Early doors on day two of HWCH and our Face of 2015 cover star ProFound is in the Academy Green Room picking up where Hare Squead left off last night. He may not have the same space to work with, nor an equal amount of people, but he’s certainly as good – if not a touch better thanks to a far more concentrated approach. Backed (as the majority of hip-hop acts this weekend) by a superb band, ProFound is another star in the making and is certainly capable of whipping up a storm at what could have been a soulless start to the evening. As does DVO Marvell, who treads a slightly harder hitting and more US focused path, but still helps deliver a fine double whammy to get us underway.
Over at Hanger, New Valley Wolves are performing a similar task heading the loudest bill of the weekend, but the Academy main room is struggling to come to life – despite the fine selection of acts put together by Feel Good Lost. The one man and his laptop approach of Kobina certainly isn’t going to feel the space, yet neither does the solo performance of Lilla Vargen. Joni would seem a safer bet, given the quality of her tunes, but a shaky start that sees a laptop hitting the stage floor sets the tone for the next half an hour and, for the third time, we have to surmise that this talented musician just isn’t there as a live performer yet.
At the Workman’s Club, Dublin trio Atlas Moon are the perfect distillation of their influences. Broody, deeply resonant vocals you might associate with The National, razor-sharp guitar lines you might hear from Talking Heads and plenty of Smiths-esque lyrical depth. Making their HWCH debut we should be seeing and hearing plenty more from these lads over the coming months. They may or may not benefit from replacing programmed beats with a live drummer but we’re splitting hairs, a great set from a very welcome and promising new addition to the scene. As is Callum Orr, who delivers a mesmerising performance which takes all the best parts imaginable from the world of trad, folk and storytelling.
Despite their short time in the spotlight, it already feels as if Bitch Falcon are ready to leave events such as this behind. The progress they’ve made since the release of ‘Wolfstooth’ in January is fairly staggering and tonight they storm Hanger and look every inch a band set to take it to the world. Heroes In Hiding aren’t quite there yet but we suspect that success isn’t that far around the corner, so accomplished are they – even crammed into the corner of Bad Bobs. Róisín O also makes the best of the situation with a performance that underpins her polished sound with a nice amount of grit and emotion.
A couple of years ago we caught I Have A Tribe but found it hard to warm to, sitting on the wrong side of the line marked affected. Passing the Workman’s we decide to give Patrick O’Laoghaire another go and we’re glad we did. Everything sits together a lot better now and the emotion that trembled across the line feels more natural and less forced. A pleasant surprise to end a night that gave a sense of what lies ahead – both in the short and longer term.
Reporting: Steven Dunne & Phil Udell. Róisín O photographed for State by Kieran Frost.