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Quarter-century of a passionate band; REVIEW: The Saw Doctors The Coal Exchange, Cardiff.

IT seems that whenever The Saw Doctors play The Coal Exchange in Cardiff they have a new member to introduce.

The latest addition to the Irish band is glamorous female vocalist Lindsey Cleary.

But Welshman Tony Lambert, who was the new face when the musicians last played the Cardiff venue, was nowhere to be seen - he later left the group after winning the Irish lottery.

Co-frontman Leo Moran announced early on during the set that Cleary should invest in a ticket in the hope of winning the jackpot too but you could tell that he didn't really mean a word of it.

As they headed out on the road to promote their new Best Of compilation 2525, it was obvious to see that The Saw Doctors are a band that love playing live and the enjoyment was infectious.

It was clear that founders Moran and Davy Carton are still as passionate as the day they formed the group and it's impressive that 25 years later there wasn't even the slightest hint of tiredness in their performance.

It's also testament to their songwriting skills that almost everyone in the room knew the words to every song, and there sure were plenty of them in this two-hour set.

The band opened the gig with World Of Good and it was belter after belter from then on, with the show quickly descending into a mass singalong.

Classics that make it onto the set list include I Useta Lover, Clare Island, Green And Red Of Mayo and Bless Me Father. Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without a rendition of fans' favourite N17, which made an appearance during the encore, along with Joyce Country Ceili Band and Hay Wrap.

The group demonstrated their versatility, with drummer Rickie O'Neill stepping down to have a go on vocals, former Waterboys member Anthony Thistlethwaite playing saxophone as well as bass and keyboardist Kevin Duffy getting the accordion out for a couple of numbers.

For a band to endure this long is really something.

Given the crowd's reaction to this show I'd say The Saw Doctors still have plenty of years left in them yet.

Caitlin Allen
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 6, 2012
Words:360
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