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SXSW 2017: Thursday afternoon at Music From Ireland’s Full Irish Breakfast – 16th March 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 11th April 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Thursday at SXSW 2017 was another full day, but my tired feet did get a bit of a reprieve after the lengths I walked on Wednesday night. I started the day at the Austin Convention Center for Zane Lowe’s keynote session, then spent the remainder of the afternoon at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub, which hosted Music for Ireland’s day show, the Full Irish Breakfast. (Editor Mary caught the opening acts on the Irish Breakfast bill, New Portals and Ciaran Lavery while I was listening to Zane Lowe; you can read about them in her Thursday afternoon review.)

AS Fanning IB

I arrived at B.D. Riley’s with just enough time for a plate of breakfast before “dark folk” singer/songwriter A.S. Fanning began to play. I’d seen Fanning earlier in the week at the Convention Center Next Stage, but as I’ve noted in the past, B.D. Riley’s has a very different ambiance from other SXSW venues, especially the sterile Convention Center stages. Fanning’s sharp lyrics and dramatic rock-tinged musical style skillfully elicited a mood of brooding melancholy in both environments. I caught him later in the afternoon for this quick interview, where we talked about the different venue atmospheres and his upcoming album ‘Second Life’.

"Loah

One of the afternoon’s pleasant surprises was soulful singer/songwriter Loah, whose West African musical influences were delightfully unexpected in the context of the Irish showcase. Her silky vocals and exotic stage presence were nothing short of stunning, bringing the bustling pub to a momentary standstill. Take a listen to my interview with Loah right back here, and watch this video for her full band performance of ‘Cross’, courtesy of Press Record.

Cloud Castle Lake IB

Next on the bill were electronic act Cloud Castle Lake, whose cool detachment and distinct avant-garde tendency took a decidedly different tone. Brendan Jenkinson’s ethereal falsetto was almost lost in the shuffle of background noise at B.D. Riley’s, but the band’s heavily rhythmic musical arrangements made a strong impression nonetheless.

"JOB

Northern Irish alt-rocker Jealous of the Birds (aka Naomi Hamilton) played a full band show at B.D. Riley’s, as opposed to the stripped back set I saw her play on the Output Belfast boat earlier in the week. Her erudite lyrics and eclectic mix of musical styles took on a much more vibrant cast in the fully-arranged versions of her songs, especially the popular ‘Goji Berry Sunset’. Hamilton and her bandmates fully embraced their punk-rock undertones in this pub setting, exponentially raising the energy level on the stage as well as among the punters in the growing crowd.

That newly-generated energy was immediately picked up by fellow Northern Irish band Silences, (pictured in the header photo above) who took the B.D. Riley’s stage with a decided air of confidence, quite different from frontman Conchúr White’s demeanor in his solo appearance last year. White and his bandmates didn’t waste a lot of time on chatter, preferring instead to impress the crowd with their massive, soaring five-piece sound. I was literally stunned to silence (pun intended) by the goose bump-inducing arrangement of their single ‘Breathless’, and I bubbled over with excitement for the up-and-coming Silences in this post-set interview with White and guitarist Chris Harbinson.

Taking full advantage of the momentum built by their Northern Irish compatriots, avant/experimental group Robocobra Quartet brought a surprisingly brash punk attitude to their jazz-tinged classical aesthetic. Based on our Adam’s description of them in his preview of NI artists, I probably should have expected punk, but I didn’t realise the extent of that influence until I heard lead singer/drummer Chris Ryan do his frenetic routine. The jazz side of things came through in the unique combination of saxophone sounds provided by Tom Tabori and Thibault Barilon. It’s an odd but intriguing mélange of sounds, and my immediate post-set commentary probably sums it up best: “I’m not sure what I just listened to, but I think I liked it.”

Birds of Olympus IB

I was equally intrigued by Dublin psych-rock act Birds of Olympus, especially after their frontman Spud Murphy described their sound to me as “Talking Heads mixed with Ennio Morricone”. Their songs were broadly expansive and strangely hypnotic, with smooth vocal melodies and edgy rhythmic grooves evolving in vivid kaleidoscopic fashion. Check it out for yourself in this live video performance of ‘Cinder to the Sun’ on the band’s official Facebook.

