The excellent August Wells return to Galway city’s Róisín Dubh on Thursday next, February 23. This free gig is part of a nationwide tour to promote their latest album, Madness Is the Mercy. The project is the brainchild of Ken Griffin and John Rauchenberger, who are both based in New York. Griffin is a former member of Irish indie legends Rollerskate Skinny, whose 1996 single Speed to My Side remains a classic.
But August Wells are different to the feedback-drenched Skinny sound. These songs are slower and more melodic, with a Nick Cave feel to some of them. How does Ken feel about this band?
“I’m not going to say anything different, but for me I’m happier with this stuff than anything else that’s gone before,” he says. “Just because the battle to get it done wasn’t as huge. My partnership with John involves a lot less talk about the idea than other projects I’ve had.”
For this tour, August Wells will be playing as a duo.
“We do nearly all our shows as a two-piece, we put ourselves on that tightrope with nowhere to hide,” Ken says. “It’s either good or it’s not. You can’t say ‘oh, the violins were a little low tonight’. It’s kind of an intense gig.”
That might be the case, but these are timeless songs, written by a craftsman. Recommended. Doors at 9pm.