"Endless Summer - Live In Dublin" by The RisingReview
It's asking probably a great deal more than I dare ought to, to wonder if you remember my review, almost exactly four years ago, of The Rising's "Endless Summer" single.
I could have cheated a little & gone for a review of their latest without reference to the above, but no doubt someone somewhere would, quite reasonably, have asked of "Endless Summer - Live In Dublin" that surely they'd already released it?
Which they have & the evidence is there in the "Hot Music Live" archives. This however, words & music remaining as they were, is, as the title suggests, a live version recorded in Dublin's Opium live while they were supporting Lucy Spraggan.
Set to come out on 28th July, the core duo of vocalist Chantelle McAteer & guitarist Chris Logan were augmented on stage by Ryan Hodges on drums and by Danny Boyle on bass guitar.
So why did they decide to share their performance as a formal single? I'll leave it to their own words (always the best course I find): "..firstly the audience in Dublin were amazing. They welcomed us with open arms, which is unusual for a support act. Then they proceeded to sing along with the chant part in the chorus. This is a moment that we will never forget. As a reward to the amazing people in the audience we thought that it would be a nice souvenir of a very special night in Dublin… Secondly and perhaps more selfish. We have come to the realisation that not many have seen us live with a full band or recognise us as a full band. So we wanted to make that side of us known. To show that we aren't just a songwriting and production duo. We really love playing live and getting to perform and energetic live show."
Taking their second point first if I may, I find this both revealing & rather sad. Looking back through my many reviews of the band, I first did so & I was first won over by them as a live proposition: at a BBC Introducing for Coventry & Warwickshire showcase, followed shortly thereafter at the Godiva Festival. I am sure that at that point, most people came to them via that route.
However subsequently, what a lot has happened! On a positive note, since relocating to Leamington from Belfast (the point at which I picked up on them), they've released around sixteen highly rated & acclaimed singles & EPs: so their streaming profile has rocketed & their reputation for writing & production is justifiably high.
Unfortunately, their plan to ensure that their burgeoning live reputation was matched by this other aspect (which precipitated their move) was undermined by COVID19 scuppering live work and so, despite heroic attempts via weekly livestreaming, the recording side in effect overtook the concert side, placing them in a position where they felt that a sharp reminder was necessary: and that's where we find ourselves.
Ironically, pre-Leamington, they had a larger lineup (not everyone could move) and so their live reputation from that point was based upon a high energy duo, which to be fair, worked a treat. Back out playing though, it's a case of going back to their roots as full lineup, though regrettably health issues of almost random & relentless occurrence have meant that for The Rising, the phenomenon associated with COVID19 persisted longer than for most artists.
"Endless Summer - Live In Dublin" however ticks the boxes in terms of the twin motivations for its release. Interestingly enough, for a duo who have felt studio bound & who are clearly very at home with production (recent singles have include drum tracks recorded remotely in the USA for example), they adhered very closely to replicating on record what the songs would have sounded like live & so the gap was not as wide as it might have been with some artists.
That an audience there for the headline act should respond so positively to their set is evidence enough that what made them is still in their DNA & there is no sign of rustiness.
If Chantelle seems as gleeful & full of joie de vivre as she did in the studio (that's her gift), then it's enhanced & burnished hearing the audience's reactions for ourselves.
It's tempting when reviewing live recordings to identify the audience pushing the artists to new heights & while I'd take that position here, it should not be taken as suggesting that The Rising sounded anything less than giving it 100% in their multitracked studio versions: that after all is one of the attributes I return to repeatedly in my many reviews. This is not a band who know how to phone a performance in, whether Chris & Chantelle by themselves or now with presumably like minded colleagues.
The choice of track is apt: obviously it's seasonally topical & epitomises their own spirit, liberated to play live again, factors which alone make it the obvious one. However it's also worth recalling their work over the past few years: they didn't half evolve from the sunny disposition & bouncy country pop which people quite understandably categorised them as: a lot of other singles range from the sombre to the disquietening and while I imagine that the Dublin crowd appreciated those very fine songs too, it's hard to imagine their making the same noises which decorate this particular song. "Bruise You Left" or "Shadows on the Wall" are great tracks, but feel-good songs they are not.
The Rising are very talented & very hard working & it's a huge shame how their thoughtful plan to develop their music & career was derailed by circumstances far beyond their control. "Endless Summer - Live In Dublin" is a typically carefully thought out step along the road to reclaiming lost ground and picking up where they had been three years ago. If they can win over a notoriously tough crowd & one without much prior knowledge of them, think it's highly likely that when they start playing back on this side of the Irish Sea again, the audiences who loved them before will re-embrace them.
Their next gig is on 29th July: the Six Mile Festival in Northern Ireland but after that, they are closer to us on 26th August at The Big Feastival near Chipping Norton and on 12th November they play Live in The Living Room Festival at The Bedford in London.
Don't forget that you can also still catch them livestreaming on Facebook every Monday at 2000 (Live on @therisingofficial).