

The Young Dubliners

with the Rockin’ Highliners

The House of Blues, Orlando, FL • October 8, 2000

The Young Dubliners’ lead singer and songwriter, Keith Roberts, originally hails from none other than Dublin, Ireland. Keith began his American music career in LA, playing traditional Irish folk songs. His true desire was to create a contemporary rock band that utilized Irish musical elements, so the Young Dubliners were formed. The only other native Irishman, Brendan Holmes, assumes the duties as bass player, Bob Boulding plays electric guitar, and Dave Ingraham is on drums. Here is what gives this band their true identity: Jeff Dellisanti is the keyboard player, but also plays flute, saxophone, and something called a penny whistle, while Mark Epting plays a completely insane fiddle, mandolin and harmonica.


The night began with the Canadian band, the Rockin’ Highliners, playing their brand of jump blues, which is a mix of swing and blues. The crowd was pretty thin for their early set, but those in attendance couldn’t help but boogie a bit and shuffle their feet in approval.


After swapping equipment, the Young Dubliners came out on fire, mainly playing material from their fourth and most recent release, Red. I’m not sure if many people knew what to expect, but they were quickly bombarded by the dense wall of sound that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The band played with tenacity akin to early Seven Mary Three (for those of you who were lucky enough to have seen them four or five years ago). Stealing the show were Dellisanti’s flute and sax and Epting’s fiddle. Everyone in the crowd was doing their best Irish jig and hopping up and down. Several ladies joined arms while cavorting back and forth in front of the stage, while others in the crowd were doing high leg-kicks, ala the Rockettes. This frantic pace continued through the first half of the show, followed by a couple of ballads from Red and some spontaneous commentary by Roberts.


The band plowed through a couple more high-energy tunes, thanked the crowd, and left the stage. Well, the fans were having none of that! People began chanting, stomping their feet and doing whatever else they could to get the band back on stage. The Young Dubs responded kindly by returning for a few more blazing songs about cruel women and heartbreak, followed by more commentary from Roberts. It was clear that the band members were having as much fun playing as the crowd was dancing to their music. When they finally left the stage for good, everyone in the building was grinning from ear-to-ear and cheering as loudly as I’ve heard in a long time. More information on the Young Dubliners can be found at their official site, http://www.youngdubs.com. ◼


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