Dublin Whelans

There's a sense of farewell about tonight's show...

There’s a sense of farewell about tonight’s show. [a]David Kitt[/a]’s star is in the ascendance and there’s no way back. For nearly a year now, he has regaled Dublin‘s scenesters with soft-focus songs of love, and a voice so irresistibly tentative and lilting, it could bring the most neanderthal of sportz metal jocks to their knees.

He’s been through it all this year – the charge of A&R men, the ‘new Nick Drake‘ tags, the mixed atmosphere of goodwill, jealousy and heavy expectation. Tonight, a new female-heavy audience out-weighs the scenesters. Each freshly seduced admirer stares transfixed by his ruffled romanticisms, boyish charms and dopey baggy pants.

He begins tonight’s show (to launch a split single with Mr. Deasy Mooneye on the Road Relish label) with a stripped-down solo hymn. The audience erupts with belligerent applause. Slightly flummoxed by the reaction, Kitt recalls the time he first played the same song to a sparse Whelans crowd only to be greeted with the response of “Would ye ever fuckin’ cheer up”, by an unimpressed punter in the corner. It’s a confident moment of ice-breaking banter, and tonight victory is already in [a]David Kitt[/a]’s grasp. He also reassures us that he has, in fact, cheered up since then.

Now joined by Paul Smyth, lounging over a Casio organ on the floor beside him, he spills out some of that dreamy nocturnal pop, soon to be heard on his Rough Trade debut. “While everyone else is sleeping/there are things that I have to do”, he sings on ‘Another Love Song’, and the smitten front rows sigh at such a romantic notion. He cheekily staggers the words to give the melody time to catch up. It’s beautiful, it’s artful, it’s one of many highlights in a hook-laden feast. Each song is funky, folky, and always fragile. But having now scaled the band up from a mini-disc of tinny beats and loops to an eccentric mini-orchestra of organ, squiggling clarinet, xylophone and a bizarre Erasure-style electronic drum-kit, Kitt‘s down-home tunes flourish into spacey eulogies.

‘Song From Hope St. (Brooklyn, New York)’ elicits animated reverence from the audience, with its simple lo-fi beatbox shuffle, gentle swishes of vacuumed distortion and Kitt‘s feelgood nursery rhyme impressionism. He slowly shifts his voice away from the microphone on ‘Sound Fades With Distant’. It could be a corny touch, but it simply adds to the vaporous elegance of the tune. And ‘Step Outside In The Morning Sun’ is as pastoral as its title sounds. Backwards synthesised string samples and squelching loops gently suck up the space around his faint Simon & Garfunkel style lullaby, and fizzle into the atmosphere.

Right now, when Dublin is bristling with more talent than ever before, what separates [a]David Kitt[/a] from many other contenders is his refusal to recoil coyly from the limelight. He his undoubtedly of star quality. He finishes with ‘You Know What I Wanna Know’, another mantra of poignant, chimeric pop, leaving us glassy-eyed and proud.