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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016: editor Mary’s best band bets

 
By on Friday, 30th September 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: as we recommend with all of our festival previews, the information we post here on TGTF on Hard Working Class Heroes 2016, including my past preview of the event, is current at the time of posting. But we encourage you to check in at the event’s official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Weekend tickets are still on sale for €45, with nightly and individual venue tickets priced at €20 and €10, respectively. Weekend student tickets will be available for purchase for €25 upon proof of photo ID on Thursday 6th October from the box office at Film Base, Curved Street. To purchase your tickets, visit this page on the official HWCH Web site.

2016 North American emerging music festival alums: We’d be missing a trick not to give a shoutout to the artists we’ve already covered and enjoyed at this year’s SXSW 2016 in Austin (March) and CMW 2016 in Toronto (May):
Comrade Hat (Derry; 10:10 PM Thursday, Tengu Upstairs)
Elm (Dublin; 9:40 PM Saturday, Workman’s Club)
Fangclub (Dublin; 9:30 PM Thursday, Hub)
Jealous of the Birds (Portadown; 9:00 PM Friday, Tengu Downstairs)
Rosie Carney (Downings via Portsmouth; 10:00 PM Saturday, City Hall)
Rusangano Family (Limerick; 9:30 PM Saturday, Chocolate Factory Stage 2)
Search Party Animal (Dublin; 8:30 PM Thursday, Workman’s Club)

Let me introduce you to a lucky seven acts that caught my eyes and ears upon my research of the 100+ strong bill for Hard Working Class Heroes this year:

Orchid Collective (folk / Dublin; 1:30 PM Thursday, Accents Café Lounge [free show]; 10:30 PM Thursday, Wigwam)

The incredible success of Fleet Foxes in the late Noughties opened the door for the march of the alt-folk genre, paving the way for artists like Bon Iver, Family of the Year and Of Monsters and Men to garner global popularity. From one of the traditional bosoms of folk music of the world, Ireland, and with new EP ‘Courage’ out in late October, Orchid Collective look to be the next stars of indie folk.

New Pope (folk / Galway; 3:30 PM Thursday, Gutter Bookshop [free show]; 9:40 PM Thursday, Tengu Downstairs)

It’s easy to suffer from electronic overload and overproduction. So let’s take a step back and strip back to the basics of folk. New Pope is West Country singer/songwriter David Boland, proving that as long as you keep things simple during a thoughtful writing process, it’s possible to write a compelling song. Close your eyes for a fuller sense of the power of ‘Love’ below.

Exiles (electronic / Carlow/Kilkenny; 10:50 PM Thursday, Tengu Upstairs)

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for synthpop, so Exiles are a no-brainer on my Hard Working Class Heroes schedule. This month, they released a new EP ‘Red Lights’, already receiving loads of attention from domestic radio. Given the current music climate for everything synthy, I can see this band going far beyond the ‘80s influences that have been so important to them.

Slow Riot (post-punk / Limerick; 8:10 PM Friday, Hub)

Naming themselves after a Godspeed You! Black Emperor EP, Slow Riot takes the best of those who have come before and puts a unique Irish stamp on it. Having already played a sold-out show in the Capital, they will return to gig in London on the 10th of November at the Sebright Arms after this appearance at Hard Working Class Heroes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJoBdRmek0o[/youtube]

Callum Stewart (pop / Belfast; 12:30 PM Friday, Nine Crows [free show]; 8:40 PM Friday, City Hall)

You know that feeling you get when you listen to a new artist and the chills run down your spine? Like I felt with Liverpool’s BANNERS in my SXSW 2016 research, I got that same kind of moment upon hearing Callum Stewart’s pop single ‘Parachute’. Despite being only 19, Stewart has already managed to achieve a poignancy in his songs that much older songwriters have difficulty with. Expect a major label snap-up in the coming months.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik1aTXfmP8Q[/youtube]

Hiva Oa (electronic/rock / Belfast; 8:20 PM Saturday, Tengu Downstairs)

Stephen Houlihan and Christine Tubridy have returned to Ireland after a spell in Edinburgh, and they’ve just released a new EP. ‘mk2 (part 1)’ illustrates well their sound described on a press release as “marrying primal, dizzying electronica and a swelling bass hum, with minimal guitar patterns to create a tightly wound, suffocating and intense atmosphere”. Intrigued? Check them out on Saturday night.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0pqMgLDnsY[/youtube]

Kid Karate (punk / Dublin; 8:30 PM Saturday, Chocolate Factory Stage 2; our past coverage on them on TGTF here)

Kid Karate are veterans of past SXSW events and this year, the noiseniks really have something to shout about. Their newest and also self-titled album was released in April. Single ‘Louder’, with its unrelenting, thudding backbeat and punky swagger, should give you a good clue what you’re in for if you pop into the Chocolate Factory’s Stage 2 Saturday night.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ninviq_cRbk[/youtube]

 

Preview: Hard Working Class Heroes 2016

 
By on Monday, 12th September 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Just under a month to go now before Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 kicks off in Dublin. Ireland’s annual massive music showcase and industry conference will take place 6-8 October across venues in the city centre, both north and south of the River Liffey. Since its first year in 2003, the music showcase portion of the event has played host to rising stars who have since become household names, including the twice Mercury Prize-nominated and Choice Music Prize and Ivor Novello award winner Villagers, Hozier, Girl Band, Fight Like Apes, The Coronas and The Strypes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rED0XiO93c[/youtube]

