"For some reason or another, this is the best the band has ever been. I really can't put my finger on it." The Saw Doctors' Davy Carton sounds dumbfounded as he says these words atop a jetty, the waves slithering in the background behind him on the band's excellent new DVD documentary "Clare Island to Cape Cod: The Saw Doctors in Concert." Anyone who doesn't believe him merely has to pop in the DVD or the companion CD, "Live at the Melody Tent," and they will be treated to hours of proof that Tuam's favorite sons are at the top of their game. The DVD documentary, filmed by Steven Lock, is a visual delight that captures the band in one of the most unique venues on the East coast. Filmed at the Melody Tent, a theater in the round on Cape Cod, the band surrounds themselves in the middle of a ring of a circus brimming with Irish pride. As one of their roadies succinctly puts it, "The band has a way of making people crack up laughing one moment and then crying the next. It's not often that you find a band can connect with an audience quite the way they do." There is some heartwarming footage of Leo Doran that captures the essence of the band's unpretentious charm. He's slumped against the doorway of a Tuam pub, overcome with emotion. "It's October in Tuam and our single of the cover of 'About You Now' is number one here in Ireland," he muses quietly. "It's the first time we did that since 'Hay Wrap' back in 1991. There are many bands out there in Ireland and overseas vying for that spot, but this week it's ours." He retreats into the bar, where a pint of Guinness garnished with a lit sparkler awaits him. The CD and DVD are packed with the songs of everyday Irish life. "Out for a Smoke," a song from their last proper album, is a rallying cry against the smoking ban in Ireland, while "Chips" is a soulful ditty about going to the chip shop after the dance. "Some people warned us that there would be no place for a song like 'N17' outside of Galway," recalls Moran in the documentary. "But that's like saying no one will like Bruce Springsteen songs because you're not from the Jersey Shore. Songs are artistic statements about how you feel, and if it connects with people, then you will always find an audience." For fans of the band, the DVD is a treasure trove of rare backstage glimpses of the band on the road. Moran snakes through the tour bus, showing the cameramen their bunks and living quarters while on the road. "We have been here to the States 65 times," reckons Doran. "We usually come for two weeks a year, so I think we've probably been here for three and a half years since we started. We usually end the gig, hang out afterwards until around two, then hop in the bus for a few drinks and off to bed. I like walking around in a new city when we wake up." There's a faint hint of diesel fumes in the air, which must mean that the lads are warming up the bus for their annual summer trek to the States. The Saw Doctors will play the Nokia Theater in Times Square on March 13 and 14 and Boston's Showcase Live on St. Patrick's Day before winding down their brief tour at Philadelphia's TLA. For more information on the tour, CD, and DVD, log onto sawdoctors.com.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore