Drea goes out on his own

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

DAMIEN Drea, frontman with the now defunct Limerick rock band Vesta Varro, takes a step into the spotlight again this week by previewing tracks from his forthcoming solo album at an intimate show at Upstairs in Dolan’s on Thursday.

DAMIEN Drea, frontman with the now defunct Limerick rock band Vesta Varro, takes a step into the spotlight again this week by previewing tracks from his forthcoming solo album at an intimate show at Upstairs in Dolan’s on Thursday.

The Galbally musician - more familiar in recent times for his turn with Brendan Markham’s band - is something of a stalwart on the local scene, a multi-instrumentalist who brought some weight to Markham’s own solo turn last year.

Now working under the singular title of ‘Drea’, the enigmatic frontman with Vesta Varro, who sadly went their separate ways recently even after the very fine 2007 album ‘Exit Here’ saw them marked out by NME as “ones to watch”, has just finished recording his eagerly-awaited debut with Giuliano Baglioni, who has worked on many projects over the years with legendary U2 producer Daniel Lanois.

Due for release some time next year, Drea has taken a brave step with his solo material, largely leaving behind the bombast of the former rock outfit, and following an adventurous path with his new offering.

“There’s some dance elements and it’s more instrumental based in places,” Drea told City Life this week.

“There are some parts which don’t have the typical song structures that I have been used to in the past. There are also a lot of percussive elements, but it’s still very much a band sound,” he revealed.

The prospective release is an exciting one, given Drea’s prominent status with the popular rock band, who toured extensively around Ireland and North America and won ‘best band’ at the prestigious ‘Indie Week’ festival in Toronto, and whose songs fizzed with melody, despite their rock leanings. The collaboration with producer Baglioni is particularly interesting.

Drea will be performing an “intimate stripped down set of songs” from the new album live in Dolan’s this week, where he will be joined by County Limerick band Birdthistle, Brendan Markham and Lying Soho Club.

Birdthistle are also an exciting prospect on the burgeoning live music scene, who have recorded an album with Headgear’s Daragh Dukes and made it to the last 24 bands in the country in the ‘Guinness Our Thursdays’ regional final after just their second gig. Evoking Mumford and Sons with their laid-back, folky style, these guys are ones to watch.

See ‘Drea’ in Dolan’s this Thursday at 8pm.