‘It’s my last gig in Ireland so we can, you know, just go through it, or we can fucking ’ave it’. Anyone who was lucky enough to be in the Savoy on Thursday will tell you that Richard Hawley and the Cork crowd firmly chose the latter. The Sheffield born musician emerged on stage to a warm reception. Sporting a black leather jacket accompanied by black rimmed glasses and a slicked quiff, Hawley was the visual description of the word ‘cool’.
He began with a growl with the title track off his latest album ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’. NME described the album as a ‘beautiful storm of brimstone’, and as he switched effortlessly through several different guitars, it is easy to see why.
Hawley indulged the crowd with his dry sense of humour. Introducing another number off his album he explained ‘this song is for the Irish and British governments for fuckin’ us up,’ which was met with an unsurprising chorus of approval. Prior to the song ‘Don’t Stare at the Sun’ he hilariously informed the crowd of the meaning behind it. ‘This one’s about when me and my son were flying a kite; it’s quite a boring subject really, except I was off me head on acid at the time’
The gig covered a range of emotions, from the high energy guitar riffs from ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ to romantic melodies like ‘Hotel Room’. Hawley even touched on tougher times such as addiction with ‘Remorse Code’. At this stage, The Savoy was hooked on every syllable which rolled off the distinctive musician’s tongue.
One of the loudest cheers of the night was when Hawley began playing (arguably) his best known track, the irresistible ‘Open Up Your Doors’. The song, which was the soundtrack to the Häagen-Dazs advert, was sung in a rich, warm baritone and made the crowd melt into submission.
The Savoy proved to be an ideal venue for Hawley to shine; the intimate setting enabled the receptive Cork crowd to connect with him. Hawley himself and the band members came across as genuinely humble individuals. ‘You’ve blown us away,’ he told the audience before bringing us back down to earth admitting that ‘you are lovely, but we have to fuck off!’ Credit also needs to be given to the other band members on stage especially the guitarist, who was brilliant.
The quiffed maestro finished off with ‘Down in the Woods’, however the crowd were not quite ready to venture off just yet, and neither was Hawley. He returned to the crowd’s delight cupping a glass of red wine serenading everyone with ‘Lady Solitude’. Hawley ended with a fitting number, ‘The Ocean’, and by the time the last chord was struck, a huge wave of applause flowed through the Savoy.
As the crowd poured outside onto Patrick’s Street, we were left to reflect on what a memorable gig it was. If Richard Hawley returns to Cork, I would fully recommend going to anyone. They missed a belter.