The Academic IB

Mary and I had been waiting over a year to see young Dublin rockers The Academic, and they took the Irish showcase by storm at SXSW 2017, with a set that was by turns wildly energetic and broodingly sullen. Frontman Craig Fitzgerald has cultivated a certain bad-boy mystique that feeds into the band’s more introspective songs, like ‘Thought I Told You’ and ‘Small Town Lovers’, while the driving momentum of songs like ‘Different’ is clearly the band’s strongest suit.

Picture This IB

The final act on the Full Irish Breakfast was another up-and-coming mainstream pop band, the swaggering Dublin rock duo Picture This. I’d taken the opportunity to sit down with band members Jimmy Rainsford and Ryan Hennessy earlier in the week, and their unabashedly cocky demeanor in that Tuesday afternoon interview had piqued my interest for seeing them live. As it turned out, they had every reason to be confident. The anthemic rock-leaning pop of tracks like ‘You & I’ was enthusiastically received at B.D. Riley’s, ending the day on an ecstatic high. Also, for the record, Hennessy fulfilled his earlier promise to play topless, which I hadn’t taken seriously until he actually did it.

Picture This 2 IB

All in all, the Full Irish Breakfast once again lived up to its reputation as one of the best shows in town during SXSW, and the bands on the showcase fully exceeded even my high expectations. For more on the fine Irish acts at SXSW 2017, you can read back through Mary’s coverage of the official Music From Ireland showcase at the Velveeta Room on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Conchúr White and Chris Harbinson of Silences

 
By on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

Oh, what a difference a year can make! Northern Irish alt-rock band Silences made their SXSW debut last year, when their frontman Conchúr White made an impromptu solo trek to Austin, filling in for another band who had to cancel their scheduled appearance at the last minute. White was, by his own admission, a bit overwhelmed by the chaos and intensity of his initial SXSW experience, but he made a triumphant return to Austin for SXSW 2017 with his four bandmates–lead guitarist Chris Harbinson, bassist Breandán White, keyboardist Jonathan Downing, and drummer Michael Keyes–at his side and a distinct air of confidence about him.

I must admit that I had been privately rooting for Silences’ success since meeting White in Austin last year, so naturally I was over-the-moon excited to catch up with White and Harbison after their absolute stunner of a live set on a Thursday afternoon’s Full Irish Breakfast at B.D. Riley’s in downtown Austin. We chatted about their experience at this year’s SXSW, including one particular challenge they faced in playing on the infamously small B.D Riley’s stage. They also brought me up to speed on the band’s plans for the immediate future and what they hope to achieve with their North American appearances in Austin and in Toronto for Canadian Music Week.

DSC08323

Silences have a new single release up their collective sleeve, a song they played on the Irish Breakfast showcase called ‘Red Dress’, which is due out in April. Another unreleased Silences track, ‘Before Ten’, has just recently received air play on Seattle radio station KEXP. You can take a listen to the tune for yourself in the stream at the bottom of this page, and then have a look back at TGTF’s past coverage of Silences, including White’s recent answers to our SXSW 2017 flavoured Quickfire Questions, right back here. Stay tuned to TGTF for more on Silences in my full review of the Irish breakfast, which is on the schedule to post in the coming days.


 

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Northern Irish artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

The Emerald Isle may be a relatively small island, but there is no denying it is bursting with talent from top to bottom. Yesterday, we introduced you to the seven acts from below that pesky dotted line in the Republic of Ireland proper who will appear at SXSW 2017. Today, our focus is on the seven artists from Eire who carry British passports. The summaries below were written by the newest member of our team and our Northern Irish correspondent based in (London)Derry, Adam McCourt, except where noted. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Ciaran Lavery – singer/songwriter / Aghagallon
Ciaran Lavery is an Irish singer/songwriter from the small town of Aghagallon in County Antrim. Lavery soared to success after his singles ‘Left for America’ and ‘Shame’ racked up over 29 million plays on Spotify. With the release of his latest live album ‘Live at the Mac’ back in December (read my review here), Lavery has built quite an eclectic discography including 2 studio albums ‘Not Nearly Dark’ (2013) and ‘Let Bad In’ (2016), preceded by the album ‘Sea Legs’ in collaboration with fellow Northern Irish showcaser Ryan Vail (2016) and his debut EP, ‘Koesher’ (2014). FFO: Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Villagers

