Ham Sandwich live @ Cyprus Avenue Saturday May 2nd 2015

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Ham Sandwich had deservedly secured the number one slot in the Irish album charts, they play to a near full house at Cork’s Cyprus Avenue.

A venue which over the years has played host to an eclectic mix of young up and coming and well established Irish and international artists. Small in size and dimly lit, the selling point of this venue is the sound quality.

The opening act was a local duo called Fire and Ice which consisted of an unusual combination of a guitarist and saxophonists. They opened with some blues based covers to draw the crowd in and then moved on to some original almost reggae style numbers, one of which called ‘just love’ about marriage equality was the highlight of their set.

‘Hold me up’ was the opening song for Ham Sandwich just as it is on the excellent Stories from The Surface, the aforementioned number 1 album.

A wardrobe malfunction was narrowly avoided before the second song of the set ‘White Fox’ as singer Niamh’s dress comes undone. Her blushes were saved by fellow singer Podge who came to her rescue and disappointed a certain section of the crowd who had started chanting “OFF OFF OFF”.

The set-list included a healthy mix of old favorites from the previous two albums and a lot of new songs including the new single ‘Fandango’ which sounds even better live than it does on the record or the radio.

It may sound clichéd but Ham Sandwich continue to go from strength to strength and this shows every time I have seen them take to the stage. ‘Stories from the Surface’ added to ‘White Fox’ and ‘Carry the Meek’ provide them with a body of work to rival any of their contemporaries.

Although now a clearly more polished recording and live act, Ham Sandwich still provide the same quirky live show that makes them a firm favorite at many of Ireland’s summer festivals.

Tonight’s show as usual includes various forms of crowd participation from the clap along during  ‘oh-oh’ to the Podge choreographed dance moves to both ‘Illuminate’ and their excellent cover of Donna Summer’s ‘I feel love’.

The encore and crowd favorite was as so often before ‘Ants’ the song that launched them on to the airwaves and as per usual this is greeted by rapturous applause and an enthusiastic sing along.

 

Words by Anthony Kelly