The official Choice Website hasn’t been updated yet, but by now you should all know that Jape and Richie Egan took home the ten grand prize. Hopefully it’ll put him back into the album charts too.
Last night’s show was an extravaganza of music. Four of the ten acts did not perform due to other commitments (not sure why soundtrack maestro David Holmes didn’t play, he was in attendance. I’m sure it was him I spotted!), but the six who did play showed while Ireland’s music scene is so great in 2009.
Eventual winner Jape opened proceedings with ‘Christopher and Anthony’, the song with the truly infectious chorus that just won’t leave your head. ‘Graveyard’ works so well in a live setting, and shows that he was a worthy winner of the award. Let’s just hope he spends the money on musical equipment and nothing culinary!
Messiah J and the Expert were next up and came on early. Now I’m not usually a lover of hip-hop, but I must say I was really impressed by their performance. What makes them special for an Irish act is that they don’t sound like a bunch of Irish yokels trying to rap, they actually sound like accomplished rappers. A real hip-hop group, which will no doubt be an inspiration for kids in the future. They’ve opened Ireland up to hip-hop.
One of the real highlights for me was the first chance to see Mick Flannery live. I wondered how his stripped back material would work in a live setting, and it was much better than I could have imagined. ‘Wait Here’ was so much darker live, and shows what a great storyteller Mick is. ‘Tomorrow’s Paper’ was probably my favourite song of the evening. It was a stark contrast to ‘Wait Here’, and really makes me want to see him perform a full set.
I missed the start of Halfset due to bathroom commitments (if Oppenheimer can have commitments, why can’t I be allowed to pee?). Their live set reminded me of the Postal Service, who I really adore. They’re a proper band which I liked, none of this press play on the laptop nonsense that you get from some of those dancier artists.
R.S.A.G. was different to what I expected. Forget the new Bell x1 record, Jeremy Hickey is the man who really embodies Talking Heads. Well a Talking Heads with a lot more drumming. It was a great spectacle of a show, the full-on sights and sounds things you don’t expect from a smaller less accomplished artist. He should be massive.
The night ended with a set from Fight Like Apes. As usual, it was a great set from one of Ireland’s best young bands. I’m really excited to hear some new material from them and see where they go next, because at the moment it looks like they’re really starting to take off. Thus it was great to see them in a venue like this before they move on to the Olympia and maybe even the O2.
It didn’t take long for the winner to be announced, none of the dramatic pregnant pausing after “The winner is”. Not begrudging Jape for winning (because the album is excellent), but it is a clever choice from the judges after the alienation some people felt with Super Extra Bonus Party last year. They were dead right.
And the winner is: