SXSW 2015: St. Patrick’s Day Brunch on a Boat with Generator NI – 17th March 2015

By on Friday, 27th March 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

At the close of the Creative Belfast showcase on Monday night, editor Mary and I were invited to attend a special St. Patrick’s Day Brunch on a Boat, sponsored by Generator NI and Invest Northern Ireland. The boat launched from the Hyatt Regency Austin boat dock and floated down the Colorado River for a couple of idyllic hours on Tuesday morning, while we were treated to muffins, mimosas and intimate, scaled back performances by several of the showcasing bands from the previous evening.

The first artist to perform on the brunch lineup was Hannah McPhillimy, who is the keyboard player for Belfast pop band GO WOLF, but who is also a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. She performed a brief set of her own tracks, showing her versatility by switching from the ukulele to the keyboard for her accompaniment. I was enchanted by the sweetness of McPhillimy’s voice and by the very different songwriting style in her solo work compared to that of GO WOLF, so I was well pleased when she agreed to an interview with me at the end of the boat ride. (You can take a listen to her interview here, if you haven’t already.)

Hannah McPhillimy at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

McPhillimy was assisted by her GO WOLF colleague Scott Jamison during part of her solo set, and at the end of her performance, the full band came up to take their turn on the stage. The vivid synth pop we had heard from GO WOLF at the British Music Embassy the night before mellowed easily in this quieter setting, matching the cordially relaxed mood on the small open air boat.

GO WOLF at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

Perhaps the most breathtaking performance of the morning was by alt-rock quartet More Than Conquerors, who in a rather unexpected stylistic transformation, appeared here as an acoustic trio. Kris Platt’s strident vocals, which cut so well through the band’s full electric sound at Latitude 30 the previous night, were softened and delicately harmonised by drummer Jamie Neish and guitarist Danny Ball, while bassist Danny Morton looked on from the small back deck of the boat. I was surprised, to say the least, to hear this band sound so lovely in an acoustic setting, but the sensitive performance of ‘The Great Deceiver’ we heard here is evidently a mainstay in the band’s live repertoire, though it hasn’t appeared on any of their recorded releases to date.

More Than Conquerors at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

The final act on the brunch’s music lineup was a somewhat more predictable choice, folk duo The Lost Brothers. Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech were clearly in their element playing to a small room of quiet listeners, performing from a seated position and tapping their toes in unison with one another as they sang. They took the opportunity to show off their seamless vocal harmonies with a lovely performance of ‘Under the Turquoise Sky’ and closed the curtain on the morning’s festivities with a charming cover of ‘Moon River’ as the boat headed back into the dock.

The Lost Brothers at St. Patrick's Day Brunch 17 March 2015

Special thanks to Mark from Generator NI for inviting us along on the Tuesday morning river cruise. Stay tuned to TGTF in the coming days for coverage of another river-related event from later in the SXSW 2015 week.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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