CORK ON THE WILD SIDE

Hot Press - - Pixie Geldof -

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.

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