Griffins of Kinsale on Mission is a great pub with a small town feel to it that fits just perfectly in our community. Great drinks and service, a decent selection of beers on tap and my personal favorite, no televisions. It’s the kind of pub you go to talk with your friends or listen to music without the neon headache light of twenty televisions blaring in your face. This weekend they had some very special music at The Pub and it was a night to remember.
Something special happened at the pub Saturday night and that special thing was Gavlak. I showed up that evening just as the first band, Wedding Day, was winding down their set. A four-piece pop/rock/jazz/soul outfit, they were extremely tight; the fact that they were all very young just helped in how impressed I was.
The lead vocalist has a strong, confident voice, the rhythm section was solid and mostly I was impressed by how well they stayed together. They were anything but sloppy. Clearly having fun in what may have been their first gig ever, I expect big things from these guys. If they stick with it and keep practicing they’ll definitely have a future in live music.
The second band that played was Gio Jam, a three-piece cover band. Now I don’t usually go for cover bands but these guys had something special. I noticed immediately that there was no drummer present which piqued my curiosity. How are they going to pull off some of these songs without drums?
The fantastic thing is that they did and they did so very gracefully. Their harmonies were flawless, the guitar playing and bass playing spot on even without that back beat. Songs that you’d think couldn’t work without drums, ‘Breathe’ by Pink Floyd being the one that stood out most to me, sounded great. They were very good and a group I would definitely see again.
The night was carrying on, we’d had a few drinks and everyone was laughing and socializing, then Gavlak started setting up. You could feel the energy building up even before they started playing; there was a change in the pub that felt like right before a thunderstorm, an electric current of excitement. When they came on, they came on swinging. I cannot stress how much energy these guys had and how it never let up, not once. During their whole set they never slowed, never surrendered. They pummeled us with their sound and performance.
Michael, their singer, is one of the most charismatic and enjoyable frontmen to watch. He banters with the audience, talks about his lyrics openly and doesn’t ever slow down. At one point he stood on top of the bar (sorry about that Joe) and howled at the audience. On top of all that, he has a versatile voice, ranging from rap to thrash he toes the line without ever going over the edge to full aggressive screaming. He is a singer by every definition of the word and people fronting bands could certainly learn a thing or two from watching him. Despite how intense their performance was they were also very, very fun.
You feel what they’re feeling, you’re taken on this journey and some of it hurts but most of it is just balls out fun. Their guitar player Steve Watson is their texture man. He isn’t a guitarist so much as he paints soundscapes. Whether just laying a tone, heavy thick riff or playing leads he is an extremely talented guitar player. I was very impressed by him and that’s not something very easy to do with me.
Their Bass player Ben Stelle locked in so tight with the drummer and handled the low end wonderfully. It’s a difficult dance, that space between rock and roll and funk, and I really like what he was laying down. Between the two of them there was no room for slipping up and it showed. These guys are professional, tight musicians. Playing in a four-piece can be a bit tricky sometimes, especially with only one guitar but you couldn’t tell at all. They have a huge sound, one that is very layered while feeling straightforward.
The night ended on a high note; all the bands sounded great and everyone who went had a fantastic time. It’s nights like this that make me so glad to go to shows and get to meet these people. Nothing is quite as good as live music and it’s fantastic to see so much talent that reinforces that idea. If you get a chance you absolutely have to see Gavlak.
To hear more go to https://www.numberonemusic.com/gavlak
Or their facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GavlakBand/
Their official music video for “In the Pain.”