Category: Bands – Heathers

First Fortnight 2014

20140112_011407Vann Music (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory)

As is rapidly becoming a January tradition for me (and by the look of the crowds, for lots of people!), my first outing of the year was to First Fortnight, Ireland’s mental health arts festival. I’ve talked previously about how amazing I think this festival is, with its mix of music, poetry, art, film and theatre in addition to discussion forums. The fact that year-on-year, this festival has managed to gather growing crowds at a time of year when the tendency is to hibernate, and to keep prices at a level that allows people to come when no-one is feeling flush, is a testament to just how brilliantly organised it is. The growing numbers in attendance mean that the festival is continuing to spread its message of normalising the discussion of mental health in Ireland, and continuing to challenge mental health prejudice through the creative arts. In a country that seems to only be slowly coming to the realisation that talking is important, the open discussion that takes place at the First Fortnight events encourages people to talk but manages to avoid being preachy.

20140111_212123Spot Gavin James going unplugged in the crowd (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory)

20140111_215424The Academic (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory) – disgustingly talented for ones so young!

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Come on Live Long (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory) 20140111_232609

Heathers (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory) 20140112_010810 Vann Music (First Fortnight finale gig, Button Factory)

This year, I went to more events than usual. Apart from my traditional trips to the Therapy Sessions music and poetry events, and the Finale gig featuring some of the best Irish acts around at the moment, I went to Silver Linings Playbook followed by a discussion panel and a play so brilliant that I went back to see it again and brought my parents – Confusion Boats (I’m not going to say anything about this other than that I think Ger Kelly, writer and star, is a serious talent, and that everyone should go see it!).

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Laura Elizabeth Hughes (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 1, Workmans Club) 20140103_220914

Ger Kelly (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 1, Workmans Club) – he writes, he acts, he sings, is there nothing he can’t do? 20140103_222935

Mark Geary (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 1, Workmans Club) 20140103_234247Daithi (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 1, Workmans Club) – disappointingly small crowd hung around for his set, which was brilliant as always

I also did some volunteering at the festival for the first time this year. From freezing my arse off at Happy Clouds to getting a chance to see the Poetry Slam, the Milk and Cookies storytelling and baking evening, and the No Room at the Inn mental health service discussion forum – volunteering at this festival was such a privilege. Tiring, but a privilege! The organisers are the nicest, most hard working group of people you’ll ever meet. The fact that this group of my peers (they are normal people, with day jobs, who organise this festival on a voluntary basis) can achieve something so amazing – well, it is humbling, inspirational and just a little bit intimidating!

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Susan Quirke (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 2, Workmans Club) – she may have been nervous but she played a belter of a set

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Evie Murtagh (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 2, Workmans Club) – another terrifyingly talented youngster 20140110_222700

Idiot Sounds (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 2, Workmans Club) – slightly more alternative than I could deal with, I’m afraid 20140110_230745Tara Lee (First Fortnight Therapy Sessions 2, Workmans Club)

In last year’s blog (https://gigaholic.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/first-fortnight-2013/), I touched on why this festival means so much to me, and now that I’ve had a chance to be involved in it in a small way, it means even more. The next piece of this post is something I’ve struggled with – I just couldn’t decide whether to include it or not. I’ve never revealed a huge amount of personal information in this blog, and this was deliberate. Last year’s First Fortnight post was probably the most I’ve spoken about myself here but I felt that in the spirit of what the festival is all about, it was appropriate. And I still feel like, when it comes to First Fortnight, sharing honestly is the least I can do.

 

So, in that spirit, here goes. While I’ve had my issues (haven’t we all?), I’ve been lucky that they have never been too severe, in the greater scheme of things. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t almost cripple me with self-doubt at times – trust me, my brain is often my own worst enemy. I really wanted to sign up to volunteer for First Fortnight for quite some time, but I had to think long and hard about whether I was actually up to it. While I’ve made huge strides in working on myself and my confidence from my lowest point at the end of 2012, I still have my bad patches. The last thing I wanted to do to the First Fortnight organisers was sign up and then back out, which is my pattern when things get too much – but I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone. If I’m honest, I was so nervous on my first day volunteering that I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry or puke, and nearly turned back so many times. I’m sure the people who met me at that first event probably thought I was some kind of mute – nope, not mute, just terrified. But it got easier, and easier, with each event I helped at – luckily, I helped out at quite a few events, so my lasting memory is of how much fun I had, and not how scared and out-of-place I felt initially. The people running this festival are so welcoming, the other volunteers were a lovely bunch, and I am going to be the first in line to sign up to volunteer again next year.

