There’s still a few days to go til the 25th but nobody’s told Jape, a.k.a. Richie Egan, who rambles on stage grinning like a child on Christmas morning.
And he’s every right to be happy, his latest album ‘Ritual’ has been a smash hit with the critics, and although that hasn’t necessarily translated into huge record sales there’s still the guts of a full-house in tonight for his biggest headline show to date.
The set, understandably, draws heavily from ‘Ritual’, and although the first few tracks are competently performed it does take a while for proceedings to really get going. But get going they do, the more uptempo tracks, like ‘Streetwise’ and ‘Strike me Down’, get the crowd going, Jape’s grin widens and all in Tripod seem to communally enter in to the festive spirit. Around the midway mark though the set does take a bit of a dip again, a number of tracks fail to stand out and seem to blend a little blandly into one another. But the slump is short-lived as the fine single ‘I Was a Man’ really gets people’s feet moving again. With its playfully adolescent lyrics, bouncing electro beat and brilliant vocodered final verse, it’s a real winner.
The feelgood factor in the building reaches a warm-hearted, mellow peak with ‘Phil Lynott’, the lovely, gently strummed ode to the Thin Lizzy frontman, with the vast majority of the crowd singing along with gusto. While I don’t think the bizarre push to get this track to the Christmas No.1 slot will succeed it sure as hell feels like a festive chart-topper for the population of Tripod tonight.
Music aside Richie Egan is a charismatic performer, his inbetween song banter is heartfelt and self-deprecating and puts him on a par with the punters, and he plays with a kind of infectious energy and general likeability that makes you think, “I’d say he’d be great craic to hang around with…”
The encore finishes the night off with a bang as an enthusiastic rendition of ‘Floating’ (surely a slacker anthem to rival Beck’s ‘Loser’) is followed by a roughly ten minute long rave-wig-out, which the band, giving it loads on stage, possibly enjoy more than the crowd. If there’s any justice we’ll be celebrating many more yuletides with Richie Egan.