CORK ON THE WILD SIDE
The Bow St. Sessions, a collaboration between Jameson and Hot Press, recently hit
Cork – and there was a special flavour to the occasion. Michael McGrath-Bryan reports.
An ongoing collaboration between Jameson and
Hot Press, the Bow St. Sessions gigs have been providing Dublin music fans with a brilliant series of once-off events over the past 15 months or so.
Not to be outdone, Cork has also got in on the action – and what an occasion it was!
The historic ballroom in Crane Lane Theatre was transformed for the occasion, and as your writer rolled in, the venue’s trademark muted lighting was being warmed up, creating a unique atmosphere for what turned out to be a jam-packed night.
Beatboxers Amaron + Magic opened the show in impressive style. A collaboration of champion beatsmiths, they showcased the deft vocal acrobatics that won Amaron the Irish Beatboxing Championship in 2015, and Magic the 2016 edition. Robo vocals, wubsteppy wubs, subbass frequencies, and in Magic’s case, chordal vocalisations (!) abounded throughout. It was heady stuff. Amaron bust out a medley of modern standards, but the highlight of their set was the superb collaboration, a super-tight display of voiceshredding dexterity.
Pleasure Beach have been much-fancied and favourably reviewed by many in the Irish music media, and they are making impressive headway – with good reason: their reverb-drenched dreampop contains enough jangling riffage and swelling synths to keep shoegazers happy, while also trading in very likable hooks and harmonies with wider appeal. Their older material played well in the now-packed Crane, and felt warm and resonant within its walls. But there were surprises too. They debuted two new songs and if their stuff to date has generally been inward-looking, these two synth-heavy cuts seemed to focus much more confidently outwards. By the band’s triumphant body-language, it’s clear that they’re preparing for big things off the back of this new body of work, which is radio-ready and big as the arenas they must surely see, just over the horizon. To the delight of fans, they finished on big single ‘Go’, concluding with a noisy swell of synths.
The crowd surged to the front for Wyvern Lingo. In a relatively short time, this all-female trio has amassed a dedicated following, working intricate, lush three-part harmonies around a nimble, soulful, groovy strain of pop. The band duly brought out their crowdpleasers, with ‘Some Sign’ and ‘Running’ inspiring mass singalongs. There was also a live airing for their cover of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’, which was premiered in a recent Today FM session.
The night ended with a mega collaboration between every act on the bill. Pleasure Beach and Amaron + Magic returned to the stage amid a phalanx of synths, pedals and mic stands. The crowd held firm in anticipation and everyone got plugged in, and were rewarded amply with a rocking tenheaded rendition of synthpop firebrand Christine and the Queens’ ‘It’. That was followed by a suitably barn-storming take on Outkast’s signature hit, ‘Hey Ya’. It was a great way to end a celebratory night.
A packed-out Crane Lane proved to be a fine setting for the Bow St. Sessions. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before these very special collaborative nights return to the real capital.