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On Sunday night, Mad Dog Mcrea didn’t just pass by York to play in the Duchess but invaded it with all their Irish passion and wit. Having previously never heard of the group and reliant on a basic, YouTube knowledge of their work, it is safe to say I had a massive shock.

This band is full of life and soul. Despite playing for a relatively small crowd, they had everyone dancing and singing along. The music was contagious and seemed to turn each individual in the crowd into new, avid fans. I was even dancing. The man behind this force, lead singer Michael Mathieson, brought the group together with seasoned professionalism. Of course this may come from playing together for over 15 years, but it was the way they managed to have plain old raw fun at the same time that made the whole performance so entertaining.

Musically, Mad Dog Mcrea seamlessly blends a unique combination of folk-rock, pop, gypsy-jazz, bluegrass and as they call it “shake your ass music”. Their song range from Peter pan style adventure stories, to tales about pub drinking extravaganzas; songs of ‘love and life to traditional songs of gypsies, fairies, legless pirates and black flies’. They even performed fun covers such as The Jungle Book’s famous ‘Bare Necessities’. The high-energy atmosphere never altered, assuring that this mix of sounds can work if put to the test.

If you are worried about a lack of a legitimate track record, there is no need. Mad Dog already have three albums under their belt, the latest being 2011’s The Whirling Dervish which won them Best Album of the Year in the South West Music Awards. If you want to experience the captivating presence they emit, the band is currently finishing off their Happy Bus Tour, and throughout March and April the band are heading out on their Whirling Dervish 2012 tour.

With their contagious good-time vibe, it’s almost a necessity to see this band live. Lifting me from the gloom of the wintery weather that’s upon us, I had a peculiarly good time.

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