Review of The Eskies, The Star Inn, Guildford. Friday 23rd November 2018. Written for local paper, 300 word count.
‘Tonight, all our songs are called ‘Save the Star Inn’ ’ announces Ian Bermingham, lead singer of The Eskies. A sentiment shared by a full house, who danced, sang and swayed along with these talented purveyors of ‘sea-soaked gypsy folk’ at one of the last gigs to be held at the Star Inn before it is forced to close as a music venue.
Hailing from Dublin, the Eskies have spent the past few years touring Europe and Ireland, playing countless gigs and festivals and releasing two highly-acclaimed albums. As a result, we see a confident, exuberant performance which grabs the audience by the lapels from the opening song and doesn’t let go. Front man Bermingham has real star quality, with an engaging sense of humour and a strong voice which enables him to sing without the aid of a microphone during quiet passages.
The Eskies are living proof that folk music may well be the new rock and roll. Their stirring, well-crafted songs crackle with emotion, intelligence and wit, displaying influences that range from traditional folk to gypsy jazz, sea shanties and more.
They were performed with energy, swagger and great musicianship in a set which ranged from the humour of ‘I’m Not Sorry’ and the infectious ‘Fever’ to the darkness of ‘Jesus Don’t Save Me’ and ‘Tear Along The Line’, closing with the rousing ‘Wild, Wild Heart’ and the driving rhythm of ‘Jailhouse Sun’.
If there is any justice in this world, the Eskies will be a headline act by next Summer – and the Star Inn will be able to re-open as a music venue. If this is the case, I look forward to a well-deserved return from tonight’s support act, Huw Eddy and the Carnival.
NOTE TO EDITOR
The Star Inn is being forced to close as a music venue by Guildford Borough Council as the result of a complaint about potential noise by a property developer who bought neighbouring offices, which are being converted into flats. The Star Inn has been a music, theatre and comedy venue for many years. Council leader Paul Spooner pledged his support but has been unable to resolve the situation so far. 30,000 people so far have signed a petition at www.saveourstar.pub