Herm @ The Mercantile
All disparate song styles taking in folk, rock and melodic indie-pop, Kevin Connolly’s Herm have been operating under the radar since first emerging in 2004. Last year’s fine debut album Monsters bulged with ideas and tonight they showcase their ability to flirt between styles. An acoustic opener makes way for the catchy indie-pop of recent single ‘Heads’ (think The Walls), ‘Sandcastles’ evokes Bright Eyes while the heavy rock of ‘Snake Oil’, with it’s triple layer of vocals shows comfort in moving out of their comfort zone. Forced to end their set early because of time constraints, they finish on the delicate duet ‘Year Of The Horse’ with the fragile vocals of Bennie Reilly (Little Xs For Eyes) standing in for Nina Hynes.
Yeh Deadlies @ The Grand Social
Led by ex-Chicks star Annie Tierney, Yeh Deadlies’ set proves to be ropey but what they lack in finesse of execution, they make up for in the quality in their song canon. Lemonheads, Daniel Johnston, New York anti-folk, Sesame Street, Teenage Fanclub and The Pixies are just some of the bouncing-off points for their off-beat, chirpy indie-pop. Recent single ‘Magazine’ is a notable highlight as is not the bouncy folk of second song in, which may be titled ‘Why Is Everyone Pickin’ On Me’. This is a band so full of fun and charm, it’s hard not to full in love with them.
Hal @ The Grand Social
Remember Hal? Having released their excellent self-titled debut five years ago, there was a notable air of expectancy in The Grand Social for the Killiney trio’s much awaited return. Having scrapped various sessions, 2011 will finally see the release of their second album, The Time, The Hour and tonight is all about airing those tracks. It’s a disappointment then that they lack the fizz and immediacy of their previous output. The strong harmonies remain but ‘Half A Chance’ and ‘Lonely, Lost’ pale in comparison to oldies aired tonight such as ‘What A Lovely Dance’ and ‘Play The Hits’. It is early days however for these tunes and if hope is to be found in the newbies, then it’s there in abundance in the upbeat ‘Hey There Hannah’, which proves their set highlight.
Enemies @The Grand Social
Opening with a huge wall of noise, Wicklow’s Enemies set their stall out early on with album title track ‘We’ve Been Talking’. Arguably the best of the current crop of instrumental bands threading the Irish circuit, their off-beat loops, distorted melodies, sharp, heavy riffs and clever over-lapping riffs come in sharp shots reeling you in before shifting off. Moving around instruments is all good on the eye for the live fan but Enemies genius lies in their favouring of subtly and mood rather than blowing their sizeable audience by turning it up to 11.
Halves @ The Workman’s Club
The one many have been waiting for. Like Enemies, Halves thrive at creating moods and atmosphere that worm their way into your brain. Within minutes of arriving on stage, the packed Workman’s Club is transformed into a dark and dingy hub ringing at once with the post-rock four piece’s enormous eruptions of sound and at another with the beautiful, dreamy atmospherics of tracks such as current single ‘Darling, You’ll Meet Your Maker’. Fans will know it as being as creepy and hypnotic a track as its title suggests with Tim Czerniak’s high-pitched vocals and the haunting sounds brush stroking evocative images. This is a band that use sound to make cinema, each track imprinting as much on your imagination as your ears. The album, out in two weeks, can’t come soon enough.
Photos by Sara Devine, James Goulden and Damien McGlynn