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Gig review: Josh Ritter at Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots

May 1, 2010 Comments: 0
Josh Ritter

It’s a testament to the extent of Josh Ritter’s following in Ireland that he manages to headline a four-day festival despite being the first act on stage on the first evening of the event.
Ritter’s sell-out show certainly gave the 2010 Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots festival a kick start. The Idaho native, who found success while living in Ireland and chose to return to the country to launch his latest album, is bursting with energy, literally jumping up and down on the stage as he launched into a two-hour set to an audience of loyal fans and dripping sweat by the end of the night.
Ritter is a natural headliner, playing a set that roams from pounding rock to the totally unplugged performed to a silent room. Whether with his band or alone on stage he can hold the audience, and he does it all with such an infectious enthusiasm that you have to admire his clean-cut charm and forgive him his perfect teeth.
One note of caution for the uninitiated thinking of going along just to see what all the fuss is about – Ritter’s shows, at least in Ireland, assume a large level of familiarity with his material. There is little banter between the songs and no leeway is given for those who don’t know all the lyrics in advance.
Still, given the enthusiasm of the audience, and the number of women struggling to the front to get themselves photographed with him, that’s not such an unreasonable assumption by Ritter. In Ireland he’s a star, and good luck to him.
Naomi Koppel
Josh Ritter plays Cork tonight (May 1) before crossing to London for a solo acoustic show on May 4. Click here for details.
Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots on Backroads.

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