Square Pegs describe themselves as “Good-time blues” and after watching them play to a packed front bar at Whelan’s, it’s hard to disagree. The bluesy Americana super-group are exactly that – a super group. Between them, they have toured the world, recorded a vast amount of records, released solo projects, and rubbed shoulders with just about everyone in the music industry.

Whenever their schedule allows for it, Square Pegs get together and play the songs they were brought up on. Old blues classics, New Orleans swing, and some 1950’s R&B all make an appearance at Whelan’s; as the band shuffle their way through the set, you can tell this isn’t just your standard covers gig.

Front man, Colm Quearney, rasps and growls his words with an authentic Mississippi feel, while drummer, Graham Hopkins, goes from Texas-shuffle to New Orleans-style ‘between the cracks’ grooves, with ease.

Later on, when Conor Brady (guitar) and Justin Carroll (keys) trade solos, the rest of the band lock in and create a solid backbone for the guitar and keys to dance around.

The dynamics of the set are kept tight and tidy with slow, quiet songs sitting in nicely beside the more upbeat rocking blues standards. The band keep everything controlled up until the end where they let loose and flex their musicianship, finishing off the night with an almost natural crescendo.

Although Square Pegs is one of many side projects for the members of this band, the passion and love for what they play is evident. After spending time in the studio with acclaimed filmmaker Myles O’ Reilly, the band will be releasing videos through their YouTube in the near future – discussions of an album are also in the mix.

Square Pegs play the ‘Blues, Roots & Brass Festival’ tonight (8th August) in the main room of Whelan’s at 9pm.

Reviewed by Stevie D’Arcy