Jubilee Allstars/Saville : Dublin Whelans

A yin-yang experience but with common threads and a shared feel for geographic references.

We’ve watched Dublin’s independent milieu flourish over the last twelve months. Jubilee Allstars and Saville have both made albums to be proud of, the former producing ‘Lights Of The City’, a forlorn collection of hometown hymns with a poignantly political edge and brimful with stirring

folk melodies. Saville’s debut ‘Is Anybody Happier Today?’ is magical hearts-on-sleeves pop stuff, full of swaggering show-time ballads and dizzy ’60s soul-infused floorshakers. On the same bill, they make for an excellent southside-northside clash, very much a yin-yang experience but with common threads and a shared feel for geographic references.

Saville are showmen, through and through. In Ken Duffy they have a compelling, aspirational front man, spinning around the stage, hands raised at the stars. Live, Saville are super-tight, no faffing about. ‘Last Day Of Summer’ trips by like a stoned New Order with a Zero 7 remix, while ‘Somnambular Ballad’ and ‘I’ve Lost Touch With The World’ are soul-baring gems with a pinch of Paddy McAloon and a sprinkle of Mike Scott.

Jubilee Allstars certainly aren’t infused with the same levels of pop exuberance or showmanship. But they do possess an addictively cynical wit. Nothing fancy, just some old-fashioned rock’n’roll jibing and a few taxi driver jokes. Niall McCormack dedicates his lovely,

loping ‘Lamplight’ to Elton John. Brother Barry leads the blistering noise-folk of ‘Lost At Sea’ with his charmingly weathered drawl.

The encore of ‘Pray Loud (And With Sorrow)’ captures a polar mood from such rambunctious rockin’, as Barry unfolds a gently strummed karmic tale of the have-nots who’ve fallen through the cracks of Ireland’s gloating economy. And finally, over the lilting country-rock melody of old favourite ‘The Couch’, Barry drops such cosy vignettes as, “In a lazy house/In a lazy room/I fell in the couch/When I stood up too soon”, bringing this evening of top sounds

from two sides of the city to a dreamy close.

Leagues O’Toole