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Ciaran Lavery through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhZRAkWxUF8[/youtube]

Jealous of the Birds – folk/rock / Portadown
Jealous of the Birds is the musical moniker of Naomi Hamilton. Hailing from the wet and windy coastal town of Portadown, Jealous of the Birds channels her surroundings with sweet and chirpy songs. Sticking to the lo-fi indie sound, Hamilton’s debut EP ‘Capricorn’ released in March 2015 gathered much attention from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and one of Ireland’s longest and most accredited radio stations Across The Line. Her debut album ‘Parma Violets’ was released in May 2016 and just recently, she collaborated with fellow SXSW attendee Ryan Vail on a track entitled ‘Love is a Crow’. FFO: PORTS, Foy Vance, Girls Names

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Jealous of the Birds through here.

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

New Portals – electronic/pop / Belfast
New Portals (pictured at top) are an electronic/pop duo from Belfast. Husband and wife Michael and Ruth Aicken began as the key members of an alt-folk group called The Jepettos before turning their attention to synth-laden pop tracks, while still keeping the angelic tonal quality of Ruth’s vocals. Since re-establishing as New Portals, the couple have made their mark by releasing a bombardment of seven singles (with five music videos) over their short career of a year. You can check out our holiday feature late last year for their seasonally appropriate single ‘Winter Skin’ through here. FFO: Imagine Dragons, Banks, EMBRZ

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ghog_fnSKI[/youtube]

Protex – punk / Belfast
Punk rockers Protex have been in existence as a band longer than many of their fellow Northern Irish acts have been alive. Still, their staying power in the industry is testament to the continued interest – a need – for guitar music that provides a kick in the arse. FFO: Sex Pistols, New York Dolls (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj2I-Z0B-oQ[/youtube]

Robocobra Quartet – experimental / Belfast
Probably one of the more interesting Irish acts to head to SXSW is Robocobra Quartet. Formed whilst studying Music Technology at Queens University, Belfast, the band take influence from jazz, hardcore punk and classical music. Their debut album ‘Music for All Occasions’ was released in November lof ast year, and it’s packed with spoken word vocals, squealing saxophone and unexpected improvisation. The band is under the direction of drummer and vocalist Chris Ryan and with Tom Tabori (soprano saxophone), Thibault Barilon (tenor sax, alto saxophone, flute) and as of recently, Ryan Burrowes who replaced Nathan Rogers on bass. FFO: Melt Yourself Down, At The Drive-In, Fugazi

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-SfI3WC0iA[/youtube]

Ryan Vail – electronic / Derry
Ryan Vail is a solo electronic composer from Derry. He has been writing, composing and releasing music since 2012, with his debut album ‘For Every Silence’ being released last April. Vail is no stranger to experimentation and genre crossing. He’s known for bringing a whole new sonic picture to the world of electronic/dance music by incorporating elements of folk and classical music with unique recording and composition methods. See Jealous of the Birds’ profile above to read more about their recent single collaboration. FFO: Chet Faker, Ciaran Lavery (see above), Burial, James Blake

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_7Xyi9LAq4[/youtube]

Silences – singer/songwriter / alternative / Armagh
Silences began as a musical outlet for singer/songwriter Conchúr White back in 2013. With the addition of White’s cousin Breandán White, and close friends Christopher Harbinson, Michael Keyes and Jonathan Downing, Silences have released 3 critically acclaimed EPs: ‘Nevernames’ (March 2014), ‘Sister Snow’ (October 2014), and ‘Luna’ (April 2016). The Armagh-based five-piece have received considerable support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Phil Taggart of BBC Radio 1 and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and have appeared at top festivals such as Latitude, The Great Escape and Electric Picnic. FFO: Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Death Cab for Cutie, alt-J

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Silences through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mgCDoBn3Pg[/youtube]

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #113: Silences

 
By on Monday, 20th February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions.

