It’s getting so you know Choice Music Prize season is upon us. Beards are stroked down to a thin stubble as the very nature of awards ceremonies is pondered aloud. You may spot some of the nominated artists on your travels around our capital looking tidy and pleased with themselves. If all this wasn’t unsettling enough, ten of the best Irish LP’s of the preceding 12 months are being valued in terms of bookies odds.
Nine of these ten hopefuls running in the 19.30 at Vicar St are here tonight to be inspected and heard in the parade ring. This live element is a curious devise of the music awards ceremony, one that sees some of our horses struggle to break into a canter over their allotted two-song set.
First out of the starting stalls are Halves, this year’s token sonic-adventurer selection. They make some lovely sounds, and were it a prize for Best Soundtrack, you could imagine them and their as-yet unconceived film winning. James Vincent McMorrow manages to silence the room with his impressively delicate but sometimes cloying Americana. Vicar St doesn’t agree and rewards his soulful disposition with a particularly hearty cheer.
Just after, I spot State ne’er-do-wells Niall Byrne and Alan Reilly beckoning me. They insist that I hear their predictions, and, relieved neither have asked me for a few hundred words on something or other by Monday morning, I take notes. Reilly, possibly speaking in tongues, mumbles the words ‘two’, ‘cinema’ and ‘door’ at one stage before going back to his iPhone to watch over Planet State. Creepy.
Before there’s time to discuss with the lads why Fight Like Apes had sounded like a pet shop on fire, Cathy Davey’s being introduced on stage. Everyone likes Davey, you feel. Everyone really likes Davey when she invites Conor O’Brien on to play guitar on ‘Army of Tears’.
Morrissey’s just walked past and someone called Angela is telling me all about their scarf, so Two Door Cinema Club’s acoustic set isn’t given the full working capacity of my concentration. I do register however that ‘Something Good Can Work’, eh, works better than ‘I Can Talk’ and surmise that the band were being genuine when they gushed how great it was to be here. Villagers were one of the last acts to play, a fortunate billing decision for tonight’s other contenders. Naturally, they showed why they were favourites to come in a few lengths ahead of the others.
Elsewhere, it had been messy. O Emperor got a bit carried away and Cast of Cheers were more intent on dancing about while gadgetry looped their guitar licks. MC Alison Curtis, bizarrely, couldn’t pronounce Adebisi Shank, who were also too blustery and contrived.
The usual mix of gasps and hoorays greeted the announcement that Two Door Cinema Club had passed the post. As a band becoming accustomed to champagne and paycheques, they received a room-full of respect and a standing ovation for donating the €10,000 to charity. What sort of precedent this now sets for successive winners, many of whom are bound to be in need of the cash, remains to be seen. For now, let’s just get to the bar and try to find Morrissey.
Photos by Sean Conroy.
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