Category: Festivals

First Fortnight 2015

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Trailblaze Revolution, Christchurch Cathedral

This is a tricky one to write to be honest – I re-read last year’s post (https://gigaholic.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/first-fortnight-2014/) and can vividly remember how I felt writing that post, and during the festival. To be able to remember things so clearly and yet to know how much changed within the space of a year is a little bit disconcerting to be honest.

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Danny Battles

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The Lost Brothers

During 2014 I became much more involved in First Fortnight, having been asked to get involved with a pretty amazing group of people to do fundraising for the charity. Being more involved has let me see how much goes into this festival from the other side, rather than as a volunteer or as a spectator. The fact that this festival has been created by a bunch of volunteers is simply mind-blowing. That said, being more involved makes it challenging to write a review of it, so I’m not even going to attempt it. It’s impossible for me to be unbiased so all I’ll say is if you haven’t been to a First Fortnight event yet, then check out the festival next January, or one of the fundraising events during the year. I think that’s the fairest way of me keeping Gigaholic true to my views but without letting my love of this festival skew any review I wrote of it.

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I Have a Tribe

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State Lights
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Booka Brass Band

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I toyed with using this post as another spot of free therapy, but it a) doesn’t seem fitting, and b) doesn’t really seem needed. This year has given me so much more confidence – it is impossible to see how much can be achieved by a small group of volunteers with some big ideas, without some of that confidence rubbing off. Hard to sum up how grateful I am for that, so I’m not even going to try.

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Lingo Festival

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 Last up for October was the opening night of Lingo Festival, a new spoken word festival – the first of its type in Ireland (which as they say, is pretty amazing, given how much we all love talking!). I typically wouldn’t include spoken word (or theatre, or dance for that matter) on Gigaholic because I try to keep it exclusive to music, but there was a bit of music at this event, so it snuck in!

Spoken word poet (and Poetry Slam Ireland winner) John Cummins brought together a group of talented musicians to form John Cummins and the Inkloosifs. His performance was inspiring, but Melissa Chouikrat of the Sacreblues band stole the show!

Hard Working Class Heroes 2014



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Planet Parade

Hard Working Class Heroes 2014 was a last minute festival addition for me – after thinking that I wasn’t going to be in a position to go, I was so delighted to be able to head along to two of the three nights. A really impressive line-up inevitably lead to clashes, but I was happy with the acts I got to see, particularly as HWCH 2014 was hit by some serious rain and bad weather which meant venue hopping was less than appealing.

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Liza Flume
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Featuring some of the best Irish acts around, Hard Working Class Heroes gives a great chance to catch bands that you might not think of seeing elsewhere. Some of my favourite acts to see now are ones that I first saw at Hard Working Class Heroes.
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A Lazarus Soul

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Cfit

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Vann Music

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Ham Sandwich

“We are made of star stuff” Spirit of Folk Festival 2014 launch

 

The Spirit of Folk Festival 2014 Launch in Whelans – titled We Are Made of Star Stuff” – was one of those special nights that you stumble upon but that leaves you just a little bit changed. I know that sounds pretentious, but with a great musical line-up preceded by a stellar (see what I did there? Geddit?!) list of speakers, it was always going to be a little bit special.

What surprised me was that although the music was great – particularly Carriages, who are consistently brilliant – it was the speakers that absolutely made the night. The speakers ranged from Lee Hurley talking about how we are all a little bit star (and they are all a little bit us), to poet Stephen James Smith, via Grace Dyas talking about creativity and Christian Reeves, who told us all to start before we’re ready. A beautiful night all in all.

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Stephen James

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Carriages
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Leading Armies

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Indiependence 2014

 

 

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A day trip from Dublin to Cork to see one act might seem a bit excessive to people slightly less gig-aholic than me. But when the act in question is Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and it’s their last Irish show as a two-some after three amazing albums, then it seemed a logical step to me. The bonus that there were some other decent bands on that day made the trip all the more worth it.

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Tvvins (now called All Tvvins) – comprising of part Adebisi Shank and part Cast of Cheers – are pretty bloody awesome.

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Benny Smiles (a quarter of Vann Music) being awesome – and quite possibly the smiliest person I have ever seen.


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Vann Music were on flying form

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A chance to hear Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip chatting in the Hot Press tent

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Dan le Sac (at the last Irish Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip gig) – a brilliant gig, but a sad thought that I wouldn’t get to see them as a twosome again. 

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The ever brilliant Scroobius Pip (at the last Irish Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip gig)

20140802_003722One last view of one of my favourite acts…

Sacreblues Band at YouBloom

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It’s always a treat to see a friend perform, and this has, so far, been my only chance to see The Sacreblues Band perform. Mixing French and English, with a blues/swing sound, this was a little slice of sunny heaven on a hot June day.

There is a Light album launch

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Biggles Flys Again

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Dylan Tighe

My last gig in May was the album launch for the “There is a Light” collaboration album, launched by Bluestack Records in aid of the brilliant First Fortnight. The album itself is a selection of some of the best Irish acts around at the moment and is downloadable here (http://bluestackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/there-is-a-light), with the bands donating their songs for free to benefit the mental health charity.

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With five of the acts featured on the album performing on the night, the launch was a real treat – and, as I often point out in my posts, a total bargain at €10 (seriously – we, the gig-going population of Ireland, are spoiled with the quality available to watch for half-nothing). A bonus performance by Kevin Nowlan opened the night, followed by Biggles Flys Again, who were their usual brilliant selves. Dylan Tighe was up next, and then Owensie, both of whom mellowed the mood but showed their song-writing skills to spectacular effect. Hidden Highways and The Ambience Affair completed the line-up.

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Hidden Highways

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Kevin Nowlan

I’ve spoken before about First Fortnight and what it stands for, but a brief speech from JP Swaine, director of the charity, turned this from “just another gig” (albeit with an array of local talent) to an opportunity to remind ourselves of what First Fortnight is all about. It aims to challenge the very real stigma around mental health in this country, and to raise awareness of mental health issues. From some of the conversations I had that night, it certainly got a few people thinking. All in all, a great night for a great cause.