TGTF got a sneak preview of Northern Irish five-piece Silences at SXSW 2016, when their frontman Conchúr White had a last-minute opportunity to make the trip to Austin. We caught White for this interview during his initial SXSW foray, and he mentioned looking forward to having his bandmates join him for SXSW 2017. (In case you missed it, our full coverage of Silences at last year’s festival can be found right back here.)

Describe your music / sound in three words.
Passionate, Real, Diverse??

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I was invited to play at a few unofficial solo shows last year and it was eye opener. It was probably one of the biggest turning points for me as a musician, There is just so much out there and if you don’t nail it, no one cares because there is probably an act on next door is killing it. It made me want to get better and come back with the group this year and here we are. Most of the group haven’t been to the USA so they’re very excited.

(If you’ve been to SXSW before) What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Do as much as you can. Austin is beautiful, enjoy that. Enjoy the people and the atmosphere. I’ve never experienced anything like SXSW before.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
There are countless acts but I’ll give you two. Agnes Obel for the simple fact that she and her group are stunning. They performed at a festival we were at a few years ago and it was just one of the most special things I have witnessed. The other is Jealous Of The Birds. We have the same management but I recommend seeing her without any bias. Her songs are beautiful and people are really starting to take notice. Her band have come on leaps and bounds and I think they’re going to have a great SXSW.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Just being there, appreciating the city and not being sick (hopefully). I had the flu last year so it kinda killed my buzz.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I’m boring, you should ask our keyboardist though. He’s very unusual.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Please don’t we’ll probably be outrageously drunk already. Jokes, let’s get a shot.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Something by Oasis, maybe ‘Rock n Roll Star’.

What song always makes you laugh?
‘Monto’ – Dubliners. My dad used to sing it to me and it reminds me of being very young and laughing uncontrollably at the rude parts.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/g7HfA9iEG2c[/youtube]

What song always makes you cry?
So many, I’m such a baby. I was very hungover recently and burst out in to tears when ‘Fast Car’ [by Tracy Chapman] came on the radio…I know.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Becoming A Jackal’ – Villagers.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘Poke’ by Frightened Rabbit.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
There are so many but right now, let’s say Death Cab for Cutie – the entire ‘Transatlanticism’ album.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
My favourite books are by Charles Bukowski. Favourite lyrics by Leonard Cohen.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d probably have worked in business (unsuccessfully).

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Something I have never listened to before. Maybe ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ [by Pink Floyd]. I know, I know. I’m a fraud.

Many thanks to Conchúr for answering these questions, and to Sarah and Declan for their kind assistance.

 

SXSW 2016: Friday daytime at B.D. Riley’s for the Full Irish Breakfast – 18th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 11th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Over the past 3 years, it’s become my personal SXSW tradition to spend the Friday at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub for the Full Irish Breakfast, hosted by Music From Ireland. Indeed, Music From Ireland has an even longer history of hosting the showcase, as event coordinator Angela Dorgan related to me in this Friday afternoon interview. My chat with Ms. Dorgan was one of several interviews that I would conduct during the course of the day, between sets by a wide variety of Irish artists spanning genres from sweet acoustic folk to hardcore hip-hop.

"Rosie

The first artist on Friday’s bill was Donegal singer/songwriter Rosie Carney, who faced the difficult task of playing her sensitive and subtle songs to a rather groggy crowd who were perhaps more focused on their eggs and coffee than the activity onstage. Her singing voice was in fine form for so early in the day, and though the open stage at BD Riley’s isn’t the optimal venue for acoustic singer/songwriter types, her lilting tones provided a gentle introduction to a showcase that would gain momentum with each successive act.

