Phelan’s is like the country version of Whelan’s. Some nights it has a lot of drunks, and some nights it has some great live music. Saturday night was one of those nights which had both. I was home in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow as my brother was visiting yesterday, and decided to go out to the local for one (or three). I arrived just in time for the live band. Sometimes these are good and sometimes they are awful. Saturday was neither option. The live band were fantastic.
They’re called Stuntman Jack and at the moment play lots of covers. However, I was talking to the bassist afterwards, who said that they are working on some original material. If it’s half as good as the rest of the show, then it’ll be fantastic.
They play a lot of classics with a mixture of old tunes. At the start of the show, frontman, guitarist and harmonica player, David Quirke announced “we’re going to keep it country for the first half.” Luckily it wasn’t the country that my father likes. More a beautiful blues rock that was never over the top.
There were many highlights in the show. Them/Van Morrison’s ‘Gloria’ was fantastic, as was their take on Kings of Leon’s ‘Molly’s Chambers’. It was great to see a band like this playing good tunes, rather than just radio friendly songs (i.e. no ‘Sex on Fire’). Quirke is a great leader and is a good showman, interacting with the crowd very well. He’s also a fantastic guitarist and harmonica player. The band’s other guitar player, Mick Kelly also provided backing vocals, but on the two or three songs where he took over full singing duties, he really shone. He’s got a great rock voice, and if they let him lead a few more songs, there would be fantastic variety.
Stuntman Jack’s takes on Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ and ‘Rockin in the Free World’ were glorious, and the interpolation of the Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ into ‘Seven Nation Army’ was inspired. The rhythm section of the group, Graham Hynes on bass and Tom Ward on drums were also excellent. Understated but note perfect throughout.
This is an act to look out for in the future. If they stay as a mainly-covers band, they should be playing universities, colleges, and live venues around the country. But if they choose to become a group in their own right, they could be phenomenal.
Stuntman Jack on Bebo
Watch Stuntman Jack’s beautiful cover of Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’: