Aine Cahill at Whelan’s – Review
There’s a pub called The Dublin Castle in Camden, London. Steeped in musical history, with a charming rustic ambience, it’s legendary for the list of groundbreaking indie artists who played it in their early days. Blur, Madness, Amy Winehouse, Travis, The Killers and The Vaccines are just a few of the bands who’ve graced the cramped stage in the grubby, chic castle. Last night in Whelan’s I got that Dublin Castle feeling that something extraordinary was about to happen.
Aine Cahill, a twenty one year old from Cavan, played her first headline gig. Surrounded by her band Spam Turner, she gave a stunning vocal performance that puts her firmly in the race for her place in the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame.
Appearing understated, just eyeliner and her hair tied up, this girl is not about the gimmicks and the glamour, which is ironic as her songs portray endless observations on the glamour, glitz and grit of 1950s Hollywood. Pared back vocals, clever phrasing and crashing crescendos give her a unique signature sound. Her cover of Marina And The Diamonds’s ‘Teen Idle’ compares beautifully to the original. Similar themes present themselves throughout Aine’s work. Her tongue in cheek ‘I’m The Biggest Bitch In The World’ bubblegum pop style charms her audience. ‘Pin Up Queen’ is the story of a streetwalker seeking fame, greeted by the grotesque of her everyday existence. This girl knows how to write ‘em deep. ‘White Piano’ has a cult following, everyone in the room sings the words. A child grieving for her mother is the central character. Loss, tragedy and drama wrapped in a simple piano melody. Every emotion was delivered with Aine’s distinctive range. ‘Paper Crown’ is a boozy, sassy tune, starting with a stripped vocal before hurtling into a full on fizzy jazz bomb. I’ve never felt the floorboards in Whelan’s bend and bounce before, but they did tonight. Flavours of Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga, fused with an Adele style delivery, cement themselves in the stunner that is ‘Black Dahlia’. This song has grown legs since it was broadcast by Ian Dempsey on Today FM back in July. Since then, Aine has performed it on national radio and at festivals nationwide. This is the Dublin Castle landmark moment in time. The song tells the story of an unsolved Los Angeles murder in 1947. Laced with melodrama, tragedy and disillusionment, the victim’s dreams dying as she lies naked and mutilated. Aine sings it with the resonance of Adele and impact of Lana Del Rey.
Though it’s relatively early days, there is massive potential here. This girl couldn’t get into the school choir yet her voice can move a room from silence to celebration in seconds. She’s got lots of gigs lined up, but if Marina And The Diamonds need a support act for their gig in The Academy in December, then Aine is the girl. Watch out Lana, there’s a new kid in town.
Review by Ciara Sheahan