To a born and bred Dubliner like myself, the cult movie The Commitments was something very special. It showed the world that Irish music was far more than Showbands and Fenian Ballads – it showed that Dubliners had soul!
That the Dublin Soul Scene depicted in the movie was for the most part fiction, invented by the pen of Roddy Doyle, was irrelevant. The true story was about a bunch of feckless youngsters who discovered a way to make a difference to their lives through music.
Almost thirty years on, in a grand example of life imitating art, The Stars From The Commitments have been touring the world playing Soul with a Dublin accent ever since. Last night they were back at the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe – a venue they first played at its reopening in 2015.
You don’t have to have seen the fil-m (as we say in Dublin) to enjoy this show, the music and the performances stand up on their own, but if you have, you find yourself replaying scenes in your head as Jimmy Rabbitte, Outspan, Deco, Imelda et al come to life on stage. Albeit only Derek ‘The Meatman’ Scully (Ken McCluskey) and Steven Clifford (Michael Ahern) were in the original film and of course Ronan Dooney played on the original soundtrack – but none of this matters, its all about the music.
Playing mostly songs from both of the albums spawned by the film the band stopped and asked “Is there any track we’ve not played yet?” “MUSTANG SALLY!! Came the reply – and that’s what they played, by now most of the auditorium were on their feet.
I have seen this band play before and I never tire of their show – the movie is now almost thirty years old, some of the songs are knocking on for eighty years old but music like this never ages, it leaves you invigorated, leaves you dancing in the aisles.
All too soon it was over and time for Del Boy McCluskey to try and sell knock off copies of the DVD from a suitcase in the foyer – me, I’m off to dig our my original tape, find a VHS player on Marketplace and spend the weekend in the company of “the worlds hardest working band” – The Commitments.