Happyness/Tandem Felix – Dublin, Whelan’s Bar - 21 April 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Jonni D   
Monday, 01 May 2017 05:00

Situated squarely in the social hub of Dublin city, Whelan’s is a prime spot for anyone seeking out a weekend gig at a venue that champions compelling music from up and coming artists. Tonight’s headliner certainly fits that description. Riding on the buzz of their terrific new album, ‘Write In’, the word of mouth on Happyness has been glowing, with the London band steadily grabbing the attention of more and more people on their current UK tour.


Judging from the pre-show chatter, quite a few in attendance are largely unfamiliar with Happyness’ music, but are here out of curiosity given the gradual swell of hype that surrounds them at the moment. It’s encouraging to see such support for a relatively newer band, especially when based solely on intrigue.


Tandem Felix - Dublin


The support tonight comes courtesy of a stripped down version of Dublin’s own Tandem Felix. Usually performing as a four-piece, it’s the lone figure of frontman David Tapley who takes the stage to represent the band. A known quantity in local circles, Tandem Felix dabbles in a style of downbeat country-rock, akin to Wilco, often featuring a strong narrative bent to the lyrics. This translates remarkably well in this setting, with only one vocal, guitar and a shy charm to carry the songs.


With a demeanour that’s somewhere between Ryan Adams and a subdued Dylan Moran, David launches into new song ‘Were You There When They Crucified The Birthday Boy?’, as the crowd falls silent, hanging on to his every word. As he explains, all of the songs tonight are new, save for the morose closer ‘Nothing I Do Will Ever Be Good Enough.’  This doesn’t provide an issue at all, as it turns out. The tongue in cheek cynicism of ‘I Don’t Feel Welcome in Your House’ and ‘Oil Money’ goes down a storm, thanks to the easy charisma exuded by David.   With a packed room congregated before the close of his set, it’s pretty certain that Tandem Felix have reached a sizable new audience, all seemingly liking what they’ve heard.




Happyness Dublin 1


Opening with the soaringly melodic ‘Anna, Lisa Calls,’ the synergy between Happyness and the audience is immediate. Having added a fourth multi-instrumentalist, the band are able to recreate the dense layering that was most apparent on ‘Write In’, and it’s this material that truly shines in the live setting. The weird psychedelia of ‘The C Is A Bag’ surpasses the recorded version, retaining the hypnotic quality of the song. From the punchy pop rock of ‘The Reel Starts Again’ to the piano driven ‘Through Windows’, these are all triumphant additions to their set list.


However, that’s not to dismiss the quality of the earlier material, and it still makes up the majority of the set. The power chord blast of ‘Anything I Do Is Alright’ is met with loud approval, showcasing the band at their most adrenalized. The fuzzy rock of ‘You Come To Kill Me?!’ is equally well received, with the slacker rock anthem ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’ bringing things to a close with the biggest sing along of the night.


Happyness Dublin 2


There’s a wonderful sense of momentum throughout Happyness’ performance, the benefit of having several multi-instrumentalists in the band. Their dynamic as a live act is thoroughly engaging, the crowd’s enjoyment outdone by the enthusiasm onstage, exemplified by drummer Ash Cooper mouthing along with every single lyric with a perpetual grin on his face. If the pre-show atmosphere was one of curiosity, afterwards it’s one of certainty; Happyness , as their name attests, provide a joyous live experience, with a stellar catalogue of quirky little gems.




Read Jonni’s review of ‘Write In’ HERE.


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