Blasterbra @ The Mercantile
Like the name might suggest, this riot-grrl led outfit arrive at The Mercantile with plans for a full-on aural assault afoot but leave making little impression but noise. Hailing from Galway, frenzied frontwoman Anna Mc prowls around The Mercantile stage with a bone to pick as her three male cohorts lay down some fairly uninspired heavy rock behind her. However, aside from the menace of her marches around the stage and some angry vocals over crunching punk guitars, there’s nothing here to get overly excited about.
The Holy Roman Army @ Twisted Pepper
Having, by their own admission, made a hash of last year’s HWCH set, this brother and sister duo of Chris and Laura Coffey arrive on stage feeling that they’ve something to prove. Having excited audiences with last year’s fine (if somewhat dark) debut How The Light Gets In, tonight they reveal an expanded set up to compliment the blips and bleeps of their atmospheric electronica. Former Borndays drummer Dennis Cassidy joins the duo, as does a trumpet player for a set that includes a warped cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ as well as the unveiling of a more energetic batch of new tracks, such as ‘Lady Of Electricity’ while some fine visuals show a sense of humour some might have missed on their debut.
Eleventyfour @ The Grand Social
It would be a hard heart that couldn’t be charmed by this solo female’s acoustic vignettes that are as comedic as they are brimming with melody. Songs like ‘Forklife’, about nicking a forklift, stem from the same family as Christy Moore’s ‘Don’t Forget Your Shovel’, albeit with a Kimya Dawson slant. Yes there’s a huge novelty aspect to tunes such as the cutesy ‘Small Wonders’, but it’s easy to be taken in by Eleventy’s short, snappy, primary school teacher pop songs straight from her kooky personality.
Jennifer Evans and The Ripe Intent @ The Workman’s Club
The find of the festival for this reviewer, Evans set at The Workman’s Club was at times majestic and always soulful. Her minimal sound is routed in folk, jazz and blues (without ever overtly placing its foot in either of those genres) and comes wrapped in her striking high-pitched vocal that brings to mind St. Vincent or even Tim Buckley. At The Workman’s Club she had all in the palm of her hand while a sublime duet with Dubliner Caoimhe Hogarty on a particularly folky number proved a post-festival talking point. With two EPs now under her belt, she might expect a boost in ticket sales for her next live outing.
Le Galaxie @ The Button Factory
If Evans was all about soulful subtlety, than Le Galaxie explode from the other end of the spectrum at The Button Factory. Huge, crazy, pumping live electro with pulsating guitars make for a set that lifts HWCH out off the showcase arena and into a proper festival set. Everything from techno to rock to simmering synths fizzes out in tunes like ‘You Feel The Fire’, while the Dublin four-pieces energy breaks-out off the stage at one point and into an audience who are just as excitable. One of the standout acts of HWCH.
Photos: James Goulden, Sara Devine and Damien McGlynn.