How it’s New York: Rocker Damien Dempsey lived in the city years ago, working as a barback at Rocky Sullivan’s, when the bar existed at 29th damiensandand Lex.
How it’s Irish: Dempsey is called “The Irish Lion,” and Glen Hansard has said he’s like Atlas, shouldering the cares of the Irish. He’s an Irish working-class hero.

At the Bowery Ballroom this past Saturday night chants of ‘Damo, Damo’ filled the air and united fans as one in Almighty Love.

Damien Dempsey performed songs from Almighty Love, the album he released last year.
He had been going through a period of depression and questioning his own work, he said.

Dempsey brought fans to their feet with “Sing All Our Cares Away.”

The rousing outro,
‘We grow strong, or we fall’
was chanted like a loving mantra, and set the mood for the rest of the show.

The reggae-inspired “Negative Vibes,” with Dempsey swaying to the music, got everyone in the mood to dance.
His booming and articulate vocals are pitch-perfect throughout. and the backing band more than held their own. The pounding, tribal drums resonate like a call to love and be loved on “Almighty Love.”
The extended traditional Irish music jamming segues into the ever gorgeous “Apple of My Eye,” transporting the audience into a blissful reverie.
As always, “Colony” was another highlight. The extended spoken word outro, warning and admonishing any colonizing army, past or present that
“You will never kill our will to be free,”
inspires fans to sing along throughout the ballroom. Damo doesn’t let up as he implores listeners to “blow the roof off” during “It’s All Good,” and they duly obliged. The chant of
“Love Yourself, Today”
rang out as Dempsey and the band leave the stage and the crowd wanting more.


Damien’s tour continues in the U.S. through 9/14: he’s in Philadelphia tonight, D.C. tomorrow, and the Michigan Irish Festival on the 13th and 14th.  After that: the U.K. and Australia. Come back soon, Damo!

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