Last night saw some excellent live performances from many of the nominees for the Choice Music Prize 2009 (don’t worry, you are looking at the ceremony held in 2010, it’s just for the best Irish album of 2009), but by far the best were Dark Room Notes and And So I Watch You From Afar. Both bands are on their debut albums, so who knows what the future may hold awards-wise.
CODES opened the night strongly, before Julie Feeney toned it down a notch. Feeney had been the darkhorse when nominees were announced, but crept up to become favourite with PaddyPower heading into last night’s show. Her outfit last night was definitely note worthy, probably moreso than her performance. (Check it out here.)
Dark Room Notes were next up and impressed many people who may have missed them first time around, or else wrote them off. Their live show is so much better than the album. Duckworth Lewis Method released one of my favourite summer albums of 2009, but with Neil Hannon already having a gong in his possession, it was always a longshot to see them winning. Their live stint last night was fantastically entertaining though.
Valerie Francis was also very impressive. It was a nice, subtle nuanced performance which contrasted well with the all-out rock of CODES and the jangly pop of Duckworth Lewis Method. Her live take on ‘Punches’ was especially great. It was a real treat to see so many wonderful Irish acts performing a variety of genres. I suggest you grab a ticket for the Choice Music Prize 2010 Award Show as soon as possible next year.
When I saw the nominees, I didn’t actually expect The Swell Season would play, but play they did and gave a fine performance. It’s just a pity for Glen that his second album with Marketa wasn’t a patch on the first. Last night, they were joined on ‘Paper Cup’ by Leonard Cohen’s guitarist, unfortunately not Leonard himself, but it’ll do for now.
Adrian Crowley was second last on stage, but would return later to pick up his gong. He’s a damn fine performer, and definitely a worthy winner. And So I Watch You From Afar closed the night with a stonking set, infused with marvellous instrumental rock. Some people had definitely written them off before, but I’m sure they converted many last night. If I had to guess, I’d say they were probably in the running but narrowly missed out.
Laura Izibor couldn’t make it last night, due to something or other, nor could Bell x1 (touring commitments) but so many other great acts played, it didn’t make too much difference. It would’ve been nice to have them all there though. Maybe next year…
Watch the Duckworth Lewis Method at last night’s show: