Today sees the first night of Hard Working Class Heroes, the annual showcase of Irish musical talent. This year will see a few changes (notably some new venues) but at heart it remains your only opportunity to see the best bands and artists in the country in one hit. We’ll bring you our round-up next week but in the meantime here’s our pick of your five a day…
Affleck – Twisted Pepper, Thursday 10pm
It was exactly a year ago that State had our HWCH experience of weekend thanks to Eatenbybears. The Belfast band were barely to make it into the New Year but now three quarters of them are back in a new guise. We can only hope that they’ll have the same effect in 2013.
Dott – Workman’s Club, Saturday 8.40pm
Pop music with a kick has always been the order of the Dott day and now it seems that those further afield are catching on – forthcoming debut album Swoon is due on US label Graveface.
Floor Staff – Bad Bobs, Saturday 8pm
One of the newer names on this year’s bill, Dublin duo Floor Staff only released their debut EP of indie flavoured electronic music in July but already look like being one of the bands not to miss on day three.
Hozier – Button Factory, Thursday 10pm
Given the love for his State premiered ‘Take Me To Church’ recently, Andrew Hozier looks like being one of the draws of the weekend. After just one EP there’s already hints of something special here so make sure you get in early.
Jethro Pickett – The New Theatre, Thursday 8pm
As saturated as the Irish music scene became with singer songwriters, it does feel as if there is a new generation of solo artists bringing a new twist to the format. Pickett may be a blow in from Australia but his soulful take on country music fits right in here.
little xs for eyes – Mercantile, Saturday 10pm
Currently gearing up for their second album, little xs for eyes (pictured) still feel like elder statespersons on the Dublin circuit. That experience is part of what makes them so endearing, a band who are happy to take their time becoming very special.
Maria Somerville – The New Theatre, Friday 8.50pm
Coming out of the west (the village of Cornamona) so far all we’ve heard from Sommerville is a couple of demos but they suggest that her take on quiet electronic Irish soul could be something to watch out for in 2014.
Moscow Metro – Bad Bobs, Friday 10.40pm
Quoting Albert Camus as an influence either marks a band down as fearless or, well, idiots. We like to think that this Limerick four piece are the former.
Princess – Workman’s Club, Thursday 10pm
For a hint of what Dubliners Princess are about just look at the kind of bands that they hang out with – The Notas, Meltybrains?, Girl Band. In fact they sound like a mixture of all three, noise to the fore but with plenty going on underneath.
September Girls – Workman’s Club, Friday 11.20pm
Giving themselves a re-brand has done wonders for September Girls. Far more focused that their Talulah Does The Hula incarnation, the new approach is already working wonders. Expect a visual change from the jeans and t-shirt brigade too.
Ships – Button Factory, Saturday 9.20pm
State saw a lot of bands of the summer but none caught us on the hop more than Ships at Castlepalooza. Turning from an electronic pop band into an electronic pop band with serious amounts of funk, they were a revelation and we have no reason to suspect they won’t just get better and better.
The Clameens – Workman’s Club, Thursday 11.20pm
Pete Doherty loves them but don’t let that put you off. The Clameens are another bunch of Irish youngsters – this time from Derry – who blast breath of fresh air into the guitar band format.
The Young Folk – Meeting House Square, Friday Midnight
We’re proud to say that Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where you’d find a band like The Young Folk on a bill like this. It helps that the quartet are a cut above your average trad band of course, as their excellent debut album proves. Expect MHS to be getting down come midnight.
Unknown – Twisted Pepper, Saturday 7.20pm
The mysterious Northerner heads south. The Twisted Pepper is set to get very loud, very dark and very heavy.
Windings – Mercantile, Friday 10.30pm
Windings are a band who like to expand so the thought of them squeezed onto the Mercantile stage and into half an hour is quite a prospect. The results might just be unforgettable.