We’ve missed our monthly Friday nights at the Mercantile so it was a great pleasure to return to action on Friday night and in the name of a good cause to boot. Our guests were the Young Hearts Run Free, the collective who work tirelessly on raising funds for the Dublin Simon Community. They brought with them, not only a fine array of cakes, but some tasty musical treats too. Hello Moon have already caught our attention with their debut album Only Count The Sunny Hours but they’re an even better proposition live. The all encompassing love of a jangly guitar is still there, just with a slightly tougher sound. Drummer / vocalist Alan is a little lost in the shadows tonight but it’s a small quibble, they still welcome us back in uplifting fashion.
The very act of him setting up is enough to have us intrigued by Rory Grubb, as a bicycle wheel and all sorts of other paraphernalia make their way onto the Mercantile stage. In truth, it may be slightly too much as he struggles with sound problems for the opening numbers but there’s no doubting that he puts it all to good use, even playing the spokes of the wheel with a bow at one point. Even better is the fact that this eccentric approach doesn’t appear to be an exercise in covering up for a lack of talent – his songs have a mournful feel to them, human in touch despite the combination of metal and wires that produce them.
With just a week to go to the spooky season, Melodica Deathship are a fitting headline act. The duo’s sound cuts an ominous stark figure – immersive hip-hop which takes inspiration from sea shanties, Irish trad and the dark edges of electronica. Their whole set is shrouded in a misty ambience from beatmaker George Brennan that is perfectly suited to Mc Exile Eye’s blunted American draw. Exile Eye brings these particular nautical-themed rap dirges to life while the heaviness of the concept is punctured somewhat by long passes of instrumentals with yes, melodica. The ultimate highlight is ‘Black Ship Coming’, a deep sea number that conjures up dense doomed nights in another century. That they utilise a modern genre to paint an archaic era so vividly is a testament to their craft. Doing good never sounded quite so bad….
Photos: Kieran Frost