With the amount of great acts and venues to choose from this year it was hard to choose where to go. I decided to go to Vicar Street where the line up included Bellx1, The Charlatans, Labrinth, James Walsh, Sunday Girl and Maverick Sabre. 2fms Rick O’Shea hosted the night and celebrations kicked off early with Bellx1 taking to the stage just before six. The customary toast to Arthur happened around the country at 17.59 and in Vicar Street it was no different. The crowd erupted in cheers of to Arthur/Martha/Llamas and pints of the black stuff were raised to the man himself.
Bellx1 played a disappointingly short set before heading off to perform around other pubs in Dublin city. Next on stage was Sunday Girl, who appeared to be little more than style over substance and barely deserves a mention. I wasn’t overly impressed by the following acts Maverick Sabre, Labrinth and James Walsh either. I have attended an Arthur’s day gig since the very first one and felt that it has seriously gone downhill in comparison to previous years. In the beginning it was attended by genuine music fans that enjoyed the bands, but arriving at Vicar Street in my jeans and top I felt seriously underdressed. Around 80% of the people attending were dressed up to the nines and had never heard of most of the performers.
This year it felt more about pumping out as many gigs as possible, and instead of finding quality acts to perform it seemed anyone with some sort of name would do. Labrinth are famous for one semi hit that any fan of Spin 1038 would know. The same goes for Maverick Sabre. And as for James Walsh, his set comprised mostly of songs from his former band Starsailor, remember them? No? I barely do either. The saving grace of the night came in the form of The Charlatans. The put on an amazing show and really got the crowd going. They had an energy and hunger that all of the other bands seemed to lack. They genuinely seemed happy to be there and interacted with the crowd more than any other act. They also went above and beyond their duties and were the only band of the night to play over their designated 25-30 minutes slot.
I think Arthurs day started off with good intentions and I do acknowledge that a large portion of proceeds go to charity. But this year seriously seemed lacking in comparison to other years. Maybe I just chose the wrong venue to go to but I wasn’t impressed at all. I hope that they step up their game for next year.
Me at the gig The charlatans Entry band.