Live Review: Join Me In The Pines @ Cleere’s Bar Kilkenny, 3rd November 2018

Maybe it isn’t such big deal to others, but I still get an enormous kick from watching a band in a new venue. Seeing the old flyers and photographs of bands who have previously played the venue, some up and coming and some long gone, always whets the appetite.

Join Me In The Pines are not a new act to me but Cleere’s Bar in the heart of Kilkenny is a new venue. Cleere’s is an intimate little venue, with a capacity of maybe fifty at a push, hidden away in the back of a bar, and behind a door that could be easily mistaken for a broom cupboard.  Join Me In The Pines are fronted by multi-instrumentalist, Dave Geraghty (who also happens to be one third of Bell X1) and tonight he is accompanied by three others, none of which I had seen before in previous Join Me In The Pines line-ups.

This new line up brings with it a new sound, one far funkier than any of it’s folk predecessors. Their opening number ‘They Must Never Know’ was great and very much indicative of this new sound; the second song ‘Feels So Heavy’ followed in the same vein. ‘Friends’ was the first song that was a little different, it was certainly a darker affair but it still kept the same electro-pop tempo.

Apologies were made for all the new songs, before a pair of old numbers  ‘Should Not Roam’ and  ‘At First Light’ slowed the tempo for a while. Personally, I don’t think their apologies were necessary, as everybody seemed just as happy when funky parity was restored.

Of all the new stuff, the stand outs were the excellent  ‘Two Fall In Love’ and ‘Bad Blood’ which they described as “the hit” whilst indulging in an impromptu Beats International style intro.

The highlight of the show was a rip roaring cover of Prince’s ‘Uptown’ which fitted in perfectly with the rest of  the set. Geraghty certainly has a soft spot for the late artist: I recall a previous Join Me In The Pines outing when it was announced that the next song would be “a song written by a member of royalty, about a pregnant lady”. It took a few seconds for the collective penny to drop, as the opening bars of ‘Never Take The Place Of Your Man’ rang out.  It was one of the most unorthodox covers I have ever heard, as the main instrument was ukulele, but it was also one of the best I’ve heard to date.

The show did end in slightly comical fashion, as Geraghty’s call to dance was only answered by one brave soldier – a soldier who clearly underestimated his repertoire of dance moves and the length of the excellent, final song ‘Skin’, but to his credit, he did stick it out till the end.

Words by Anthony Kelly