The Saw Doctors
In Concert Live In Galway
If there’s one thing I hate about live concert film, it’s the audience sing along session. Yeah, we know the lyrics. Yeah, we know the chords. We love the song to death. The live concert experience is unbeatable. But for goodness sake, the audience can’t sing for crap, there not miked, and they are either drunk, stoned, or feeling up their girl friend. Anyway, that’s how this DVD version of the Saw Doctors concert begins – they sing “N17,” a decent song by any standards, but they do the “hold the mike to the audience thing,” and it sounds like crap. Grrr – this is not fair to them, and it’s not fair to the new listener. These guys are more clean-cut than your typical Irish revival band, a bit less challenging than, say, Chieftains or U2, but not bad in a good time, noisy evening way. Plus, they KEEP DOING this for the first few songs. If you can hold on, there’s some interesting stuff here, but holding on for those first songs is a chore.
OK, some songs come across better than others. “What A Day” and “Bless Me Father” showcases Davy Carton’s gruff vocals and “10 years to overnight success” face. There drummer Jim Higgins, is great on the beat, but for some reason seems way too clean cut. Songs like “Tommy K” are reminiscent in some way of early Violent Femmes, but they keep involving the audience – it’s cool when you’ve paid to worship at their feet, but it’s a royal pain when you’re watching a concert video.
Musically, these guys take a bad position, deserting the extremely traditional Gaelic sound that draws the folk crowd, yet in no way do they push the limits of rock and roll – it’s sort of a vaguely interesting, but full appreciating needs more alcohol than I can safely consume at the moment. To summarize in one line, it’s another bunch of Irish wankers with guitars. I received both a CD and a DVD for this event, and the CD is the sound track from the video. Musically identical, the DVD does contain the obligatory “bonus material” – photos and the like, a decent “making of video” which actually has better musical tracks than the concert, although none of them are complete songs. I think these guys have SOME talent, but they just don’t blast out of the background of local rock and rollers and grab the genera by the throat and whup it up side the head. I’d happily sit thought these guys playing if I stumbled into them in dive bar, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for them.
The Saw Doctors: www.sawdoctors.com