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Hermitage Green, O2 Academy, Birmingham - REVIEW

Entertainment | Published:

It is a special feeling. The moment you discover a band you love which has failed to come under your radar, until now.

I felt this in a crowded, smoky part of Birmingham's O2 Academy on Friday night.

Little known this side of the Irish Sea, Hermitage Green may have headlined at Ireland's biggest music festival Electric Picnic, but at the O2 they only required the smaller area of the venue.

But this, a UK tour, should be the beginning of a new horizon for the five-piece Irish band, soon to be stretching across the British Isles. And justifiably so.

Two brothers – former rugby player Barry and Dan Murphy – are at the forefront of this folk rock band, backed up by two drummers and a keyboardist.

They begin with music you might expect. The words bring meaning, the drum beats loud and fast and the guitars bring out the folk music.

But then the band flips to a new level, doing a brilliant cover of the Fugees, Ready Of Not. The crowd love it.

A few more songs pass before the band disperse off the stage, leaving the drummer with a bodhran, a traditional Irish drum.

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He, again, got the crowd, mostly of Irish descent, going, playing carnival-style music while the rest of the band took a quick break.

In the second half the good songs continued to roll. Again, the band played a brilliant cover, this time of The Eagles, California Dreaming.

For the encore the band returned on to the dance floor before the stage, and within a tightly-gripped circle of fans they played a beautiful acoustic song.

Back on the stage, the band finished the night off with a catchy song Quicksand, sending listeners off home with the lyrics going round and round in their heads.

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Not blown away by their fame, the band welcomed everyone to join them for a drink at the Old Crown pub in Digbeth.

Blending tradition with the new, Hermitage Green will soon have a UK fan base to match their Irish on the grounds of this enjoyable gig.

By Alex Ross

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