The Dublin Castle is a name synonymous with great live music in London, and is known as being the first major London venue for a great many bands that later find commercial success, including Madness (who got their first residency there thanks to then Landlord Alo Conlon), and 90s Britpop acts, including Blur. Even Amy Winehouse performed regularly at The Castle, and occasionally worked there helping to serve drinks to customers.
Originally built to serve workmen on the nearby railway, The Dublin Castle catered for Irish immigrants, and even now is still the first port of call for many Irish bands when they come over the water. It therefore came as no surprise when EP faves Penrose announced they’d be doing a couple of London shows, that one of their gigs would be at The Dublin Castle. We’ve been waiting for a while to see what Darragh and the guys were like live, and we weren’t disappointed.
Opening with a lively rendition of ‘Living In The City’, a new one to us, the compact yet enthusiastic audience warmed very quickly to Penrose’s sound, with some getting up to dance, and all at the very least tapping their feet or clapping.
One site described the band as, “jangly psychedelic pop with West Coast harmonies, beautifully melodic”, and added further, “a possible nod to The Byrds and a definite one to the later Beatles oeuvre”. While that comes close to describing Penrose, we think they possibly have their own sound, and feel they are destined for big things. The next song, another new one for us, ‘Come On Out Tonight’, was a great number which has us excited for their new album.
‘See You Again’, was next, from their ‘Live The Dream’ EP, followed by crowd favourite, ‘Melody’. Darragh impressed the audience when he said that this had been their first single, and from this point more people stood up to dance, with a lot also getting out their phones and either photographing or videoing the band.
A couple from Norway next to us were very taken by Penrose, and Darragh in particular: the lady motioned to us, after having first searched online, and asked if we thought that he resembled someone from the Bay City Rollers. The idea had never occurred to us before, given the style of music Penrose perform, we’d always associated Darragh’s hair with Paul Weller or Liam Gallagher.
‘My House’ was another new one on us, and eminently singable. Penrose ended their set with their newest single, ‘Sign On’, by which time the band had the audience completely in the palms of their collective hands. They were tight and the set left us wanting for more.
Penrose are performing tonight at Zigfrid von Underbelly, 11 Hoxton Square, London, where they are the headline act, and hit the stage at 10.15pm. If you were unable to get to see their show last night, make a point of going tonight. Penrose have been described as “Ireland’s best kept secret” and with shows like last night’s, they won’t be a secret for much longer.