Josh Ritter + The Royal City Band @ The Iveagh Gardens

Friday 19th July 2013

JoshRitter Reviews 2013Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band with special guests Delorentos came to the stunning setting of The Iveagh Gardens in Dublin city centre last Friday night. Singer-songwriter Ritter formerly of Moscow, Idaho has spent years traveling with his powerful crafted songs and across Ireland he is considered a well known music scene fixture.

Young and old sprawled out across the Iveagh lawns, many bearing our national translucent flesh on this rare Indian summer evening.  Josh Ritter ran straight out onto the stage, picked up his guitar and burst into an acoustic of Bruce Springsteen’s “The River”, his soft voice rippled in our ears.  Ritter was here to introduce his new album The Beast In Its Tracks and new accomplices The Royal City Band.

Moving on with brand new material, the band resembling Barber’s of the 1900’s, brandishing waste coats, mustaches and singing gloriously in harmony – while a violin sweped along in accompaniment. “Bonfire” is like an old classic with great lyrics ”Let the other lovers talk about who got burned and who got caught.” and “Hopeful” was simply hypnotic, a beautiful poetic tune and the crowd absolutely loved it. For “Rumours” the crowd sang with Ritter throughout.

Ritter was thanking us and joking all the time about our rare Indian weather and speaking to us all the time “What a beautiful, beautiful night, never seen it before here!”. “Evil Eye” a heartfelt song ends on a lovely high note was followed by “Lillian” a stunning lily of the valley song which saw the band savagely beat out a dreamy and authentic sound. The piano went wild like a mid nineteenth century bar song, the crowd absolutely loved it. “Monsters Ballads” was followed by “The Curse” where “He asks are you cursed?..She kissed him and hoped that he’d forget the question”.

Thundering on, Ritter and the band were here to give us everything – hell for leather… there were twenty three songs in total. So, stand out songs from the last ten tunes were “Girl in the War” – to hear this song live was like champagne. “Change of Time” is simply beautiful live and he dedicated it to all the bars he has performed in across Ireland, the crowd to erupted for this one. “Wolves” with its screeching keys, had the singer on his knees with the crowd in the palm of his hands, while he “HOWLED” into the night at the end of the song, definitely original.

Called back for and encore of “Snow is Gone” and “Dogs” Ritter jumped into the air ‘Springsteen style’ and finishes the show. “Thank you for everything”. The band grouped holding hands, bowed and exited the stage.

This great man and his great band created a lovely atmosphere with his incredibly intelligent and poetic lyrics. Fans who came from far and wide were treated to the greatest and perhaps longest session of his music. Listen to the album The Beast In Its Tracks here.

Review by Áine Byrne

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