State is stood at the back of a busy venue, finding it hard to contain our joy at what has transpired over a memorable evening. Our return to live action at our home from home The Mercantile has not just launched our Faces of 2014 digital magazine and mixtape, not just started a series of monthly gigs at the venue (details of February’s show to come on Monday) but also brought together four very different Irish acts on one bill with spectacular results.
We kicked off with Maria Somerville. In the three months since we first made her live acquaintance at HWCH the singer has come in leaps and bounds. Now fronting a trio, the addition of drums and visuals has enhanced her performance style. It’s still that voice which hooks you in though, rich in emotion and experience beyond her years. FloorStaff arrive on the back of one of 2013’s great tunes and go onto prove that there’s plenty more where ‘The Guest’ came from. More beefed up live than on record, there are still plenty of subtleties going on and when they have as good a song in their bag this early on, how can they go wrong?
Simi Crowns arrives on stage with all the confidence of a title fighter and proceeds to knock The Mercantile for six. As is the the night’s theme, he’s expanded his sound by adding bass and drums to his superb DJ yet there’s no doubting who’s the star of the show. Drawing influence more from the old school performers of his native Nigeria rather than the lazy new hip-hop school, he’s nothing short of astounding. Duetting with himself on ‘Reassured’, addressing the crowd while standing on a chair and giving out life lessons in the interim, this feels like the start of something very big indeed. Moscow Metro are also a band clearly on the rise, exuding a similar confidence and treating the intimate room like an arena. Like all before them, they have the tunes to back up the swagger and sit perfectly at the top of this eclectic line-up. Suffice to say that, when January 2015 rolls around, all four of our Faces will be well on their way.