This year’s line-up featuring amazing homegrown talent looks to be Hard Working Class Heroes’ strongest yet. There are several names on the over 100-act strong bill that will be familiar to regular TGTF readers. From Portadown, SXSW 2016 alum Jealous of the Birds will no doubt be playing her single ‘Goji Berry Sunset’, which became a playlist staple for BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and Radio 2’s Jo Whiley following her appearance in Austin. Limerick’s Rusangano Family proved to be one of the most exciting draws at SXSW 2016, stopping (foot) traffic down 6th Street during their performance Friday at the full Irish breakfast. Other names that might ring a bell include CMW 2016 showcasing acts Comrade Hat (Derry), Elm (Dublin), Fangclub (Dublin) and Search Party Animal (formerly known as Bagels; Dublin). 2016 also sees the beginning of Hard Working Class Heroes’ 3-year project to build audiences between Ireland and Iceland. Wesen and aYia from the Nordic country will be showcasing as well.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m-6W4Xmh-U[/youtube]

For those of us who work in the industry, the convention will continue its long-running tradition of events and activities to help further our goals in supporting talent include mentor sessions, workshops and much more. The convention will be a fantastic opportunity for international delegates, Irish bands and domestic music industry professionals to meet face-to-face and make important contacts. 2016 will also be the inaugural year for the Conor Walsh Memorial Bursary in honour of an alumni and friend of the festival who died suddenly earlier this year. All 100 bands participating will be asked to vote for the act who most embodies Walsh’s talent and bravery. The winning act will be awarded €2,500 toward a recording or tour bill.

So what are you waiting for? Weekend tickets are currently on sale for €45, with nightly and individual venue tickets priced at €20 and €10, respectively. Weekend student tickets will be available for purchase for €25 upon proof of photo ID on Thursday 6th October from the box office at Film Base, Curved Street. To purchase your tickets, download the DICE app for your phone or visit this page on the official HWCH Web site. The stage splits for the 3-day music showcase have been announced, and you can view each day’s lineup in the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrX_F2uEOFs[/youtube]

 

CMW 2016: Wednesday night with stops at Mar on Music at The 300 Club and The Central – 4th of May 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 18th May 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Wednesday night was still ahead of Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 conference proper, but there was plenty on music-wise in the good city of Toronto to nosh on before things officially kicked off at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. My first stop was to see several bands on the pretty awesome line-up at recently redone and rebranded 300 Club on College Street. It was put on by our Canadian radio friend Mar on Music, who has a Friday afternoon programme on University of Toronto radio station CIUT. Most of the line-up was locally sourced, which was what I was looking for.

The Magic Gang CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

However, the first band was English and making their North American live debut. We saw The Magic Gang at Live at Leeds 2015, and the Brighton band has been going from strength to strength since then. They’re truly a band who have embraced the DIY ethic and managed to come out on the other side with grass roots-earned success. The Brighton band were raring to go with their slot at this evening showcase, and they didn’t disappoint. They brought their brand of sunny indie pop and the feeling of the seaside to the 300 Club, bringing smiles to everyone in the place.

The Seams CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

The next band up at the 300 were The Seams, who I understand to be kind of a local indie supergroup of talented musicians all wanting a side project. The trio comprises of band members from WISH, Elsa and Fake Palms, and the resultant noise recalls great ‘90s Britpop. If you’re so inclined to go back that way to revisit all those subgenres back in the day like shoegaze and its more jangly brother, you’re likely to enjoy The Seams.

Sahara CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

Of all the Torontonian bands I had on my CMW 2016 schedule, I was most keen on catching Sahara. They recently released a new EP that is described on SoundCloud as psych-tinged post-punk, but I actually think it’s more dream pop than that. In fact, I considered them Toronto’s answer to High Highs. The same description on SoundCloud says of their sound: “a shimmering, summery sound that belies some of their darker leanings”, which is interesting because when they actually played, they played virtually in the dark, as if they didn’t want us the audience to see them. Not that I was expecting a full, strobe-y light show to accompany their set, but I was surprised and a little bit disappointed in the darkness, as I think their song ‘Mirage’ is gorgeous.

Comrade Hat CMW 2016 Central Wednesday

Like SXSW, many bands were playing most multiple times at CMW, which afforded me some good options for scheduling in the week. After I’d gotten my fill of Sahara, I decided to head way west to a little place nestled among a residential neighbourhood. When I arrived, I noted that The Central is an adorable venue that looks perfect for intimate, acoustic sets by singer/songwriters. Oddly enough, who I came to see was not a single man or woman onstage but instead, the six-member strong Comrade Hat.

Or maybe they are better described as Comrade Hat the man – Donegal via Derry composer and performer Neil Burns on a Korg keyboard – plus his fellow Irish friends Great White Lies. Like The Seams earlier in the evening, they’re a throwback, but a throwback much further back in time. I imagined being transported in time to a smoky jazz lounge in the ‘70s with a guy on piano, singing about his observations on life, kind of like a jazzed up Mister Rogers. I can see why it makes more sense to have a full band at an international event like CMW because it adds more pomp to the occasion, but they barely had any room to move with all the equipment onstage with them. But if you visit Burns’ own SoundCloud and listen to his ambient burblings such as ‘High in the Rockies’, that’s the kind of stuff I prefer to geek out on.

 
 
 

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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.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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