Rarely these days, do you get to see a group of 17/18 year old lads showing a bit of innovation, getting out and recording a studio album. Nevertheless, this kind of thing happens once in a while, and when it does, it is always a pleasure to behold.
Alka Jessie, a fresh, local band hit Kilkenny’s in early 2010, with a song that seemed to be on everyone’s lips for several weeks called Take it Slow. Now, a year and a half later, they have countless gigs, an EP, and a debut album under their belts, along with countless gigs in front of their loyal and energetic fans, one of which, I had the privilege of attending on Friday last in Cleere’s Theatre, which saw the release of their debut album, Electric Soul.
The album itself is hard to describe in words. Positively vibrating with the pulse of teenage energy, while maintaining the wisdom of a mountain, Electric Soul sticks in the minds of its listeners as an in-depth musical journey, as I’m sure it was for the musicians themselves.
Hearing the album is one thing, to see Gary O’Neill (guitar, vocals and harmonica), Colin O’Brien (bass and vocals), Geoff Warner Clayton (guitar and vocals) and Benedict Warner Clayton (drums) giving it their all on stage last Friday (with a surprise performance from Kilkenny’s own Sam Moylan) was inspiring. The set list was well planned and executed to the point where the crowd was entranced for the sixty minutes while the band pumped out song after song, interjecting with their witty anecdotes of banter, all the while, involving the audience to the point where they were truly part of the show. The bands’ abilities were skilfully amplified, all the while by Kilkenny sound-engineer, Alan Dawson. Keep your eyes (and ears) open for word of an Alka Jessie gig, and you’ll be sure to get a great evening out of it.
At a time when the likes of Rebecca Black, or some pitiful X-Factor contestant dominate the charts, it’s as welcome as tea in a blizzard to hear a group of young locals with true taste and ability taking it upon themselves to play and provide the music they love, and to share it with anyone who cares to lend their ears. As far as I am aware, the album, recorded by Geoff Warner Clayton (who, along with The Great Shakes, featured as a solo performance as well on the night) is available for download, or buy from the band directly, and is well worth the mere five euro it costs, even if it does nothing for you, other than provide the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to real music, and real musicians.
David Galster - missinglink articles