For a group making their Australian debut at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, The Riptide Movement certainly made a lasting impression at a stellar performance for fans following the release of their brand new studio album, Getting Through; producing crowd pleasing anthems that are successful in infusing both folk and blues-rock – but not before the nerves were conveyed to an initially hesitant audience.
Acoustic support act Isaac Brown gave a shout out for any Irishmen in the crowd and got a surprisingly vocal response before a melodic feedback drone sounded and several members of the audience whooped as the band took to the quaint Metro Theatre stage; drummer Gar Byrne and lead singer and rhythm guitarist Malachy Tuohy clutching beers. “This our first time here!” Tuohy announced.
A happy beat began the show and knees started bending in the audience in time with the bouncing of the band who were obviously nervous. The show had a slightly disappointing opening as the drums really drowned out the vocals; the balance sounding scattered and the group unable to lock in to one another. Initially, there was no engagement – not by the audience to the music, nor by the band who are clearly a little more than awestruck by their fortunes.
As they are relatively unknown in Australia, Malachy Tuohy reels off a roll call; Gerard McGarry on bass, JPR Dalton on lead guitar and as I expected, drummer Byrne gets the loudest applause; he’s been confident and outstanding since the moment he sat down to his kit! This guy is a powerhouse of talent!
The bands performance of Cocaine Cowboys relied heavily on the blues influence introduced into their set from early on. Faster, louder with more of a classic rock feel than most of the surrounding numbers, the vocals were interjected with nice soulful licks from Dalton who produced an amazing solo within the performance of the song.
Initially, the crowd, which was made up of predominantly late twenty-somethings, all seemed reluctant to break away from their respective cliques and engage with the venue and appreciate the fact they were there for a live show. Only a few seemingly enthusiastic fans strayed toward the stage before the band came on, albeit, about seven feet away, neatly lined up. The crowd certainly didn’t feel like a gig-going crowd, nor did they seem similar to the fans we’ve seen in videos from other live shows of the band. Last nights performance was more a local venue/invite your family and friends type of crowd.
“Your only saving grace is your lovers sweet face” – there’s experience in Skin and Bones and through the lyrics of the track and the expressions on the bands faces during the performance of the set addition, you can see and hear that vulnerability is running thick in the song.
You and I was one that everyone at the show knew; each audience member singing along with the band to one of the highlights in the set and a performance that came with the a superbly executed guitar solo that left the audience in awe of the band while Keep On Keepin’ On saw the return of the blues rock feel; heavier and louder than before; the harmonica soaring over fans. With the crowd giving a supportive clapped backing to the performance, this song is a gorgeously emotive and impeccably executed addition to the set..
With the crowd evidently elevated from the bands solid performance, All Works Out takes the closing honors and is an inclusion that is more than appropriate given both the achievements of the group to date and the engaging show the boys have delivered to their fans; one where we witnessed a group of pensive boys creeping on stage and transforming quickly into stage dominators who displayed talent and passion through each number offered to the Metro Theatre crowd.
With fans lingering close to the stage in hopes of a final appearance and more music from the outfit, the band returned to interact with the audience. This is a group whose relationship with their fans and audience is evidently very important to them.
You’re here boys. You’re going places. Believe it. Love it. Because we are loving you!