by / April 8th, 2014 /

State Faces of April: live report

The weather’s getting warmer, the evenings are getting lighter and summer is definitely on the way – seasons change but one constant is our monthly night of new Irish music at the Mercantile in Dublin. As usual we have cast our musical net wide to find the three acts but we’ve also invited two artists from up the road.

Joshua Burnside is the first of our Northern Irish guests and sets a the night’s tone to perfection. Backed by drums and Rachel Boyd’s violin, his acoustic sound has an agreeable edge to it. He has the songs too, especially new single ‘Dessert Wine’. Starting from this simple, stripped down point Burnside suggests a vision that can only develop and expand.

From experimental folk to hip-hop and Lisbane to Dublin. The Animators arrive fresh from their Earl Sweatshirt support slot with confidence high. Like Burnside, they have pared their approach down to the classic MC and turntables and there’s certainly an old school feel to what they do. There’s a nice soul influence in there too, thanks largely to Smokie J’s vocals, and the three man front line means the energy never lets up.

It’s always nice to see bands who are constantly developing but, even so, Affleck take us by surprise. Where not so long ago they were a perky electronic pop act, they arrive from Belfast with a new guitarist who looks like a Hot Sprocket and an altogether louder, more darker modus operandi. There’s an awful lot going on (synths, bass, beats, drums, violin and vocals alongside the guitar) and at some points they could maybe do with the simpler approach of their colleagues tonight but, when it all comes together, they’re very impressive.

The next State Faces of 2014 live gig takes place on May 3rd with Hare Squead, The Ground Will Shake and Sights Distorted.