Hamlet Sweeney Album Launch - Whelans
Live Review

Hamlet Sweeney Album Launch – Whelans, Dublin

Anyone familiar with the Globe’s popular mid-week soiree The Song Room will understand why so many braved the cold and wet to attend Hamlet Sweeney’s debut album launch in Whelans.

In contrast to the usual Song Room set-up, Hamlet took to the stage joined by a full band (keyboard, clarinet, drums and two guitars) and the crowd was soon brought to focus by Hamlet’s on-stage manner.

Without doubt the key to Hamlet’s relationship with his audience is his ability to establish connections with those who hear him. Each track performed is an ode to an individual or time and place and while the material is personal to his own experiences, you’d be hard pushed not to relate them to your own.

The themes of love and pain, nights out and days in the sun, combined with his skill at communicating the idiosyncrasies of those that have touched his life make for a truly engaging listen.

Soon Hamlet had discouraged any lingering wallflower syndrome and moved everyone towards the centre of the floor, just in time to melt any residual ice with a series of sing-along tracks. These included the catchy Una Molloy Hangover Song and El Capitan — a song about the joys of never growing up, a tune as hard to resist as its concept.

Other highlights of the set were Perfect Day, Canary in a Coalmine and (unsurprisingly) I am a Man — the lead single from the album. (Hamlet plans to release a new song once a month for the rest of the year – with a free b-side with each song purchased).

Speaking of nifty marketing, a ploy involving brown envelopes containing €1 coins (and a number to text/download the song) was very nearly scuppered by a typo. Luckily the mistake was spotted in time and Hamlet appealed to the crowd to add an extra digit to the number before pressing the send button.

Hmmm… blackmail it may well seem to you, but only the coldest and soggiest of those present could have ignored such a request.

If a typo were the only thing to stand in the way of Hamlet reaching a deserved position in the charts then it would be a sorry loss to the Irish music scene. Though possibly a minor triumph for proof-reading pedants…

Debut A-Side I Am a Man now available.
Text MUSIC 2274 to 57501 (€1, IRELAND ONLY).
[mail] for free B-side

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