Mega Dodo 2016
Material myth-making from the inhabitants of ethereal otherworld: famed Irish duo condense their murk for all to see.
This little collective seemed a vital piece in an Éire musical mosaic, and their three Charisma albums traced Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell’s progress from acoustic troubadours to full-fledged folk rockers, yet it took the veterans more than four decades to grace the studio again. The result was 2015’s “The Dark Dance” – brought on-stage in Putney on the day of its release and preserved for posterity here – a success and a natural successor to an original records run.
The “Half Moon” performance encompasses all the duo’s history, including their wilderness years when Sonny and Leo started to play the drily rocking “Eyelids Into Snow” that has yet to see a non-concert release, but starting with “Time Is Like A Promise” which, aeons ago, opened the group’s self-titled debut and, while still gentle, turned youthful hope into a seasoned traveler’s rumination on life lived on the road now. Two voices’ twine timelessly smooth and two guitars’ web eternally light, the past taps into the present in the elegiac haze of “I Have Known Love” and three more new tunes, the gloomy ones, as “Ricochet” drowns screams in a sparsely echoing trance and “You In Yellow” weaves a heart-wrenching fiddle in its fabric.
Paradoxically, in front of the audience, the pieces’ aloofness increases, but then there are “Looking Up” whose electric charge is mesmeric, marrying drone to a twang, and the merry “The Lady I Love” off "A Tear And A Smile" which gets unhinged to exist in the moment of delivery. The only saggy spot of it all is the show’s only cut from "Strong In The Sun", as “Free Ride” has somehow lost its momentum towards the finale, before “Two White Horses” slowly rides into the sunset leaving an impression that the night of the dark dance wouldn’t be TIR NA NOG’s last. Their fire is still burning bright in the shadow of time.