"Silences

I stepped outside to have this brief chat with Carney after she played, and when I returned, Silences’ frontman Conchúr White had taken the stage. I’d seen White play the day before on the Thursday afternoon Output Belfast showcase at Latitude 30, and his set once again the demonstrated the vast difference between the two venues. While the rowdier crowd and open windows behind the stage at B.D. Riley’s were slightly less receptive to White’s solo set, he managed to make a favorable impression on his audience.

"September

Following Silences’ rather lonely solo set, the stage at B.D. Riley’s became abruptly more crowded with the entrance of Dublin garage rock quintet September Girls. I was glad to catch them this time around, as I missed them previously in 2014, and I’d been tipped off earlier in the week that their new album ‘Age of Indignation’ was not to be missed. As a fan of the Bangles from my early music listening days, I’m naturally intrigued by a band named after their famous Big Star cover, and I’ll be delving more deeply into September Girls’ sound in my upcoming review of the LP. They played an animated set laced with new songs on their Friday afternoon set, and afterward, two of their number graciously gave this interview for your listening pleasure.

"David

Also filling the stage to capacity at B.D. Riley’s were David C Clements and his crew of bandmates, who followed the brash rock of September Girls with an equally intense set of their own. Along with the aforementioned Silences, I’d heard Clements play at the British Music Embassy the day before, and though he played largely the same set list at B.D. Riley’s, I was once again captivated by his heartfelt lyricism and expansive musical style.

Somadrone internal

Next on the schedule was electro/acoustic act Somadrone, aka Neil O’Connor, who Mary had caught earlier in the week at the official Music From Ireland showcase at Maggie Mae’s on the Wednesday night. Though soft-spoken in manner, O’Connor and his drummer Gareth Averill managed to crank up the volume a notch or two during their extended set, which they graciously agreed to play when rapper Rejjie Snow had to pull out of the showcase lineup.

"Enemies

Math rock band Enemies were next to take the stage, and I was so concentrated on their rather consciously intellectual sound that I didn’t immediately recognize drummer Micheál Quinn, who I’d met in this very same place last year when he had appeared in a different context with avant/experimental group Meltybrains? It was revealed during the course of Enemies’ set that Micheál was celebrating his birthday that day, and naturally a chorus of singing and birthday cake ensued. But make no mistake, their pop-tinged single ‘Play Fire’ was equally memorable and upbeat.

"Saint

The afternoon’s trajectory changed slightly with duo act Saint Sister, whose very aptly termed “atmosfolk” gave our ears a welcome moment of respite, switching gears from live drums and wailing guitars to a combination of sweetly-tuned vocals, traditional Celtic harp and modern electronic rhythms. The novelty of seeing a harp on the stage at B.D. Riley’s would have been memorable enough in itself, but the hypnotic quality of Saint Sister’s seemingly anachronous juxtaposition of sounds proved that they are more than just a gimmick. Their music might have been a bit more laid-back than the other acts surrounding them on the Irish Breakfast docket, but as you can hear in my interview with them, they were in high spirits, and the animated energy came through in their performance.

The final act on the Full Irish Breakfast afternoon showcase was Limerick hip-hop trio Rusangano Family (pictured at top), whose new LP ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ was released just last week, along with the video for jazz-tinged album track ‘Lights On’. Their sensational performance in Austin on the Friday of SXSW couldn’t be contained on the small B.D. Riley’s stage, as frontman God Knows leapt out the open window to preach his gospel to the throngs of people on 6th Street, while his bandmates MuRli and DJ mynameisjOhn were left to entertain the madding crowd inside. As you can see in the photos below, even aforementioned Enemies’ drummer Quinn couldn’t resist the urge to snap a few shots of the ecstatic festivities that ended the 2016 Full Irish Breakfast on another epic high.

"Rusangano

Rusangano Family internal 3

 

SXSW 2016: St. Patrick’s Day at Latitude 30 for the Output Belfast showcase Thursday afternoon – 17th March 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 5th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

My Thursday afternoon at SXSW 2016 was reserved from the beginning for the Northern Irish showcase at the British Music Embassy. Hosted this year by Generator NI and the Belfast City Council, working jointly as Output Belfast, the daytime show on this Thursday featured one artist I’d already seen earlier in the week, one that I was already familiar with from before SXSW, and three acts that were completely new to me.

