Laura Marling was born in 1990! (Oh, and a Lisa Hannigan review of sorts)

I thought she was some thirty-something tortured artiste. Holy shit.

And speaking of young lasses, the Doctor took me to see Lisa Hannigan at Whelan’s last night. Much enthusiasm from my little sister on Facebook and there was obviously much enthusiasm from many at the sold out gig, so I was expecting great things. I’ll leave aside the toadstool lamp and the cutesy boho fairy lights for the minute, that sort of froth can be overlooked if the music transcends it. 

Lisa Hannigan & Rhob Cunningham, originally uploaded by fionamorgan (who was taken out and killed by someone in Hannigan’s entourage shortly after this photo was taken)

Lisa’s voice is a truly lovely thing. A little lost in the mix in the lively moments, but the potential was obvious in some of the quieter tracks. The tracks themselves are of varying quality: harmless jaunty fare that could soundtrack a Meteor ad or else ‘start quiet and get wailsome (with hurdy gurdy)’. Tellingly, they did a storming cover of an Iron & Wine track towards the end which revealed an energy and urgency missing from the rest of the night.

Anyway, I really don’t want to bitch, but I was disappointed. There were some guys in the front row who were obviously big fans, mouthed the lyrics and seemed a little in awe. First a lady came down and asked them not to take photos. They couldn’t resist of course and they were admonished again from one of the musicians. Sister, puleaze. Maybe she’s Native American.

Maybe I was in a funny place last night, as I wanted to punch all four of her band when they came out. Suits, waistcoats, lots of showbiz gurning and mugging. Maybe they were overcompensating as they did seem to lose a lot of the attitude as the gig unfolded and they no longer distracted from the star, who herself warmed up as the night progressed. Oh, give the manager, Una, her own show – she can handle a Stylophone with dignity and aplomb.

So far so meh. In stark contrast was supporting act Kevin Ryan. Ryan and his three bandmates could certainly not be accused of being boring. He’s an energetic performer with quite original vocals and he really means it man – he sweated buckets in the engaging 40 odd minutes onstage. There was no stage hogging from the band either -they sympathetically and effectively wrapped Ryan’s words in Sigur Rós-like ambient (dare I say) drone. An excellent surprise and worth investigation.

UPDATE: Listening to the studio versions at the moment, and, yes, they are far better than what I heard/saw last night. That said, several tracks just seem to go by without much todo, but a couple, for example Pistachio, are excellent.

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9 comments

  1. eguinan

    Don’t mind me. I’m not in a ‘whimsy pop pixie’ place at the moment! I’d imagine the whole thing works better in the studio than grimy noisy Whelans with it’s camera-wielding ingrates! 😀

  2. doktohkitteh

    methinks we will buy her album. unless through some mystical means, her band mates annoy me. in which case i shall simply “borrow” what i want and leave them in destitution; which given the attitude on display last night i think is rightly deserved.
    Pistachio is lovely.

  3. doktohkitteh

    call it karma, but her album is available as a torrent. I for one never expected a relatively two bit act to appear online so soon. perhaps we underestimated her popularity; though i prefer to think it as karmic retribution.

  4. eguinan

    Em, yes, I ‘sampled’ it that way too. Oh hell, we gave her €40 and an hour and a half yesterday, let’s not feel too bad. The Irish Times gave it 5 stars!

  5. Pingback: acarbery » Blog Archive » Favourite Records 2008

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