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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
Shepherds Bush Empire
- Saturday December 11th, 2004 - by deca-yotta-deluxe guest writer Nick Morgan (with apologies to Jimmy J.)

Stately, plump, Barry the Bouncer came from the stairhead, and walked into the bearpit of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Halted, he peered down into the dark and called up coarsely, ‘Jeez, I’d kill for a pint of porter’. Beneath, the vulgar and venereal looking lady spoke through her Guinness moustache, ‘For goodness feckin’ sake, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the Doctor’s …’
Actually you don’t get a stream of consciousness from this self declared ‘Joyce County Ceili Band’ – in truth its best to leave your brainbox at the door – rather it’s a flood of unremitting (and to be honest almost oppressive) good humour, mawkish sentimentality and Irish Showband fuelled folksy rock and roll. It’s loud, loquacious, and totally infectious.
If you’re not familiar with the Saw Doctors then you should have a look at some of their earlier albums – If this is rock and roll then I want my old job back, All the way from Tuam, Same oul’ town and Songs from Sun Street – which provide the majority of material for the evening. To be fair they haven’t recorded much of real note since, but they have maintained their reputation as a live act without compare.

Over the years doctors have come and gone, so only two of the original line-up remain – Davy Carton (who looks as though life on the road has taken its toll) and Leo Moran (who still looks like a myopic daft boy, with a grin that would just make anyone want to smile). Moran also gives the Doctors their very distinctive big guitar sound – with a style that is somewhere between Duane Eddy and Hank Marvin.  
The crowd, a mixture of Irish ex-pats (largely, by the look of their football shirts, from Galway and Ma yo ) and faux Fenians from up-town slumming it at the Bush (some had even forgotten to take their pearls off!) are song and word-perfect.
  The Empire is packed. We fall in with a crowd of left-footed Ulstermen and their ladies – happy to help lift Kate on their shoulders so she can see Leo – and succumb to the craic – singing, more Guinness, waving our arms and trying to dance (like angels trying to dance on a pinhead). Poor behaviour for a reviewer I know. But that’s what the Doctors are about – ‘if you need a few tunes just give us a call for the house, the pub or the parish hall …’ - take it or leave it. (picture left by Nick: after the gig).
Oh yes – and if you’re interested then check out a free concert in London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday 13th March. The day after Whisky Live in London – and no vouchers to worry about paying for! - Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)

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