 

If anyone has actually bothered to read until the end of this blog, well done – I think I’d have given up long ago if I wasn’t writing it! Thanks for sticking with it, and letting me share, even though it doesn’t really fit in with what Gigaholic is about. And if anyone who made it this far happens to be a part of First Fortnight, I hope you know how amazing what you’ve created is. From the fact that I look forward to the festival every January, to the fact that I often take a different route to work just so that I can see Maser’s You Are Alive wall on Camden St, First Fortnight has really got under my skin. I don’t think I can express how much being involved in First Fortnight 2014 meant to me, mainly for the amazing festival it is, but also for proving to myself that despite being terrified, I could do it. So, thank you. It’s not enough, but it’s all I can say – thank you. Roll on First Fortnight 2015!

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Stuart Semple’s Happy Clouds (First Fortnight, Meeting House Square)

Heathers

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Before I start talking about Heathers, I really need to mention one of their support acts – Tvvins. This was my second time seeing them within a couple of weeks (mentioned here as being among my ones to watch in 2014 https://gigaholic.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/editors/) and I find them a really exciting live act. I’m disappointed that their upcoming gig (upstairs in Whelans, 27th February 2014) clashes with the Choice Music Prize in Vicar St, so I’m hoping they announce another gig soon so that I can see them play a longer set. If any of you are at a loose end that night, you should definitely head along.

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But I suppose it’s a little weird to post about a band, and then talk more about the support act than the headliners. Heathers show was really good – and in case you haven’t noticed, female acts are pretty under-represented in my gig-going habits generally – and as an act, they are consistent. But, with no new material released since the last time I’d seen them, I have to admit, it felt a little stale to me. While I still really like their music, I think I might need to give their live shows a break until there’s some new songs to hear. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the gig, and the vast majority of the crowd seemed to love it, but for me personally, it just didn’t grab me in the way some of their previous shows have.

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On a complete side note – I discovered that I can get very distracted in the presence of a barefoot drummer. Who knew?!

Temple St fundraiser

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Young Wonder at Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral for a gig has got to be one of the most surreally special venues – and the Temple Street fundraiser was perfectly set there. Young Wonder, Heathers and Ham Sandwich are three great acts and kept the diverse crowd entertained throughout. I’ve seen Young Wonder again since and reckon they are heading for great things. 20130516_210528-1

Heathers at Christchurch Cathedral 20130516_215850-1
Ham Sandwich at Christchurch Cathedral

Choice Music Prize 2012

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Heathers starting the night in style

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Bouncy pixie, miss Wallis Bird (this was the least blurry photo I managed to get)

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Adrian Crowley

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Windings

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Julie Feeney

The 2012 Choice Music Prize was back to its proper home in Vicar Street and the nominees meant that those of us in attendance really got to see some of the best live acts around at the moment. While some were acts that I had seen before (some even at previous Choice Music Prizes!), some were ones I’ve been wanting to see for ages – Damien Dempsey – or more recently – Windings.

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Gavin James, winner of Irish Song of the Year

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Damien Dempsey

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Mumblin Deaf Ro

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Delorentos

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The Cast of Cheers

Delorentos went on to be well-deserved winners, and their emotional acceptance speech summed up just what this prize means to the acts themselves.

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Collecting their gong

Heathers

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Heathers at the Academy

Going to see Heathers in the Academy was a fairly last minute decision, probably swayed in the end by their support act, Raglans. Raglans were on early enough, and the place was far from packed. The fact that the floor was filled by the time they were finished pretty much says it all! These lads know how to get people watching them.

Heathers were another treat. If any of you have noticed on this blog, I tend not to listen to female acts. These girls fairly changed my mind – their harmonies and easy, summery sounds were an absolute pleasure.

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Raglans at the Academy
*Originally posted on www.gigaholic.tumblr.com on 25/11/12*

Electric Picnic Part 2

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Heathers at Electric Picnic

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The Cast of Cheers at Electric Picnic

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Daithi at Electric Picnic

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White Collar Boy at Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic – Day Two

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David Kitt at Electric Picnic

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Solar Bears at Electric Picnic

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Patti Smith at Electric Picnic

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The Cure at Electric Picnic

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Grimes is in there somewhere! (at Electric Picnic)

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Orbital at Electric Picnic

*Originally posted on www.gigaholic.tumblr.com on 05/09/12*