Mark Gordon

Before the festivities officially began, I stepped outside Latitude 30 for a quick interview with the afternoon’s co-emcee, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Guy Spence, who gave me this quick rundown of Output Belfast’s activities over their nearly 2 weeks spent in Austin. After the interview, Generator NI Head of Programme Development Mark Gordon (pictured above) shifted our attention to the talented musicians on the lineup for the British Music Embassy stage, beginning with a late addition to the SXSW contingent from Ireland and Northern Ireland.

County Armagh singer/songwriter Conchúr White is the lead singer and main songwriter for the quickly emerging Northern Irish band Silences. The full band had set their sights on possibly coming to Austin in 2017, but another band’s last minute change of plans opened a slot for SXSW this year, and they decided to take advantage, even if they could only afford for White to make the trip alone. While Silences’ songs are clearly written with the intention of playing in full-band arrangement, the paradoxically delicate strength of White’s singing voice made them equally effective in solo performance. For a taste of what we heard on the St. Patrick’s day show in Austin, have a listen to White’s solo version of current single ‘There’s A Wolf’ from last year’s Reeperbahn Festival, just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/7HjRnwD6Q_s[/youtube]

A switch in the originally announced lineup for Thursday afternoon called up post-punk rockers and SXSW veterans Girls Names to play next. Mary had already caught Cathal Cully and company on Tuesday night’s Huw Stephens and PRS for Music showcase, and they somehow managed to carry their “massive wall of sound” into their daytime performance on the Thursday as well. Their initial plans included five songs scribbled onto the back of a nicked British Music Embassy poster, but the slowly-evolving nature of their music necessitated a slightly shorter set. Luckily for those of us in the crowd, truncating the set list did nothing to dilute the power and intensity of Girls Names’ signature sound.

Girls Names

Following Girls Names was another artist whose songs I’ve described as evolutionary in the past, David C Clements (pictured at top). I was nothing short of thrilled to see Clements take the British Music Embassy stage with a full band to play through songs from his recent and long-anticipated debut album ‘The Longest Day in History’. His performance on the day didn’t disappoint, beginning with latest single ‘Hollywood’ and rounding off with the spine-tingling gospel tinge of ‘Hurricane’. After the set, I had a nice chat with Clements, which you can eavesdrop on right back here.

CL tape

CL and LA

I’d already seen and interviewed the ginger-bearded Ciaran Lavery on the Monday night Trackd showcase, but his Thursday set for Output Belfast was markedly different, and particularly memorable, for two reasons. Before he even began, Lavery was apparently cursed by Murphy’s Law rather than blessed by Irish luck; when he attempted to step on stage for his soundcheck, he somehow managed to split his trousers up one leg “from knee to crotch”, as he would describe it. He seemed to take the incident in good stride, joking about the silver gaffa tape holding his trousers together during the banter between songs. But despite the rather obvious tape job, Lavery’s trousers were largely forgotten when he started to sing, especially when he was joined onstage by a surprise special guest, Nashville singer/songwriter Liza Anne. Lavery and Liza Anne performed a handful of songs in harmonious duet before I realized where I’d seen her before, opening for David Ramirez in Phoenix last November.

Jealous of the Birds

The final act onstage as afternoon made its way into evening was Portadown songstress Naomi Hamilton, perhaps better known by her stage moniker Jealous of the Birds. Hamilton’s flair for the dramatic was made evident right away in her striking and beautiful appearance, but her songs were the real star of the performance, enchanting the late day crowd at the British Music Embassy and putting her squarely on our radar here at TGTF. We’ll be on the lookout for Jealous of the Birds’ debut LP ‘Parma Violets’ on the 6th of May, but in the meantime, you can feast your eyes on her new video for ‘Goji Berry Sunset’, just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/8rED0XiO93c[/youtube]

Keep your eyes here for our reviews of Thursday night’s happenings at SXSW, along with interviews and coverage from the Friday and Saturday of that week, all upcoming in the days ahead.

 
 
 

About Us

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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