Last night saw the launch of Ireland’s best domestic festival (and by that I mean a festival that has only Irish acts – unlike the bigger names of Oxegen and Electric Picnic). This year’s Hard Working Class Heroes takes place over the weekend of the 7th, 8th and 9th of October with over 100 acts playing in seven venues over three days. It’s going to be fantastic, once again. But more on that later…
Last night’s launch show started very early for a gig (even all-ages ones don’t start as early). Doors were at 6:30, with the music commencing at 7:05. Music fans, the media, and a few stragglers were crowded into the backroom of Twisted Pepper to get a sight of some of Ireland’s finest upcoming talent.
First up was boy-girl duo At Last an Atlas. It’s the moniker of Greg O’Brien from Hollows, as well as Frances Downey, who became a fully fledged member of the group in late 2009. They released debut album From Which We Were Raised earlier this year, which is full of folky electronica. A decent start to the show, here is a band which could be great if they gave Downey more room to shine as a lead vocalist. She is very much the stronger of the two singers.
Immediately after was SquAreHeAd, a Rathmines band complete with extraneous capital letters. They’re more of an old-school rock band – guitar, bass, drums, the lot – and in Roy “Sugar Burger” Duffy, they feature one of Ireland’s best unsung frontmen. The music was spot on throughout, and the band were really getting into the groove. They’re part of Popical Island, and are definitely one to watch out for, and catch at the proper HWCH festival in October. Have a listen to ‘Fake Blood’ below.
Third on were electronic duo Nouveaunoise, who are set to release their debut album Paraphrase Accolade tomorrow. I’ve gotten my hands on a copy of the album, and it’s a fine record, and should appeal to fans of And So I Watch You From Afar or the Holy Roman Army. However, I was left wanting with their live show. It’s always hard to recreate things like this in a live setting, and I feel that they need a much bigger stage presence or show to really make an impact. Perhaps at the album launch show at the Academy 2 tomorrow night, they can set things up themselves a lot better than at something like this where they only have twenty minutes to perform.
The final act of the night was Enemies, who are signed to the Richter Collective label. They’re a four-piece instrumental rock band from Wicklow are technically superb, hitting all the right notes, particularly on the exceptional ‘Fierce Pit Bosses’. They’ve just released debut album We’ve Been Talking, and have been receiving rave reviews from all over. For someone who never sings, Mark O’Brien is an excellent frontman, entertaining the audience with tales of missed drinking opportunities and other banter between songs. Although why drummer Oisin played the set with no shirt on is questionable.
This year’s Hard Working Class Heroes takes place from the 7th to the 9th of October in the following venues: Andrews Lane Theatre, The Button Factory, The Mercantile, Pravda, Sweeney’s, Twisted Pepper and The Workmans Club. If you would like to give your band the chance to play at this year’s festival, log on to http://www.hwch.net/ and click “BANDS APPLY HERE”. Similarly, if you’d like to be a photographer for the event, follow the “PHOTOGRAPHERS” link. Closing date for applications in July 30th.
Tickets for the entire weekend are €45, with nightly tickets costing €20 each. However, a limited number of early bird tickets went on sale this morning at €35. Buy them now on http://www.hwch.net/
Stream SquAreHeAd ‘Fake Blood’:
Download Nouveaunoise Paraphrase Accolade preview:
Stream Enemies We’ve Been Talking:
Stream At Last an Atlas tunes: