Hal Live at The Button Factory (Dublin 23/04/12)

23 Apr

Friday night saw the long awaited return of Hal with the launch gig for new album ‘The Time The Hour’ the follow up to their 2005 self titled first album.
I had seen Hal live twice in the last 3 years once at a tiny gig in Greystones and another in the Village or Whelans (I cant remember which one) I havn’t listened to the new album yet Ive followed the single released from it so far and really enjoyed the singles Down in The Valley and Be With You. The gig was in The Button Factory I havn’t been at a gig here in quite awhile its a nice venue good size and high stage. Hal used every inch of it with a big set-up including a string quartet. First off the number one thing from this gig was quite simply the vocal harmonies that Hal perform these guys have some unique styles to their songs and Dave Allen the lead singer can hit higher notes than most female singers. These guys use these unique talents pretty well just listen to the intro to Down In The Valley, its one of the strangest intro’s Ive ever heard but it works. The sound at the gig took one or two songs to get itself right. The first song Hal played was a slow and strange one, Im not sure it was the best choice of opening number even though the outro picked up tempo and energy it took abit to long to get there at the start of the show. Once they got into the set things picked up completely with old hits like ‘I Sat Down’ and new song Magnificent which is a fast upbeat and instantly engaging song.

Hals live set had moments where they channeled Motown and the 50’s and 60’s with blues or jazzy style piano delivered by Stephen O’Brien and vocal solos reminescent of Pink Floyd or The Beach Boys. I was delighted to hear them play their most famous song ‘Play The Hits’ and a great version of it too. The biggest reaction of the night came with their live version of the fantastic Be With You.
Hal are without doubt very talented and capable of producing real hit pop rock songs, their sound is unique with interesting song structures and harmonies. All the same im not sure what to make of the gig, its like there is just something missing from the live show, its kindve slightly dettached or just missing something to grab the crowd and hold their attention.
Maybe its the gap from the last gig to now or just the beginning of a tour, Hal are not short of musical talent by any means but it will still be a tough road to get their music out.

This is song Be With You which wouldve been the Summer song of 2011 only I think it came out after the summer.


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