Ones To Watch 2014 – Wednesday Review
Whelan’s Ones to Watch four day festival this year has got it all pop, folk, indie, electronic, experimental traditional, you name it, the best of Irish is out in force this week. Drenched to the bone from the terrible weather, I squelched on down through the streets of Portobello, down past the puddles of Camden Street, splashed by each and every motorist at every possible corner of Wexford Street to join the queue at Whelan’s side door. Come rain or hail the Irish weather would not get in the way of Ones to Watch 2014 this year, the opening night was my choice of night, because of its strong line up. Wet and soggy music correspondent, Aine Byrne reports.
On top of the list is Miriam Donohue for sure, originally from Galway came as a pleasant surprise, striking in appearance, her lyrics are similar to Suzanne Vega; she tells stories of island people and boats off the coast of Connemara, of travel and love against a backdrop of her lovely plucking guitar style complimented by her smoky voice. Her last song we clicked along like her professional percussionists, nice touch Miriam -interactive and we loved it!
All the way from Laois, Gigabyte is full of gorgeous harmonies call your name, for the love of folk. Dean Lawlor and Tara Carroll are fine young musicians and fairly impressive, and they even give Little Green Cars a run for their money. Citing musicians and bands like Damien Rice, Crystal Castles and Foo Fighters as key influencers, Gigabyte have high expectations of themselves and why not? Sure, they were as scrumptious as a warm scone with strawberry jam and cream on a Sunday afternoon. Check out their Royals – Lordes cover, very tasty indeed.
Arriving full of talent, style and attitude, SAILS shook us awake with their haunting, ambient songs. Sails consists of Darragh Cahill, Joe Furlong, Theodora Byrne, and Anthony McMahon, a Dublin based outfit formed in early 2013. Some strong lyrics too, and what a sassy keyboard player they have. Very quirky indeed with her one hand playing and one hand raised, the bass and trumpet player is so sickeningly talented I want to steal him for my band. Lead singer Darragh Cahill sounds like Win Butler from Arcade Fire, it will be interesting to watch how the next few years go for Sails, they filled the room and the crowd seemed to like them. They wouldn’t seem out of place on Jools Holland.
Fauve is pretty talented her songs are sweet and simple, very easy pace. Two gentlemen on guitar supported her soothing vocal, a very nice singer who won a prize on Phantom FM. If you like Gemma Hayes, you will like her.
I didn’t see Cal Folger Day on the night, but listen to this quirky post-Christmas song!
We suggest that you keeping an eye out for Liza Flume, Keith Moss and the Tightrope Walkers, and Conor Linnie who all enjoyed a positive 2013, plus ‘Me And My Dog’, Luke Healy sings from the heart about his hairy companion, worth a peak in 2014.
All in all, the opening night of Ones to Watch was strong, all musicians are a deserving selection of being on the ones to watch list. Leaving the venue I felt full of zeal and hope for the Irish music scene, only to get slapped on the cheek by a gust full of rain. That my friend, the Irish weather, is one of the key reasons why this country harbors a lot of home grown talent – long may it last.
Review by Aine Byrne