THECAT LAUGHED

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES -

Words and sto­ry­telling were an un­ex­pected thread run­ning through a weekend of in­tense fes­ti­val­ing that kicked off in Kilkenny, where Cat Laughs threw an epic 20th birth­day bash. This was a marathon of mirth with 21 co­me­di­ans squashed into a three-and-a-half hour show.

More than 1,300 people sold out The Hub at Cil­lín Hill; it was rem­i­nis­cent of live­stock marts also held in the large space. Pos­si­bly the only venue in the coun­try that smells strongly of cow-shite and Jeyes Fluid, but there’s worse kinds of shite and it proved to be a won­der­ful night.

Tommy Tier­nan tore it apart and stole the show with some in­tense and painfully funny sto­ry­telling, scry­ing deeply into the Ir­ish psy­che with his black mir­ror. Tommy is ca­pa­ble of ver­bal chi­canery wor­thy of a seat in the Rose Dome in Au­gust – “Ye should have seen her lads, she was gor­geous. She’d make the sausages stand up­right in the pan.” Imag­ine Tommy pre­sent­ing the Rose of Tralee!? Some­body sort that shit out.

At For­bid­den Fruit, Pub­lic En­emy dropped lyri­cal bombs. Chuck D recit­ing pas­sages from the old-skool tes­ta­ment, strik­ing oc­ca­sional res­o­nances in 21st-century Dublin. Fla­vor Flav pro­vided light re­lief, in­ter­ject­ing and chirp­ing away like a hip-hop ver­sion of “The Bird” O’Don­nell.

Af­ter the gig, the lads ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to go on the lash in town, but I couldn’t fol­low. Four days fes­ti­valling had taken a toll; just the day be­fore I’d gone for ‘a pint’ in Lis­towel at lunchtime, only to re­alise that if you dip your toes in the wa­ter of a Lis­towel pub, they’ll grab you by the leg and pull you right in, whether you’ve brought your togs on or not.

The sto­ries thrown up by a night on the tear with Pub­lic En­emy would be the stuff of leg­end, but be­ing part of a ses­sion in the back of John B Keane’s pub, lis­ten­ing to songs you’ve known most of your life, sung by the people who wrote them, felt spe­cial. Any­way, Chuck D seemed kinda cranky and no­body in Lis­towel gave a hoot about what time it was.

Safe trav­els, don’t die.

ayearoffes­ti­valsinire­land.com

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