© George Pennock
Photos by George Pennock
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Dares announcement of a long awaited return to Irish shores for their debut headline gigs was met personally with huge excitement. Since the release of their quality debut “Out of the silence”in 1988 I have followed the twists and turns of their career through the years. While subsequent releases proved to be a significant departure both in musical style and direction, Darren Wharton has clearly found his comfort zone. He enjoys what he does and his fans are very embracing of his particular brand of Celtic Rock
I was also happy when Myglobalmind obtained one of the much sought after sponsor places to cover the 2 Irish shows. When Dare had previously played here it was as tour support to Europe. The band also played a festival slot at the Rock the Lough in Ballyronan but as all these shows dated back to the eighties. I was therefore relishing the prospect of witnessing live many of the tunes from recent albums coupled with a smattering of the old débuts hits singles. Myglobalmind were also fortunate enough as a sponsor to secure an advance”exclusive” interview with Darren several weeks ago where he discussed the return to playing live in this part of the world, plans for a new album and also all things Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders. Read that interview here.
Being lucky enough to attend the bands sound check two main points came across. Firstly the emotive vocal delivery Of Darren which could raise hairs and passions when performed on record more than surpassed that quality when the songs were performed in a live setting. Secondly the technical ability of Vinny as a guitarist-which I feel lies largely unrecognised in the hard rock genre. As a massive fan of the band since their inception I had a huge grin on my face with the reuniting of the two friends under the Dare name.
Fully aware that tonight’s show due to a club curfew would be an early start I was relishing also catching the two support bands one from either end of the Isle. However unfortunately my sponsor duties pre-show resulted in me missing Belfast’s own Worldsend. I did manage to avoid the distractions of the bar next door, and arrive in sufficient time for the opening of Dublin band Crash’s set. Totally different from when I had last caught them as support to Queensryche in Dublin back in October 2013. Clearly honed from hours of rehearsals they seemed to be a different and much stronger live animal these days. Accomplished comfortable and confident in a live setting. The individual qualities of the band shone through in a very tight and technically solid set. The dual eye candy appealing to both sexes certainly helped to generated a very positive audience response. However the discerning Belfast rock audience would not just be swayed on such superficialities, and the bands catchy self-penned songs was what won them over. Finishing with a Dio tribute on the fourth anniversary of the legends death by playing Heaven and Hell was a nice touch. This also endeared them to the audience, in a genuine way as it was delivered in a heartfelt manner and didn’t come over as sanctimonious.
Onto the nights head liners-and the culmination of months of expectation for me personally
The bands set traversed all their catalogue, from the obvious Lizzy homages of King Of Spades from the ”Out of the Silence” debut to their soothing and emotive rendition of Lizzy’s “Emerald” Darren Wharton’s vocals despite his own protestations came across strongly. Still retaining the passion and ability to resonate emotively. The band around him did a sterling job and it was clear from the interplay and interaction on stage that Dare is very much a cohesive unit. Vinny conjured up both emotion and strong power through the varied set played. Obviously for many of the older fans it was the “Out of the silence” material which generated the best response. However as a fan myself I felt that all of the songs were delivered perfectly, from the haunting and eerie numbers such as “Silent Thunder” and “Sea of Roses”to set closer “I will Return “
It was disappointing that the Irish dates clashed with an international motor cycling road race which had an obvious effect on audience numbers attending both shows. However chatting to band members afterwards they appeared to have enjoyed playing them. I hope that Dare will not leave it so long to return to play dates on these shores. I thought that the show fully lived up to all my expectations and that Dare will live up to their own song title from Arc and “Will Return” but at least they ensured that audiences on these shores were not left ”Still Waiting”. Come back soon guys for more melodies music and after show merriment!
Video Credit: Melanie McNair