And the rain came down. It’s a filthy second night for HWCH but the opportunity to shelter and enjoy the music is the beauty of an urban, indoor festival and thus a success is there for the acts’ taking. With so much on offer and everything so time reliant Somerville’s late start in the Button Factory left her room for just a few songs before her curfew. There was healthy conversation about her buzzing about beforehand and though her music takes some time to engage in a large space, she does plough a fresh furrow in a post-midnight, soul-searching soundtrack. She jumps from pin-drop to chopping guitars under a steady pulse, bracketed on stage by an exuberant percussionist to the left and a keyboard and backing vocals to the right. On radio it’s something quite special and with a tighter live show delivery it could be very powerful.
Over in the Twisted Pepper’s dark room Clu are letting the graphic visuals be all of the stage show, the A/V duo perched in the dark at either side of the circular screen. Interesting combining both audio and visuals in a band, the city-at-night electronica is warm and strong.
Back at the Button Factory, I Have A Tribe have come a distance from last year’s HWCH show in the same venue. While lyrically we might struggle a bit with the approach, Patrick O’Laoghaire’s presence on stage can’t be faulted and he did a solid job of putting himself forward as a highly viable artist to the industry. Pronounced and unashamedly emotive behind the guitar or piano, he’s certainly a showman in the best way. The busy fairy-lit barn of the Grand Social suits Maud in Cahoots who’s pulling towards Lykke Li’s black-clad pop territory, and it works to some extent. Wearing their influences all over everything are Elastic Sleep who try so much to channel My Bloody Valentine and to some extent Slowdive that they miss out on delivering anything new to catch the ear. Using MBV’s passion for loundness and unfortunately nothing solid enough to hang your hat on emerges from the drone.
Stage-tight, hook-laden and as much fun as they ever are, it was a sweet break to drop into Meeting House Square for Ham Sandwich. Restricted by decibel levels it was enjoyably comfortable with mental space to chat with people you inevitably bump into and loud enough to be engaged with the band too. They are a well-oiled machine and it’s nice to mix up the new with the established, to bop along to songs you know amongst seeking out the new. To close the evening Ghost Estates make a fine fist of a more straight-up guitar sound in the odd curving mezzanine of Bad Bobs. Confident on stage and very assured it was a solid lid on a busy day, and the huge pleasure of flitting about the city centre drifting with people you meet to gigs you weren’t planning to go to, discovering new music and re-connecting with the industry – HWCH is very much filling it’s remit.
HWCH 2014 photographed for State by Mark McGuinness