Molly Malone’s was buzzing late last month when Keywest took the stage. While the five-piece band, who busked their way from Dublin and brought gloomy weather with them, was clearly used to larger venues (they played for tens of thousands at Oxegen, Ireland’s annual Irish music festival, in June) they seemed at home in the intimate setting.
They began their set with the carefully-crafted rock songs “Where You’ll Find me” and “Messages from God,” which are reminiscent of bands from their homeland like U2 and Snow Patrol. The songs call out for recognition with lyrics like “No way, we are not too young, please don’t waste our time, we’re headed for the sun,” but the band doesn’t have to: they shined with such effulgence, it was impossible to look away. Bassist Sam Marder made the stage his playground, rocking out and occasionally waving to his fans. Eamonn Hegarty, who is the baby of the band at just 18, displayed impressive control of the drums and Cajon. Lead guitarist James Lock reminded me of Jeff Beck. And Andrew Glover, who looked dashing in his white button down and suspenders, brought the band together with his prodigious command of every musical instrument he got his hands on (there were plenty). It was, however, lead singer Andy Kavanagh who truly stole the crowd when his smooth, thick vocals filled the room. OK, I’ll admit it: I am a sucker for Irish boys and their accents, but Andy switched effortlessly from original material to heart-wrenching covers of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Kings of Leon’s “Sex is on Fire.” I wasn’t the only girl in the crowd lacing up her Nikes as he sang, “I should have run, should have taken your hands, we should be running for our lives.”
As the rain pitter-pattered outside, the band wrapped their show with “After the Storm Clears.” The song, a metaphor for the turbulent conditions of today’s music world, left the audience dazzled. I hope Keywest keeps their word and sticks it out, at least long enough for their raw talent to shine through to a bigger audience here in the states.