Now into it’s seventh year, Hard Working Class Heroes has trimmed the frills of the planned ‘Invasions’ that HWCH had been known to stage each autumn, organisers choose to keep this years event an Irish affair once again. One hundred of the finest acts from all over the country were selected, from the ‘little knowns’ to the ‘slow-day-if-you-don’t-hear-about-‘em’s, for music lovers to feast their ears on over three days. With new sponsors Bulmers Berry on board and a fresh emphasis on the industry side and nurturing of Irish talent, this year’s HWCH was a whole new breed of beast.
New Amusement @ The Grand Social
Britpop-tinged vocals and clean indie guitars were earnestly brought to the forefront as New Amusement skipped through their set with an infectious giddiness at The Grand Social. Showcasing material from new album My Captain, they set the tone for the evening as the first act to take to the venue’s stage. Under the marquee style light strewn ceiling the most reluctant feet were nudged to shuffle by insistent guitar merry ‘Fiction’ and the soft harmonies, steady vocal stream and punchy pop Zissou-style keys of ‘Gone to Sea’ were pure indie pop joy. The album My Captain is launched in Whelans on the 16th of October.
The Dead Flags @ The Twisted Pepper
Down two thirds of his band, due to unforeseeable circumstances, Dead Flags frontman Billy Fitzgerald soldiered on solo in a tour de force at The Twisted Pepper. Delivering floor thumping rock and blistering rockabilly, ‘Woman!’, from debut album Gentlemen’s Club, with just acoustic guitar and powerful vocal capabilities (a mic wasn’t all that necessary), Fitzgerald remained upbeat and brimming with energy interspersing songs with some witty banter. Hats off to a truly hard working class hero! The full band plays Whelans on the 15th of October.
Goatboy @ The Mercantile
Not even the faintest sniff of indie pretention was detectable throughout Goatboy’s stint on the Mercantile’s stage as they served up a blend of lilting vocal harmonies and pleasantly jangly guitar driven ditties. With heartfeltness and tight instrumental execution, the band comfortably shifted from electric to acoustic; conveying a sense of depth and no nonsense melodies that received tacit approval from their audience. At times they ran the risk of sounding a little balladish to some ears, most notably on ‘Girl in Dream’ and ‘Winter Tears’, but the sentiment of the songs retained their simple charm.
Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters @ The Workman’s Club
True hidden gems of Thursday night’s line up, Limerick three piece Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters enticed a large enough slew of spectators to their slot at The Workman’s Club. Hints of Queens of the Stone Age and bluesy punk ran riotously through some material, ‘That Old Chestnut’, but the cool and somewhat glazed detachment of the vocals coupled with unrelentingly tight drums, bass and guitar, put their honed and seductively gloomy sound in a league of it’s own, ‘Homeward Bound and Gagged’. Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters are due to return to Dublin on 15th of October to play Fibber Magees, catch them there for a live show that will both mystify and satisfy any blues grunge cravings.
Sleep Thieves @ The Workman’s Club
Sleep Thieves offered a much needed wake up call to the evening’s proceedings, like a shot of concentrated caffeine straight to the brain. The precision splattering of synths, guitar from Wayne and Derek and sweet as honey vocals from Sorcha were given an unexpected but most welcomed heavier treatment, providing an edgier sound while retaining the band’s established electro-rock sensibility throughout their six song set. ‘Hope is Dead’, ‘Impersonator’ and ‘You, Me and Everyone’ commanded the venue’s attention. Proof, if needed, of a band that just keeps getting better with every subtle evolution . Expect minds to be blown by a forthcoming album.
Photos by Damien McGlynn.