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REVIEW: David Keenan

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance: Wednesday 24 January 2024, The Gov, South Australia

Let me introduce you to David Keenan, hailing from the border town of Dundalk, Ireland has become one of the country’s best known songwriters and live artists in recent years. Still in his twenties he’s always refused to pander or conform to the expectations of others and has released new and varied work while touring consistently since 2017. His distinct style, characterised by poetic lyrics and soulful melodies, has earned him great critical praise. His chart-topping albums and captivating live performances mark him as a standout artist in the music scene.

Last night’s performance at Adelaide’s Iconic Live Entertainment Venue, The Gov, was an intimate and full gig that gave us a brilliant taste of the incredible talent that David indeed is. Held in the Front Bar, it was the perfect setting, and the audience were eager to appreciate a night of good music. They got it.

Supported by Adelaide’s own Naomi Keyte, it was the perfect start to the evening’s entertainment and set the tone and was well matched like peaches and cream. Naomi’s 45 minute setlist was delightful, with it dedicated to a dear friend going through a stint in hospital, she fought back tears during two moments, which added to her music’s authenticity. Woven with stories about her dad, her share-housing AND her ill friend, her self was laid bare while the self-penned lyrics and music being delivered like sentimental poetry. It was like a walk in a garden bursting with flowers on a Spring afternoon complete with dragonflies. I look forward to hearing and seeing Naomi Keyte more around Adelaide’s traps. She has a new fan in me.

It was now David Keenan’s time to shine. And boy did he, the Irish singer, songwriter and musician gave us an hour and a half of his heart and soul. His stunning vocals that oozed an Irish tone was smooth and engaging with a range that gave his music the setting and the drama that good storytelling requires.

David and his songs are easy to connect with. His music and the way he performs it is instantly capable of holding your attention. I could have sat transfixed for hours and you could be forgiven that you felt like you were sitting in a local Irish pub listening to a pub-goer sharing his yarn or even poetry reading over a guinness or two.

There were a couple of tracks from his most recent album 2022’s ‘Crude’. God Is A Magpie is great, “A wish I was away, I kept on walking, Long story short, Intent on mapping my own course” it goes. And he is.

A great selection of new songs destined for the upcoming new album (he announced the name to much laughter), drew great appreciation from us i the audience. His most recent single release end of 2023 is ‘A Irish Song’, it’s fun and jovial… “Don’t let your past get in your way, Wish your mother happy Valentine’s Day, She said your sister had a minor crash, We went home and watched Father Ted, Then we went to bed”

One of my personal favourites is from his early works, ‘James Dean’ is wonderful. To be honest, it’s easy to see the art in each of his songs. He is a thoughtful artist.

I purchased my first David Keenan vinyl at the merch desk and as I wrote this, listened to in two times through (Crude). There is still something magical for me listening to a turntable play it’s vinyl that I don’t recieve from my bluetooth speaks delivering me a Spotify song. Hearing David’s music on this old-school platform is the way it NEEDS to be appreciated. However hearing and experiencing his song LIVE is the ultimate pleasure. I cannot recommend a ‘Keenan’ gig enough.

His last song of the evening drew a standing, and very worthy, ovation. If he wasn’t already aware that us Adelaidian’s love him, that should have got the message through loud and clear. David Keenan is a star. I totally rate this talent and fingers crossed he heads back for a 2025 Australian Tour. I’m champing at the bit. Until then you’ll find me on the couch listening to vinyl. Cheers.

Bravo David Keenan. A well-deserved Five Stars from me!

GALLERY: While I’ve got you, check out the image gallery from the night with photography by Leo Hiraga!

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