Myself and Mr. Waffle went to see the Saw Doctors on Saturday night. As we were going into the Olympia, two young men about town were passing. We were happened to overhear a snatch of their dialogue. “What’s on?” “The Saw Doctors.” “Ah, that old shite.”
The Saw Doctors have been around for about 20 years. They have a particularly Irish flavour to their music and very funny lyrics. Mr. Waffle maintains that the further you are from rural Ireland the more you will like the Saw Doctors. He is a bigger fan than I am but his friend from Fermoy (not a fan) is married to a Londoner who is wildly enthusiastic.
They attract a bizarre demographic. Sitting in front of me was a bald man of about 70 wearing a suit and tie and a fáinne. Beside me was an older gentleman wearing a baby blue v-necked golf jumper. He was accompanied by a young man of 17 or 18. They both knew all the words of all the songs. The concert also boasted a couple of children and loads of 20 somethings.
The Saw Doctors themselves are not as young as they once were. When they sang about leaving “the Christian Brothers’ school“, I couldn’t help thinking that it’s been a very long time since they left the Christian Brothers’ care. That song, about emigration, is topical again for the first time in 20 years so maybe the Saw Doctors are due a serious revival. Again, when they sang “Red Cortina” (remember the Cortina?) and mentioned “Christmas party 77”, it was clear that a large part of the audience wasn’t even born in 77 let alone meeting a first love (though a significant minority would have been 20 years married in 77). I’ve been humming it all week. What’s great about the Saw Doctors is that they sing about a very specific Irish context. Their songs really couldn’t have been written anywhere else – I mean, take for example the one about baling hay.
Apparently they’ll be back in Dublin in February, there’s something to look forward to.