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Tuam’s rising star follows the Docs’ prescription for success

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

If you’ve been to see the Saw Doctors over the last year, there’s a good chance you caught a support set from Darragh O’Dea & the Delicate Dogs.  Hailing from Tuam himself, Darragh is a gifted songwriter and storyteller. His 2021 album Tilly and the Postmaster – with songs aobut everything from land disputes to a funeral held during the pandemic –  was a celebration and investigation of Irish family ties. It was as strong as any narrative folk record in recent memory and since its release, the group has grown significantly as a live outfit.

On Friday, December 29, Darragh O’Dea & the Delicate Dogs play Monroe’s Live for their largest headline gig to date. Part of their setlist on the night will feature tracks from a sophomore record due to arrive next year. Darragh admits he will be taking inspiration from the style of performance he has born witness to on tour with the Docs.

“They’re one of the great live bands,” he says.

“They’re known for putting on a great live show and it’s just seamless. The energy they put into it – the craftsmanship and the way they plan a show, it’s amazing to watch. They definitely took a lot from Springsteen and the way he crafts a show. I know they’re huge fans.

“We’re playing the Hammersmith Arena, or it’s called the Eventim Apollo now, but I was looking it up there during the week and it’s where Springsteen actually played his very first UK show and his first gig ever outside the States in ’75 which is a legendary show. It’s amazing to see… The energy that he puts into a show – I think the Docs take a lot from that. We learn from it and we’re watching that.

“The moment and to be asked to play with them is a great honour. We’ve been lucky as well with all the gigs we’ve done – people have been in awful early, and they’ve been nearly full for the support act.”

Monroe’s will present an opportunity for a different kind of performance. As well as benefitting from the energy around headlining a show versus playing a support slot, Darragh and the band will be able to play a longer set and incorporate a more rounded sound as a result. His new record is in the works and he will be hoping this outing spurs on its completion as soon as possible.

Pictured: Darragh O’Dea…Galway city gig at the end of December.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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