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Saw Doctors Rock Sacramento

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Rock ’n’ roll lives and breathes! The Saw Doctors exhilarated Thursday night’s crowd at Ace of Spades with their nearly nonstop flow of rollicking rock. A true love fest between the band and the audience made for a special night.

The Irish musicians made their first-ever stop in Sacramento on their 25-city tour. Although the crowd was small, the fans were fervent followers and sang along with every song. At times, the band turned the vocals over to the audience in mutual admiration.

The Saw Doctors have been engaging audiences since their 1986 start. Their single “I Useta Lover” (as in, I Used to Love Her) topped the Irish charts in 1990 and has the distinction of being the bestselling single in Irish history.

Original members Davy Carton and Leo Moran are gifted songwriters as well as winning performers. Carton’s contagious smile, wiggling hips and charisma delighted the audience while Moran’s splendid guitar work and relaxed banter sealed the bond with the audience.

Newest member Rickie O’Neill’s fiery hot inspired drumming ignited performers and fans alike.

The band sustained the momentum, playing many of their hits as well as songs from their newly released CD, “The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors..

Their most recent hit, Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” had the crowd punctuating each “Downtown” with waving hands.

“That’s the best song we’ve played yet!” Moran said, seeing their response.

Other huge crowd-pleasers included hits “N17” and “Clare Island.” “To Win Just Once,” an anthem for those whose lives feel small, made for the most poignant emotional connection of the night.

Opening act The Nickel Slots was very impressive with their upbeat American/country rock. The four-piece local band won a 2011 Sammie award in their music genre.

The Saw Doctors ended the energetic two-hour show with their custom of embedding famous song snippets into their own songs, a tradition that was the impetus for recording “Downtown.” As the band waved goodnight to the crowd, Carton shouted, “Fantastic night!” Indeed, it was.

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