Other Voices Derry - Day Two: A saturated Saturday of live music
There’s no time for lying on on the Saturday at Other Voices in Derry. The music trail begins at 1pm and it's to another church we go. This time, it's the bright hall of St Augustines.
"Last time I was in church they poured water on me and slapped me," quips the first act on stage, Declan McLaughlin during his set of country folk acoustic songs. “I wouldn’t want to do this every week,” he says sounding very comfortable on the altar.
He's followed by Pearse McLoughlin and Justin Grounds' collaborative project Idiot Songs. Their autoharp, looped beats and violin-heavy songs resonate in the church hall, a comforting Saturday afternoon thematically tied together by songs inspired by Dostoevsky's literary classic.
Laura McGarrigle's atmospheric orchestral songs as Gaze Is Ghost made with piano, violin, guitar and McGarrigle's delicately emotional voice. It's an impressive set that shows much promise particularly on Invisible Cities, her most well-rounded track, which is reminiscent of recent OV guest Agnes Obel.
At Jim Carroll's Banter talks, Conor Masterson explains the 18-month process behind the making of The Frames documentary In The Deep Shade while David Caffrey recounted the road that lead him to working on the critically acclaimed show Love/Hate including a hilarious anecdote about the wild behaviour of some Wolf Of Wall Street-style financiers of his film Grand Theft Parsons.
The close proximity of the late-afternoon events mean that we can dip in to have a look at a few happenings. Sive is showcasing her pleasant bright plucked folk music in front of a crowd enjoying their tea and iced cupcakes in The Cake Shop. Invaderband have a full audience for their sets in the Echo Echo dance theatre with a vista of Derry city as their backdrop through large bright windows. Young Letterkenny singer songwriter Eve Murtagh leaves a big impression at Banter session in the cottage. Some talent for a 16 year-old.
To the main event in the Glassworks, where the crew are ready but there’s some last minute floor drilling to be done. Walking On Cars are a bit of an Other Voices success story, by way of Dingle, seeing as the band were just young 'uns when this OV thing started 12 years ago. The band have risen to the level of sell out shows around Ireland rapidly, their mainstream-leaning songs have found a fervent audience that has lead them to being the first OV hometown Dingle band to play the TV show. And they're endearingly grateful. They're only starting out on their journey but they've got youth, sold-out gigs and a young audience on their side. The singalong clapalong Catch Me If You Can is the Dingle band's big tune.
Things get louder for the rest of the night. The Bohicas bring some London rock’n’roll swagger. Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly is here with some of his seasoned music mates as Little Matador. There is a palpable Queens Of The Stone Age feel to the band's crashing rock tunes. Guitars are played with a zealous force but the songs are built so that the chorus melodies can stay with you.
My personal highlight of the night was getting to know Glasgow’s The Amazing Snakeheads, through a rip-roaring introductory set that serves as the band’s first ever TV appearance. They come across like a blood Orange Juice, a "mad, bad to the bone" band with a singer that scowls in a thick Scottish accent and who plays his guitar with a gangster scorn. He performs like Trainspotting Begbie's younger brother, menacing and psychotic energy waiting to erupt.
It's like watching an early Arctic Monkeys who have lost their jobs, been dumped, listen to nothing but sleazy garage rock and have nothing else to lose but their psychedelic minds (and shirts).
Pumped by that experience we seek out more late night revelry on the music trail and there’s plenty to be had - Sullivan & Gold in the Grand Central Bar, Bouts in Bound For Boston, Dingle acoustic singer Riona in Tinneys and The Wood Burning Savages in Sandinos top up our music quota to 18 different bands in one day. And we’re not done yet...