Words and Photos by Mick Ryan.
My hometown of Kilkenny has hosted some big named acts over the years with Dylan, Young and even “The Boss” himself playing in this small city in the southeast of Ireland and last night was no different as we welcomed Sheffield’s finest Richard Hawley .
One of Irelands most spectacular cathedrals “St Canices Cathedral“ was the setting for this now twice rescheduled sold-out gig and the large orderly queue outside before doors opened suggested that this was one gig not to be missed and as the doors opened the early punters scurried to grab the best seats on entry for this all-seated acoustic set .
Opening up on the night was ‘Studio Electrophonique‘ fronted by James Leesley , himself a Sheffield lad who played a nice gentle quaint set of six or so tunes switching from guitar to keyboard in the process and even renamed his last song “weekend in Tramore” which brought chuckles (from the locals anyway) from the now 600 strong crowd in attendance.
Shortly after 9pm the lights dimmed and a few whoops and whistles from the floor quickly escalated into to a large round tower , sorry , large round of applause as Hawley flanked by Shez Sheridan walked on stage .
And straight into it they went opening up with ‘Dawn Breaks’ to warm everyone up . Before the second track he broke the ice by saying “Welcome to Hawley communion” which giving the setting was funny ( if you were there , ya know what I mean ) .
It was his own mother’s 79th birthday on the night and he dedicated the song “Streets” to her who thought him to “never be afraid, even when you are” .
The evening’s entertainment continued with an array of tracks such as ‘For your lover’ ‘Baby you’re my light ‘ ‘Lady solitude’ to mention a few with Hawley , who’s known for his collection of guitars , switching pre tuned guitars on a regular basis .
During the course of the night he highlighted the venue itself as one of the most beautiful his ever played in and how much he loved Ireland and giving his political stance said he would rather be living anywhere else but England right now “what a mess” he murmured but he continued regardless for in Hawley we Truss , sorry trust!
The night ended with a double encore of tunes for the crowd who wanted more and he duly obliged finishing up with ‘Precious Sight’ .
And indeed it was a precious night let alone sight to witness and listen to one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time in a most beautiful setting on a most beautiful evening’s entertainment, thank you Mr Hawley , we hope you come to our shores again someday soon.