All Photos: Remy Connolly
Info: Wednesday night saw Dublin rock band MUNKY play their first headline show of 2017 on the main stage at Whelan's on Wexford Street. Support on the evening came courtesy of no nonsense Dublin punk rock outfit Sub Motion, and the alternative pop moods of six-piece troupe and BIMM students, The Optimists. Originally rostered for the upstairs stage, tickets quickly sold out for the show in the weeks beforehand which led to a switch to the main stage, and this was a good call as the venue was packed to the rafters by the time MUNKY came on stage, you could have filled upstairs 5 times over at least.
Keeping the good vibe flowing, The Optimists put in an equal amount of energy to their predecessors, at times it felt like a dramatic musical, in a good way, as they belted their way through their set. There was also some truly luscious guitar solos to be found and they saved their best until last with some stunning harmonies between Heather Lawrie and Rachel O'Grady to close of their set. Another fine act to come through the centre of talent that is BIMM.
As mentioned, when MUNKY came on stage the place was packed to the brim right up to the very front of the stage, and we were ready to rock. Opening with 'Regular Fool '84', the tone was set, and the crowd were already fully on board from the get go, this was followed immediately by the rocking 'You've Got Male', and the place truly erupted when the band played perhaps their best known track, 'Hunter Gatherer Blues', the difference between live and recorded versions of this song immediately noticeable, as is often the case.
There were isolated moments of calm such as on previous song '(Could You Be Loved) 7am Blues', but for the most part MUNKY partook in a full blues, funk, and psych rock blowout, none moreso than when they kicked up another level on 'Hair of the Dog', the solos from both guitarists were borderline eye-watering, the band enjoying themselves so much, in response to the audiences reactions, that they found it difficult not to smile. In a (perhaps not really) bizarre twist of fate, MUNKY performed an excellently executed cover of Childish Gambino's 'Redbone', from his amazing funked-up recent album Awaken, My Love!, which I had listened to on my way to the venue that night.
They wrapped up their ten-song set list with another unsurprisingly fine piece of high energy rock in the form of 'Miss Communication', at this point we were sweating buckets, the place was still heaving, and it was one of those nights where you felt like you were present at the start of something very special. The entire performance was effortless and natural, and the draw for MUNKY's first headline show was testament to just how fast things are moving for a band that is still yet to truly put itself out there in terms of releases. See them live as soon as you can.