DAVID KEENAN has just spent six weeks supporting Hozier on his almost completely sold-out world tour, playing in iconic venues such as the London Palladium and expertly getting the crowd riled up to see the main event, but he's more than capable of drawing an enthusiastic crowd by himself.
Last night, Keenan ended his stint on the road with a show at The Islington-- the first venue he ever headlined in London back in 2018.
Though the crowd was small compared to the masses of Hozier fans Keenan has played to over the past few weeks, the Dundalk native shone without the shadow of the larger act hanging over him, and it was here where he really came into his own.
Kicking things off with the emotionally charged Big Boys Must Cry, Keenan grabs the attention of the audience and doesn't let go.
Nerves may have been a factor at the beginning of the set, with Keenan commenting that the crowd was "awful quiet", but he can be assured that the silence was one of respect rather than disinterest.
It's reminiscent of the hush which descends upon small rural pubs when an older gentleman stands up and sings songs from days gone by; Keenan's audience listens intently to the poetry of his lyrics before bursting into long, loud applause at the end of each track.
And yet, by the time Keenan is in the middle of the third track The Sacred Cough Bottle, a song which showcases his impressive vocal stamina and range, he is comfortably in his element and the crowd reflects this back to him, becoming more engaged during the tracks until the entire venue is singing along to Postcards From Catalonia and One More Tune, resulting in a haunting backing track carefully orchestrated by Keenan himself.
His new songs receive a great reception, as do the anecdotes Keenan tells before each song-- with the story behind James Dean remaining a firm favourite.
Whether last night's crowd was drawn to The Islington after discovering Keenan through Spotify, word of mouth, seeing him supporting Hozier or just coming to see what all the fuss was about, by the end of the set it was clear that Keenan is quickly and deservedly amassing a legion of fans.
David Keenan has upcoming live shows in the US and Europe and you can take our word from it that they're well worth attending.
To check out dates and book tickets you can visit his website here.