Review: The Saw Doctors at Cambridge Junction

The Saw Doctors will appear at the Cambridge Junction

The Saw Doctors will appear at the Cambridge Junction - Credit: Archant

Having postponed their gig at the Junction in December last year due to the lead singer Davy Carton undergoing a minor throat operation, there was great anticipation for the return of The Saw Doctors to Cambridge on April 24.

Favourites at The Cambridge Folk Festival, the Irish rock band who were founded in Tuam, County Galway in 1986, are known for their heart-felt anthems charged with catchy guitar riffs and lyrics that give hope in the most dire of situations, from broken hearts to rainy holidays.

Lead singer Carton and lead guitarist Leo Moran, both original members of the group, jointly fronted the band. Since this reviewer first saw them as a child back in 1993, they had both gained a serenity and a few grey hairs that must come with 30 years on the road, but entertained the crowd with the same love of performing and having a good time as always. This made them all the more adored by the eclectic array of gig-goers, in many cases different generations of the same families.

They delighted the audience with their beloved upbeat sing-along hits including, I Useta Love Her (a number one single in Ireland for nine weeks in 1990), Tommy K (a song about a heroic DJ in their home town) to which Carton demonstrated choreography for the crowd to copy, and the cherished N17 a tune about the road in the West of Ireland, with its memorable swinging intro.

The set moved into a more soulful zone as multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thistlethwaite, (founding member of the Irish group, The Waterboys, and long-standing member of The Saw Doctors) played a sultry and mellow solo on the saxophone on the yearning classic Share The Darkness.


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The Junction was not left disappointed as the band returned to the stage for an encore of four tracks, including the ska-beat anthem, lamenting of soggy holidays in Ireland, Will It Ever Stop Raining. There was no doubt these Celtic masters of rock had brightened up a Monday night in Cambridge.

Elizabeth Donnelly

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