Hard Working Class Heroes Day Three – Review
With the final day of the annual Hard Working Class Heroes festival upon us, it’s hard not to feel an enormous sense of pride and admiration for all that the Irish music scene has to offer. From noisy psych bands to gentle singer/songwriters and everything in between, you’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse and unique weekender around. After a more than impressive two days, it’s no surprise that every venue for the final hurrah is packed.
Katie Laffan starts in The Grand Social with a soothing set of gentle indie pop tunes to kick the final night off. Having won the Hot Press ‘Big Break’ competition in 2013 at the young age of seventeen, she has been charming the country with her quirky pop music ever since. Even able to rap, international captivation is surely in store in the not too distant future. ’Bubbly’, a delightfully bouncy acoustic number is definitely worth checking out.
Following immediately after is Maija Sofia, who quite quickly changes the vibes to a more solemn, self deprecating one. Singing songs about loss and melancholy, the set is a more intimate and bare one. Subtle yet effective lead guitar work adds another layer of painful transience to the tunes. ‘Cosmonaut’ is a necessary listen for anyone into darker folk sounds.
Moving on, the experimental Strength impress with lo-fi produced tunes with buzz tooth synths and powerful vocals. The brainchild of Rory Moore, the thought process behind the act is to create something beautiful from the utmost basic things, things that would be discarded by others. An interesting concept, and whether you believe it or not, there are some tasty indie pop songs there. Check out ‘Hospital beds and drugs’ on breakingtunes.
The Mercantile now filling up nicely, Neon Atlas move centre stage. Taking the decimal levels skyward, pounding drums and piercing riffs rekindle the energy in the room. ‘I Never Felt So Good’ is aptly named, and does a great job of spreading feel good vibes with a catchy, guitar driven coda and some wonderful melodies. Their warm, fuzzy pop tunes are most definitely anything except generic sounding.
Somehow matching if not further elevating the noise levels, indie folk men Third Smoke maintain the standard with a set of powerful, jangling tunes carried by relentless waves of harmonies and catchy melodies. Probably the strongest singers at the festival thus far, a lot is owed to strong vocal interplay from the frontmen. Check out ‘People Are Messy’ for some nice indie mayhem.
Last but certainly not least are the psychedelic heroes that are This Other Kingdom. After a blisteringly good performance at the Reverberation Weekender in August, this headline set to top off the festival was always going to be a hot one. Delivering tune after tune of groovy riffs and otherworldly guitar noises, Del Kerton and the boys simply create new worlds for their audiences. Captivated under walls of reverse guitar lines and Jim Morrison esque howling, it’s hard not to feel a slight out of body experience. While drawing heavily on the 60s psych sound, they add their own unique flair by way of thumping bass lines and garage sounding guitars.‘The Day, Your Day’ and ‘He Controls The Sea’ are exceptional singles from the Telescopic LP and are necessary listens for everyone.
After a nonstop three days of musical ventures, it’s all over for another year. Dublin’s coolest venues go back to being ever so slightly less packed, and all our bands can have a well deserved sit down to celebrate a job well done. Many people will undoubtedly go home with a number of new bands to obsess over, easily being spoilt for choice. After twelve years, Hard Working Class Heroes continues to provide the best alternative festival experience in the country.
Until next year….