by James Fleming and Danielle Holian

“We are Galway Street Club and this what we do for fun!”

And so began GSC’s 40 minute set at Rock the Docks last Friday evening. A right motley crew of 14 musicians left barely enough room onstage to swing a cat, but they swing and sing and shout for the whole set like their lives depend on it.

Opening with a jig, or is it a reel? Whatever it is, they’re lovin’ it. They smile so much it must hurt. The mandolin player’s hair takes to the sky in a fit of ecstasy and the man himself is red as a pint of cherry tomatoes. The cajon players are seated atop the drum riser, grinning away and beating the shit out of their instruments.

They give it wiggan your honour. I’ve never seen a strumming hand move like the aforementioned mandolin player’s. The sax player dances, not like no one’s watching, but like everyone’s watching and he just doesn’t give a fuck. That’s far cooler.

Unlike so many bands in the Galway area, GSC really are cool. No cool in an unemotional sense, nor are they so cool as to be up themselves. They’re cool because they’re totally unselfconscious. They do what they do and they’re the best there is, if you wanna join the party you’re more than welcome. If you don’t, then don’t.

And it’s the perfect soundtrack for a party. Gritty renditions of Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot The Sheriff,’ and Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in The Wall Part II,’ as well as a folked-up version of the mighty Dropkick Murphys ‘Shipping Up To Boston.’ The Galway Street Club stomp through the show, a ramshackle yet solid ensemble of very capable musicians. These aren’t some four chord Oasis wannabes. They’re an entity unto themselves, a band that represents the wild west of Ireland the way it should be: wild and young and free.

Unlike so many of our performers, GSC are ready and more than willing to put their mind, heart, body, soul and balls into every note, which puts their own idiosyncratic spin on their set of covers.

And we love it. The, sadly well-spaced, crowd lap up every song and applaud wholeheartedly after each number. The gig was unfortunately scarcely attended, which detracted from the atmosphere somewhat. But as the sun started to set on Galway bay to our left, the music and the vibe came together magically.

The Club finish their set, say goodbye, and head offstage to get ready to ship their gear over to the main stage upstairs at Monroe’s Live, a small, sweaty venue in the heart of Galway City. Their natural habitat.