Sunday, October 20, 2013

Aja play in JJ Smyths

Aja play the music of Steely Dan. I have been meaning to go and see them for years. I have for a long time been curious about Steely Dan and reckoned that seeing this band would be a good introduction to their music. Aja have a good reputation on the Dublin scene. The music of Steely Dan is something of a minority interest, so no one is going to become rich covering them - these guys are more doing it for the love.

I went to this concert with my beloved (who has some familiarity with the Dan). I had also arranged to meet a curious Dan fan from work there. But this was not to be - although we arrived within five minutes of the advertised door opening time, the venue was already full and we only just squeezed in. When my workmate showed up, he was refused entry. Apparently popular radio DJ Ronan Collins had mentioned the gig on his show that afternoon and an army of impressionable people had shown up.

Inside I noticed that audience members were mostly older than I was (an increasingly rare event for me). There were two women in front of us who looked like they had escaped from the 1980s - possibly a mother and daughter, though the "daughter" was of such indeterminate age that they may have been contemporaries. There were also at least some trend people present - I did overhear one woman loudly telling people near her that she did not really like Steely Dan but had come along anyway. That's nice, I thought.

The band themselves were also not of a spring chicken character. There was eight of them - drummer, guitarist, bassist, two saxophonists, keyboardist, a bloke on lead vocals and a woman on backing vocals (she also played some mean cowbell when required, in a rather demented manner). I suspected they might be jazzers. The event certainly had a jazz quality to it, with the players taking a break in the middle and people applauding solos. I understand there was always a jazz element to Steely Dan, so all was appropriate.

It was strange listening to a covers band play songs I basically did not know. The highlight for me probably was one of the two songs I had heard before, 'Rikki don't lose that number', sung by the bassist. I have probably never listened closely to this before, but the entreating tone of the singer's voice captured the doomed longing of the song. I probably also would have liked 'Do it again', if they had played it. I was somewhat indifferent to 'Reeling in the Years' - as my beloved pointed out, it is noticeably less complex musically than the other tunes, so small wonder it was a big hit.

Further investigation of the music of Steely Dan may be required. As may be attendance at a concert by Aja that has not been hyped up by Ronan Collins.

IMPORTANT QUESTION: does referring to Steely Dan as "The Dan" mark you out as terminally uncool?

Image source (and information on next Aja concert

An inuit panda production

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