by / May 12th, 2015 /

State’s Faces of May – The Mercantile, Dublin

It’s a busy night for live music in Dublin, with Canalaphonic packing them in up the road and our fifth monthly showcase doing similarly brisk business. We had hoped that the night would mark the live debut of Navan duo Starts First Kick, but injury to drummer / guitarist Gordon means that only guitarist / drummer Rob is able to join us, on stage at least. If his acoustic set of impressive tunes and easy going charm is anything to go by, we’ll be inviting them back for the full experience sooner rather than later – even if it’s just to hear his version of the Backstreet Boys’ ‘Larger Than Life’ again.

Katie Laffan has brought her full complement of bass, drums and sax (plus her own guitar and vocals), as well as a set stuffed full of styles and genres. A smattering of covers, most notably a beautifully dark reading of ‘Don’t Cha’. This makes perfect sense, as her original material has pop at heart, mixed with a soulful feel that also takes in reggae, hip-hop and even a bit of post-punk. Classic and modern at the same time, Laffan is on her way to great things.

BeeMickSee is a bit further down his journey, having just released his debut album The Belfast Yank. This is a far more ramped up experience live, though, as the emcee spends a much time off stage as he does on it – constantly dragging audience members onto the dancefloor. It’s a trick that he employs a tad too much to be honest, especially when he already has such a great rapport with the musicians on stage – including, we’re delighted to note, a couple of Wonder Villains. By the end though it becomes clear that we’ve born witness to one of the most exhilarating performances to grace the Faces stage in a long time.

State’s Faces of June takes place on June 5th with Not Monsters, Basciville and Elephant.

Faces of May photographed for State by Kieran Frost.