A family affair drenched in Guinness and soaked in rock n’ roll made for a memorable night in The Grand Social on Thursday evening. U.K rockers Raven Eye, in their first headline appearance in Dublin, came locked and loaded with all guns blazing, determined to give their fans a show worthy of their trek through the snow and rain. Those who decided to stay at home, snug by the comfort of their fires, might have been smiling in warm delight. But when the night was over, it was those fans that made the journey to The Grand Social who were enjoying the last laugh.
If support, Wolff, from Wexford, with their trashy blues stylings, held their own, they couldn’t quite match the quality of the support act to come. Leicester based SKAM were as charming as they were talented and as enthusiastic as they were grateful. A band well worth checking out if they wind up on your home turf, even if their stage intro sounds lifted from Metallica’s “Ecstasy of Gold”. The only point in their show, which could do with some rethinking, for the rest of their set saw them winning over the room, chatting with their crowd and reminiscing about past shows in Dublin between their energetic and own brand of hard rock tunes.
Whether because of lackluster promotion or because there simply weren’t enough people willing to make the trek on a cold, blustery weeknight, the north of three hundred capacity venue played host to only thirty or so people as Raven Eye took to the stage. Which is a crying shame, and a huge loss for all those who didn’t make it, or didn’t try. If the low turnout risked dampening the spirits of both the crowd and band, it didn’t happen. Or if it did, Raven Eye didn’t show it, displaying only an unshaken professionalism. For what they delivered was a wild, intimate, one of a kind performance which turned into a cracking good time.
Guitarist, vocalist, and Chris Cornell doppelganger, Oli Brown was determined not to let anything come between him and the fans having a great show. Swinging from rafters, diving off drum kits, and soloing on top of his bassist, Aaron Spiers, shoulders as he carried him back and forth through the crowd, were just a few of the eye candy moments taking place on and off stage. Raven Eye favorites such as “Hey, Hey, Yeah,” from the EP ‘Breaking Out’ filled the set predominantly composed of tracks from their latest effort ‘Nova’. “Wanna Feel You”, “Hate,” and “Inside,” also fleshed out a storming set that eclipsed the sense of a bare room. Rather, their wild, frenetic energy filled every nook and cranny, reaching into the rafters and down through the floorboards, infecting all with its delicious frenzy. So much so that when the band expressed their love for Guinness, three audience members made their way to the bar during a song and gifted them with pints of the black stuff. Which, in case you were unaware, is one of the highest compliments that can be bestowed in Dublin.
A hilariously intimate moment between Brown and his beloved pint later, the show went on with all members, including the visually engaging ‘Animal’ like drummer, Adam Breeze, picking up a guitar to perform “Eternity,” which silenced the room before it erupted in applause. One storming encore later, and an outro riff that was dangerously close to “Cochise” by Audioslave, perhaps it even was, and the show came to a deeply satisfying end.
If it can sometimes take a bit of convincing to get fans over to a merchandise stand, this night did not. No sooner had Raven Eye closed their set, the merch stand was swamped with concertgoers a half pint away from screaming “Take My Money!” as they picked up memorabilia and took photos with the guys. All thirty odd souls hanging out together, reminiscing over a memorable night like life long friends.
Raven Eye could have gone another way with Thursday’s performance in Dublin. A lesser band would have sulked in their disheartenment at the poor attendance and delivered a show that reflected just that. But Raven Eye took the higher road, putting on an unforgettable show that created a genuine sense of family and friendship, turning the night into one of those once in a life time occasions. A night which saw everyone coming away rooting for Raven Eye and their future. And what a future it’s shaping up to be. For if Thursday is anything to go by, Raven Eye might well be destined for greatness.