In the short life of Leeds Blues Club this was our biggest event to date. On the back of the sell out show that we had for Dom Martin’s acoustic tour, when we were offered the opportunity for a return with the band then we had to think big and step up on the venue. Quite simply Dom has outgrown the Cross Keys and based on his performance on Sunday evening and the reaction of the people who came out to see the show, it won’t be long before he outgrows the Irish Centre as well.
I imagine everyone who attended on Sunday had a good idea of what they were in for. There were many faces who were there at the Cross Keys in April who couldn’t resist a bit more of Dom and he didn’t disappoint.
I was aware that Dom was excited at the prospect of playing the stage at the Irish Centre. He had taken the trouble to find out that the boards had been previously tread by his inspiration Rory Gallagher back in 1987 and he acknowledged this in a nod to Rory as well as a mention of Peter Green and other legends who had preceded him. He humbly accepts that he is just carrying on the legacy of these greats and it clearly means a lot to him.
He opened up with his familiar acoustic set, just Dom and his instrument on the stage on a comfy chair in an almost living room setting. He was clearly relaxed and engaged right from the outset with the attentive audience. You can look around the room and see and feel the intensity of everyone attending, focussing on his words and enthralled by the delicate touch on the guitar and haunting melodies. He humbly acknowledged in his between song banter, the effort required by the audience to just sit and listen and absorb the sound and atmosphere of the occasion.
After a few tracks on his own, he called on the services of his band, introducing them as 2 men who he genuinely felt love for, in Ben on the bass and surprisingly to many, Fenton on the drums. Those who are familiar with Dom’s work will also be aware of Fenton and Audrey Parsons who he credits for saving his life when they recognised his talent and set him on his career. The added rhythm section exploded into life and the band started with some Rory Gallagher tunes ‘a la Martin’ with some searing guitar solos. You could see how much Dom was enjoying himself when he went full rock n’ roll by jumping off the stage and into the audience greeting virtually everyone present in the room, hugging friends, sitting at tables, engaging in banter, even getting into a full bear hug with one of his biggest supporters, Colin, and all while never misplacing a note on his fretboard.
He continued with his own ‘Rory medley’ of three Gallagher classics blended into a magnificent sequence of searing guitar work before providing an encore of his newly released single ‘Unhinged.’ He warmly acknowledged the support, the venue and quite rightly gave thanks to the tremendous work by sound engineer, Liam and his team.
Afterwards there was lots of time to chat to anyone who wanted to and this is another thing that singles out Dom from many of his contemporaries. His talent is unbounded but combine that with a warmth and incredible humility and you have a truly magical combination.
To quote our great friend Steve Beastie, the host of ‘Beastie’s Blues Club’ radio show ‘mark my words, Dom Martin will be playing the Royal Albert Hall in 10 years time.’ Well Beastie, if there is any justice in the musical world, we won’t have to wait as long as that but apart from the time estimate I am sure you are absolutely right. I am sure that everyone who attended the Irish Centre on the 2nd July 2023 will one day be saying ‘I saw him back in the day at the Irish Centre,’ and my weren’t we privileged.