Gig review by Frances Winston
Royseven at the Grand Social
September 1st 2021
It’s been a long 18 months since I was able to review an actual live show, so you’ll have to forgive me if I am a tad emotional writing this. While the government favoured sporting activities when it came to the reopening, the arts have been treated shambolically (don’t even get me started on this topic).
When Royseven announced they were reforming back in February after a hiatus, it was extremely exciting, as I’ve been a fan since their early days, but to then have the opportunity to attend an actual gig was truly amazing.
The last time I saw these guys live, they were playing the 3 Arena (supporting Duran Duran). But with CoVid restrictions limiting numbers at the moment (if they’d called it a GAA match they could have had thousands there) the venue for their first gig in front of an audience in years was the Grand Social. A wonderful venue, but not one you’d usually expect to see a band of Royseven’s stature in.
No review of a post pandemic (are we post pandemic?) gig would be complete without explaining how they managed it. The tickets were extremely limited. There were around 50 people at the show, which made it feel truly intimate, but also served as a reminder of what has been going on in the world for the past year and a half.
CoVid passports were scanned, and masks were required when moving around. It took place in the Grand Social’s terrace, which is technically an outdoor space but indoors. Basically, if you’re a curtain twitcher, jog on, because nothing to see here. It was completely within regulations. Not really sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but after so long starved of live music, we take what we can get.
The excitement in the room was palpable. Everybody was so grateful to be able to attend a show again. Indeed, my friend was close to tears at the normalcy of it all at one point. At 8.30 pm, Brad Heidi took to the stage to warm up the crowd. This singer-songwriter is a new talent, and his music literally speaks to your soul. He has an imminent album, and you can find his music on all the usual outlets, so do check him out. I got shades of a young Brian Kennedy from him.
He was warmly received by the… I want to say crowd, but thanks to restrictions we were more of a collective. Although when Royseven entered the room you would have thought there were several hundred people there, as the room went wild.
Usually for review purposes, I attend a gig very impartially, but in this case I was just so thrilled to be back in a venue with a band, that I worried that perhaps I had hyped this up so much in my head it wouldn’t live up to expectations. I appreciate this is unprofessional of a reviewer, I but I’m a human who has been starved of live music first and foremost. Anyway, I needn’t have worried.
From the moment they took to the stage, they were fantastic, They tore through all their hits, such as No Romance, Killer, and the iconic We Should Be Lovers, as the attendees sang along. Their sound was incredibly tight, and new songs were greeted enthusiastically.
The intimate setting saw singer, Paul Walsh, confide things, such as forgetting the lyrics to songs in his segues, and while the numbers were enforced and not a choice of the venue or the band, it actually helped make this gig even more special.
Even the fact that we weren’t allowed dance couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm, and by the end of the show the audience were exhausted from clapping and singing along (all we were allowed to do).
Hopefully, the next time I see Royseven, they will be allowed a proper crowd, and we will be allowed to properly react to their performance. But for a first post-lockdown gig, this was a wonderful show.