Last month I decamped to Derry to check out the filming of RTE’s music programme Other Voices. As well as some ace gigs to watch, I was put up in the Erin Suite (later renamed “the Edwin Suite”) which featured multiple tellys, my own living room complete with dining table/three piece suite and a class view. Check it out. Nice eh?
Anywho, here’s a reprint of the review that ran in Hot Press. Looking forward to getting back to Derry again at some stage this year.
THE GLASSWORKS, DERRY
Unless you’re currently residing in a galaxy far, far away, you’ll no doubt be aware that Derry has been declared the UK City Of Culture for 2013. With a veritable shed-load of events planned to celebrate the title, the Maiden City looks set to become a Mecca for music fans across the island and this weekend RTE’s Other Voices joins in the fun with a visit to the Glassworks. Taking a brief break away from its usual home in Dingle, the programme makers have assembled a stunning array of acts to perform on the intimate stage (which is bedecked with huge, lyric-branded plastic hearts) and Saturday’s night’s line-up is arguably the best of the lot, which is handy since Hot Press has just arrived to get an eyeful.
On first are Dublin quintet Little Green Cars who play a clutch of songs which all sound like future world-beaters. Just over a year since they first performed on Other Voices (an appearance which they described as “the highlight of their lives”) the band have grown in confidence and talent and their brand of emotive, folksy tuneage could put goose-bumps on-top of your goose-bumps. ‘The John Wayne’ in particular is a beautifully ragged tear-stained threnody and judging by the rapturous reaction tonight it looks like they’re set to join Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters And Men in the charts and hearts of the globe.
Next up is local lass made good Bronagh Gallagher who performs a batch of soul-infused songs backed by an ear-gasm inducing brass section and full band. Paying tribute to the likes of Al Green and Percy Sledge while putting her own stamp on things, the loved-up set takes us back in time to a bygone era and sees the be-fringed performer happily playing the role of torch singer and there’s a real warmth to the likes of ‘Not A Star.’
California-born but Manchester-based chanteuse Jesca Hoop is a different prospect altogether. Clutching her white guitar and sporting decidedly mad granny-esque hair, it seems like it’s not just her music that’s a square peg in a round hole, but that’s ok because we like “different” and the change of pace from nu-soul to unassuming Bjork and Kate Bush-inspired oddities is a welcome one. ‘Born To’ is a bona fide outsider pop classic that’s full of hooks that ache and it’s a real highlight in her short but sweet set.
Welsh warbler Marina And The Diamonds closes tonight’s broadcast in style with a stripped back collection of songs culled from both of her albums. Back to black (hair, that is), the singer tells us she’s a little nervous as she’s spent the last month or so doing nothing but “watching Jeremy Kyle” but you’d never know it as she prowls cat-like around the stage belting out ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ and ‘Hollywood’ like she’s the long-lost daughter of Brian Ferry and the low-key setting really highlights just how good her voice is.
After the broadcast, we spill out into the night to check out the Other Voices Music Trail and honourable mentions go to Wyldling, whose set at the Icon re-affirms that they’ve one of the best front-women in the country and Triggerman, whose blues-imbued, riff-laden rock lays waste-almost literally-to the heaving Mason’s bar and as first date’s go, Other Voices’ weekend in Derry is up there with the best of them.