Autumn Owls – The Button Factory
The nature of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival means that there are always going to be bands who fall victim to an unfortunate scheduling slot. Dublin band Autumn Owls early-evening gig in The Button Factory may have failed to draw in the masses, but that didn’t stop them from putting on a fine show for those who did make it along. The first half of the set is a very sombre affair – all moody and atmospheric, with The Button Factory’s impressive smoke ‘n’ lights set-up working to the band’s full advantage. The opening tracks really highlight Autumn Owls’ musicality – an array of instruments are incorporated into their live performance, with members flitting between guitar, bass, and keys seamlessly. Following an intense performance of ‘Spider’, front man Gary McFarlane declares “less of the cardigan rock now, and more of the rock” – and the band up the ante for the remainder of their set, culminating with the fantastic ‘Love Is Just A Place’. A solid set from Autumn Owls – it’s just a pity there weren’t more people around to see it.
Kill Krinkle Club – Twisted Pepper
Kill Krinkle Club provided the electronica fix for Thursday evening of HWCH in The Twisted Pepper – a jam-packed half hour display from the Dublin-based Swedish/Irish two piece. Working with electronic drums, guitar, and an array of synthesizers the duo give a high energy (albeit somewhat manic) performance. Interesting on-stage moves and attire make the set a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. The very catchy ‘Butterfly’ is an early highlight; and a brand new song, written only a few days beforehand, impresses greatly – with a thumping intro and synths reminiscent of an on-form Goldfrapp, the song is a strong indication that Kill Krinkle Club’s creativity is still in full flow following the recent release of debut album Abandon.
Miracle Bell – The Button Factory
Kildare trio Miracle Bell take to the stage of the Button Factory armed with their own personal brand of electro-pop – and it certainly does not disappoint. The set kicks off with a tribal-like drum intro involving all three members – it’s a high energy affair from the offset. ‘Future Kings’ is a highlight; but penultimate song ‘Love Sounds’ steals the show – the most recent single from the band’s debut album is instantly likeable, an almost made-for-the-airwaves track, which works very well on the live stage. The band’s hardcore followers make their presence felt by dancing along right up front throughout; but to the contingent who have gathered in The Button Factory out of curiosity, the impossibly catchy melodies and tight vocal harmonies combined with the emphatic performance make for a thoroughly enjoyable set.
Heathers @ The Workman’s Club
Ellie and Louise Macnamara have been cast into the mainstream spotlight in recent months thanks to an almost meant-to-be placement of ‘Remember When’ on a Discover Ireland advertising campaign – but if ever a reminder was need that there is SO much more to Heathers than *that* song, it could be found in The Workman’s Club tonight. The tracks of 2008 debut album, Here, Not There, may be well versed on the Irish gigging scene by now – but the raw power of Heathers’ infectious melodies and impeccable harmonies mean the songs have stood the test of time and still hold their own on a live stage. The addition of “our friend Paddy” on cello adds a new dimension to some of the vintage Heathers tracks; and covers of both The Mountain Goats ‘Heretic Pride’ and Beyoncé’s ‘Halo’ add variety to their set list. Two new songs – one ‘Waiting’, the other untitled – garner a positive reception from The Workman’s Club crowd, and further fuel anticipation for Here, Not There’s forthcoming follow-up.
Photos by Sara Devine, James Goulden and Damien McGlynn