In a year that has seen State expand our live shows to take in the Electric Picnic and Oxjam events, it was fitting that we returned home to the Mercantile for our last event of 2014. It was a night that brought together some familiar names with a couple of new ones, all giving their time to help raise funds for the Marriage Equality campaign.
Treating us to a special solo slot, slow skies‘ Karen Sheridan eased us into the night with an exquisite set that highlighted both the strength of her unique voice and her songwriting. When a striking, stark version of Future Islands’ ‘Seasons’ doesn’t sound out of place, you know you’re onto a good thing. In contrast, Lyttet are a band at the start of something but have clearly got off to a winning start. Beautifully evocative electronica led by two vocalists, they fill the venue with sound – drawing you in where others merely bash you round the head.
There are more new sounds to be found thanks to Aoife Underwater. A world away from the grunge sound of before, her latest incarnation is all about the pop and it works very well. While clearly immersed in the studio / production end of things she’s also assembled an impressive live band and, altough there’s still some work to do, she’s very much on the right path. Planet Parade are a wonderfully warm experience. Expanding their duo core to a five piece live band, they deal in white boy / girl funk reminiscent of Talk Talk or even Orange Juice and have enough tunes in their bag to suggest that 2015 may well be quite the year for them.
Which just leaves Nanu Nanu to wrap up both ours and their year in scintillating fashion. Turning the Mercantile into a pulsating, laser driven rave, they once again prove that they’re pretty much unique and their cover of Frankie’s ‘Relax’ fits the bill perfectly, a strident celebration of music and culture. As has been the night and the year that preceded it.
See you on January 16th for our Faces of 2015 launch.
State Midnight Mass photographed by Kieran Frost