Concert Review: Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies

Renowned folk musician Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies returned to St. Catharines on Jan. 27 for a show at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

The concert was the first show of the band’s new North American tour, which is being used to continue supporting the So Let’s Go album released last year around the time of the concert.

This is the second time that I have seen Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies in concert and I had seen Doyle’s previous group, Great Big Sea, in concert in 2013. In comparison to the other shows, this new concert stands on its own as an outstanding success.

Although the Gypsies don’t have quite the amount of comfort on stage that Great Big Sea had, they are vigilant at not showing it. What discomfort is noticed, is small and is more than made up for by the sheer musical skill of all the musicians and the easy talking comedy of Alan Doyle himself.

One of my favourite parts of seeing a show by the group (and Great Big Sea as well) is the abundance of storytelling. This show was somewhat different though. I’m not sure if it was the mood of the audience or the mood of Doyle, but this show devoted a large amount of the evening to a repertoire with the audience. Remarks about the abundance of the Vegan food in downtown St. Catharines was a jumping off point for conversations between the band and the audience over the course of the night that added to the, ‘friends playing music together’ ambiance of the show.

Another favourite addition to this year’s show was a duet between guitar player, Cory Tetford, and fiddle player Kendel Carson. It was a unique showcasing of the talented lineup who now back the folk legend and it is something I hope we hear more of in the future.

As always, those who didn’t converse with Doyle and Gypsies during the show itself, were able to shake hands with him during the signing after the show and, as always, Doyle upheld his reputation as one of the nicest guys in the music industry.

Overall, I would highly recommend seeing Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies if given the chance. If rumour holds true, they will be returning to St. Catharines in the summer, so those interested should keep an ear to the ground and make sure they don’t miss the outstanding night of toe tapping good times that the concerts provide.

- Matthew Von Lukawiecki

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