Joe Chester, Whelans, Dublin, 27.06.15

Joe Chester had an all too rare solo support slot to Gemma Hayes on Friday night last, 26.06.15. Whelan's of Wexford Street was the venue. Not that Chester would be too out of place on such a stage and company. He regularly plays with Gemma's band. He also is a frequent Waterboy, adding to Mike Scott's live show with his exquisite playing. One of his other hats is as a producer, working in his own studio space, The Living Room. He also creates those wonderful guitar sounds for Ireland's most underrated band, A Lazarus Soul (a couple of sets of images here and here ). If that's not enough he plays keys and more on The Hedge School's very well received recent album, At The End Of A Winding Day. Over the last ten years he has put out four albums with his fifth scheduled for release in 2016. All the information you need is on his web site.

Joe's set started with four tracks that are taken from the upcoming album. The new songs were delivered in a calmly passionate manner, one track crafted around an engaging sequencer style pattern. Chester was totally non plussed when two guitar strings went twang half way though his set. He just picked up Gemma's Hayes' guitar, tuned up and continued. Unflappable. The new songs were Spy Wednesday (The Body Electric), Dark Mornings, (I Don't Want To Go) To Coventry and The Poisoned Pawn. I had forgotten how good his voice sounds. The boy can sing too. Mid performance Joe reminded us that his first album, A Murder Of Crows, was launched at the venue ten years ago. The second half of the set treated the audience to songs from that first solo creative outing, with A Murder Of Crows and I Always Think You're Leaving Me still sounding fresh. Chester made a re-appearance during the Hayes' set to perform a beautiful duet version of A Safe Place To Hide. Chester doesn't do many solo shows but his music is well worth the attendance.

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