Their only concession to a show-biz send-up may have been the wildly exuberant polka-dotted shirt and red trousers worn by singer/guitarist Leo Moran, some very occasional coordinated choreography, or bassist Anthony Thistlewaite's switch to saxophone when an arrangement called for it. Oh, and the a cappella bit on their hit "Red Cortina," showcasing the harmonies of all five band members, was a nice touch too.
Mainly, though, they let the songs speak for themselves. A populist and unpretentious lot, the current Saw Doctors lineup consists of cofounders Moran and singer/guitarist Davy Carton; Thistlewaite; keyboard player, guitarist, backing vocalist Kevin Duffy; and drummer extraordinaire Rickie O'Neill. They come across as simply good ol' lads of the homegrown Irish variety, boasting a stockpile of songs that are simply exceptional.
The cream of their catalog was on display last night, from tender, nostalgic, sometimes tear-tempting ballads like "Green and Red of Mayo" and "Claire Island" -- each bearing more than whiff of nostalgia in their description of the homeland's idyllic environs -- to rousing, exuberant rave-ups like "N17," "That's What She Said Last Night," "Tommy K," and a completely captivating take on that old chestnut "Downtown," their current single and another example of their skill when it comes to rousing a crowd.
Again: brilliant. Awesome. Life-changing. Indeed, it was all that and more. And this time, you don't have to take this critic's word for it. The crowd has spoken. We'd simply add the word "extraordinary," although even that description doesn't even begin to do this band justice. Credit the Saw Doctors with one stunning house call.
Personal bias: If it isn't already obvious, I admit I've got a real bromance going with this band.
Random detail: Leo and Davy have the patience of a saint (Saint Paddy, perhaps?) After the show, they took pictures with fans and accepted the kudos as they were offered. Leo alone took 20 minutes to hear what seemed like one chap's life story.
By the way: Revolution deserves kudos for bringing the group to town. Its efforts were rewarded with an enthusiastic, oversized audience.
"Takin' the Train"
"To Win Just Once"
"Someone Loves You"
"Sing a Powerful Song"
"Share the Darkness"
"Green and Red of Mayo"
"Galway and Mayo"
"About You Now"
"I'll Be on My Way"
"I Useta Lover"
"Bless Me Father"
"That's What She Said Last Night"
"Michael D. Rocking in the Dail"
"Why Do I Always Want You"