Gig review: Pat Dam Smyth at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Pat Dam Smyth
Pat Dam Smyth
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Every troubadour worth their salt should be able to intersperse lovingly crafted songs with interesting tales to bestow upon their live audience; hirsute Ulsterman Pat Dam Smyth can boast more than his fair share of both.

Two notable anecdotes spring to mind from much travelled Smyth’s delightfully intimate performance in Brudenell’s revamped games room, part of a nine-date solo mini tour. Limbering up ahead of wistful new composition ‘Blue Lights’, Pat shares a distant hometown gig memory.

Faced with the disheartening sight of his then band Betty Blue’s audience completely vanishing mid-set, imagine the “relief” as the baffled ensemble are suddenly informed by hastily emerging security that the mass exodus was in fact due to due to a bomb scare, not the music they’ve been witnessing; whilst naturally imploring them to forsake their newly acquired gear and make a similarly sharp exit.

Another compelling tale relates to the contemplative ‘Emily’, denouement to Smyth’s imminent EP ‘Goodbye Berlin’, a five-track ode to impetuous youth, prelude to Pledge Music funded follow-up to last year’s much lauded debut ‘The Great Divide’. Before performing ‘Emily’, Smyth again sets the scene, this time at home having just watched period big screen drama ‘A River Runs Through It’ on TV, after which he’s confronted by the sight of one of the film’s main cast members Emily Lloyd, who at that very moment, just happens to be walking down Pat’s street; a somewhat spooky coincidence once more inspiring Smyth to write.

What’s in little doubt tonight is Smyth’s mix of new material, old favourites plus a cover, fittingly of Johnny Cash’s ‘The Wanderer’ to finish, all hold up superbly, despite the absence of any additional musicians. Indeed tonight’s beguiling, sometimes eerie and frequently melancholic sound contrasts with the lush instrumentation prevalent on Smyth’s recorded material, yet proves equally alluring.

With another of tonight’s new numbers and EP lead-off track ‘Juliette’, already garnering airplay on 6Music, expect Pat Dam Smyth’s star to brighten in the coming months.