There is a buzz, a feeling of excitement, a sense that something special is about to happen. The anticipation before the Prodigals hit the stage is palpable, the atmosphere so electric you can almost touch it...and then they let fly. And it is pure exhilaration. New York's jig-punk practitioners play a high-energy fusion of Irish folk and rock that is at once nostalgic & exuberant, slick on the uptake & quick on the feet. A manic energy flows between the musicians - Gregory Grene's vivid front line presence and excellent accordion playing, Eamon O'Tuama's guitar and vocals, Andrew Harkin's' incredible bass technique, and Eamon Ellams' drumming. It's a formidable collection - Harkin's' playing summons up images of Jaco Pastorius, his ingenious bass lines playing a lead role. Eamon O'Tuama and Gregory Grene supply vocal leads and write songs in a distinctly individual manner: Grene's rabble-rousing good-time camaraderie is balanced with a passionate romanticism, while O'Tuama composes songs blessed with lyrical perception and a pronounced pop sensibility. Eamon Ellams bangs the drums like his life depended on it. And let's not forget the fifth member of the Prodigals' success story, Kieran Ryan the soundman, the mix doctor, his astute vision and golden ears driving the Prodigals' sound out front. The band sound is unique: vocals, button accordion, guitar, bass and drums work together with the concise precision of a disciplined touring act that has torn up the road from America to Ireland & back. It is a sound of world-class ability and power, a sound that respects each person's individual talents, yet emerges as a single condensed unit. There is an energy in the Prodigals' music, an angst, an anger, an expression of love, of good times, personal issues, concerns - it's all there. Songs born of the Irish American experience, shared with people of all nationalities, music that reaches for the heart & the backbone, delivered with an urgency & power that radiate from the stage. This is a band that grabs the listener & demands attention. This is the voice of Irish America in the 21st century. When the Prodigals play live, all hell breaks loose...an explosion of musical color, a celebration of life & all it's aspects, as band and audience form a unified force. It's musical excellence, it's classic rock & roll, and it's a powerful distillation of the reality of the Irish American experience - music to dance to and to live by. Here is proof caught off the board before a captivated audience in Cleveland. It's the same all over Ireland and America. The Prodigals let loose a Molotov cocktail of Irish music and rock & roll, and the results are in the mix! Here it is at last...savor it and enjoy. John O'Regan, Dublin, January 2005 (One of Ireland's foremost music critics and writers, John O'Regan's articles and reviews have appeared in Irish Music Magazine, Folk Roots, Rock n' Reel, Hot Press and The Living Tradition)
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