DEA MATRONA LIVE IN HALIFAX – WHAT HAPPENED?

Sometimes when you get the call you just have to drop everything and go. Wednesday was one such day where I get an email at lunchtime asking are you available to review Dea Matrona tonight at The Piece Hall? The rapidly becoming legendary venue In my birth town of Halifax that has already sold over 170,000 tickets for this year’s acts and bands playing? Damn right I am, even though having only just discovered them late last year at Bingley Weekender I’d instantly fallen in love with them. This was an opportunity I wasn’t going to turn down.

Hailing from Belfast, Orláith (bass and lead vocal) and Mollie (guitar and alternate lead vocal) got together whilst still at school after finding they had a mutual taste in 60’s rock music, indeed it was a video of them doing Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well that got them their 1st break when it went viral at the start of this decade and got them onto the festival circuit the following year as well as being blessed with getting support slots for Eagles Of Death Metal (typically on the 1 tour of theirs I didn’t do in the past few years) as well as Kris Barras and Foo’s guitarist Chris Shiflett.

I managed to catch them last month on their headline tour last month at Leeds’ The Wardrobe where they played a series of similar size venues so getting a chance to play a sold out 5,500 capacity venue as support for Sheryl Crow I can understand why the band jumped on an overnight ferry to do the one off gig.

There’s been much moaning and annoyance from some folk on social media about the Piece Hall introducing a 8pm entry curfew this year with people complaining about having to spend money inside the Piece Hall on food and drinks but for a support band who invest a lot of time, money and effort to perform to a crowd its a godsend as the Piece Hall is already busy by the time the girls take to the stage and open with Stamp On.

It followed by Get My Mind Off both from this years debut album For Your Sins where Orláith 1st addresses the crowd to get them involved with their music and telling them how excited they were to not only be playing the venue (which Mollie like so many who come to play the Piece Hall describes it as like being in Italy) but to also support one of their greatest heroes, Sheryl Crow.

Debut Album 1st release Stuck On You continues the now pretty much full to capacity crowds introduction to Dea’s infectious Soft Rock style. Did Nobody Ever Love You, a song written by a very pissed off Mollie and her partner in crime with the opening line He called her a bitch where the band immediately stop to wait for the crowd reaction before continuing with the bluesy number and a rocky version of Prince’s Kiss, which they also covered on their last tour makes it onto the nights set.

Wilderness, Nobody’s Child (the only original song not on their debut album played tonight) and So Damn Dangerous before their back onto the second cover of the night, the track that kicked it all off for them, a blinding soaring version of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well. One of the rare band things during this and the previous song So Damn Dangerous is Orláith and Mollie swap over instruments so Mollie is now on bass and Qrláth guitar and you can see in this moment Dea Matrona still isn’t the slick professional outfit on stage as Mollie is seen ragging on the bass cable as Orláith stands on it while addressing the crowd.

Glory, Glory (I Am Free) takes it down a level as the boys Declan and Ross who are currently with them for the live gigs leave the stage and it’s just the 2 girls stripped back as Qrláith resumes bass duty and Mollie grabs the acoustic from behind her and after bigging up each other as besties and mentioning Mollies new hairdo done for the gig we see the softer side to Dea Matrona with fantastic vocal harmonies in a more country style song that really comes alive during a live performance.

Every Night I Want You is another departure from their rockier style as it slides into a poppier song that wouldn’t be out of place with an 80’s type band such as Haircut 100 or even soon to be playing the Piece Hall, Crowded House.

Probable biggest known song and all round banger Red Button ends their set and it seems pretty safe to say the trip over was worth it for Dea Matrona as going by the response from the crowd at the end they had found themselves a lot more new fans including a certain Ms Crow who raved about them after at the beginning of her own set, not just in the usual half arsed thanks a support usually gets but a genuine, watched from the sides and picked up on things like the guitar swapping moment type rave of their rare 45 minute long support slot.

So if they’re good enough for Sheryl, they’re good enough for me. Indeed it’s so refreshing to hear a “new” band currently that isn’t shouty or political and to watch them just having fun on stage rather than trying to deliver a message (which is also fine with me btw), so if you want a break from that too, check these girls out or give their album a listen – I doubt you will be disappointed.

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By mykct