Ham Sandwich performing 'Words' for BalconyTV Dublin
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PRESENTED BY PAULINE FREEMAN
As with most introductions, we'll start with the name. Say hello to Ham Sandwich. No it doesnt stand for anything; no they don't care if you dont like it, so far as it has helped as much as it has hindered them. Sure it gets them more attention than their glorious collection of pop rock ballads, but in a town where talk is cheap, this moniker is a Fendi handbag. It also allowed them to stick it to that glorified hearing aid Bono who has previously suggested that they would be the biggest band in Ireland by now if they changed their name. Quite true Mr. Vox, but as you have failed to grasp, despite your diminutive form, size isn't everything, talent is. And Ham Sandwich have lashings of it. Contemptibly lumped in with The Chalets in a music scene unaccustomed to change, Ham Sandwich have distinguished between style and content, and while they look the part, they never forget that its the music that has them here in the first place. With Niamh Farrell's astute presence and honeyed vocals glazing front man Podge McNamee's gruff tone and hammy stage manner, the group never fail to disappoint, be it with their lyrics, so melancholic they make for such sweet wallow, or their melodies. Witness Sad Songs a master class in how to kick a song back in where lesser bands would have let it fade out, turning the what would otherwise been a standard rock track on its head Or its b-side, the hurtling Click, Click, BOOM! which comes on like the Pixies at their strongest and contains a chorus so catchy that it carries your inhabitations away with it so that you're tearing up the dance floor, and your vocal chords, from the moment it kicks in. Or current single St Christopher, a beautifully paced ballad that will have you tapping your feet before ripping into a toe curling wail. But its live that the sandwich really cut the mustard. Farrell takes to the stage with unrestrained elegance, embarrassing the audience into submission with her womanly wiles. If she is the butter in this butty, then McNamee is the cheese. Tearing around the stage almost as much as he tears of his clothes, the contrast between the two works in ways you know it shouldn't, and while at times it can be a bit over powering, at least you know that what you are watching is real and not the insipid manoeuvring of a band with their sights set firmly on a guest slot on The O.C. .Lighting a match under their already explosive singles, even those left unmoved by their music will be caught up in their frantic live show. Its easy to see why they have earned the support of acts as diverse as The Buzzcocks and White Snake. And I guess thats why I like them. They reek of reality in a city where falsity is a pre requisite for success. Caomhan Keane
Tune in tomorrow!!!