The spectacular surrounds of Iveagh Gardens played host to the homecoming of Dublin’s own Little Green Cars. A clement midsummer’s Saturday evening grew into a mild night, which ensured that the crowd remained in high spirits throughout – with clusters of spectators opting to sprawl out on the grass to take in the pleasant vibes from a low vantage point. The gardens, with their distinctive charm, proved to be more than a fitting setting for LGC’s and the ever passionate Damien Dempsey’s return, who along with Sam Messayeh filled the undercard.
19-year old prospect Sam Messayeh got proceedings underway, holding the onlookers’ attention for the best part. His setlist was laden with delicate guitar riffs, accompanied by befitting harmonies. This endearing young singer-songwriter could develop into an adept musician over the coming years.
Damien Dempsey sparked the crowd into life with a host of energetic songs, alluring viewers to rise to their feet and edge closer to the stage. Old and tested material such as ‘It’s All Good’ and ‘Negative Vibes’ from Seize The Day, and ‘Bustin Outta Here’ from Almighty Love were some of his most memorable performances of the evening. The introspective Dubliner communicated his delight at being alive on a balmy July evening on a few occasions, a sentiment which the crowd shared. Dempsey’s set was engaging and he still has that knack for making his audiences feel involved.
Fresh off the back of their second album release Ephemera – named after a poem by Irish Nobel Laureate W.B Yeats, Little Green Cars were welcomed on stage with rapturous applause. A blown up version of their arty album cover print provided the perfect backdrop as the five-piece kicked things off with ‘Red’ – a slow and melodic acoustic song, which flows effortlessly, while Appleby’s lyrics convey anguish and heartache. The resounding beat and pumping guitar riffs during ‘Harper Lee’ elevated the noise levels around the gardens, the crowd now in fine fettle, clapping along with gusto. Other stand out songs from the night included fan favourites such as ‘The John Wayne’ and ‘My Love Took Me Down To The River To Silence Me’.
Faye O’Rourke’s powerful and at times haunting vocals were a feature of the night. The powerhouse was ever-present on ‘Easier Day’ – the most striking song from the new album. Tracks like this and ‘The Song They Play Every Night’ have a more mature and accomplished feel to them, highlighting the progression of the band over the past couple of years.
If this performance, coupled with the plentiful magic moments from their latest full-length are indicators of what to expect in the future, then they certainly will not be remembered as ephemeral musicians, but rather celebrated for decades to come.
Little Green Cars photographed for State by Leah Carroll.