Ireland Music Week 2019 took over Dublin City last weekend, and after re-branding from Hard Working Class Heroes the change up resulted in a much more cohesive event. Here is the Last Mixed Tape’s highlights and take on the festival itself.
A performance plagued by sound issues at the start didn’t obfuscate the crystal clear promise of Kynsy. Melding heart-on-sleeve lyricism with jangled indie-pop gem songwriting, Kynsy’s sound is an instantly captivating one and Friday night’s set highlighted her as exciting new prospect on the scene. It was a diamond in the rough scenario, but a diamond none the less and given this is only early days for the artist the keen eared delegates will have sat up and taken notice.
Beauty Sleep have already had quiet the year, the synth-pop groups lush debut album Be Kind was a stand out, and their set at Button Factory was as joyously melodic and stylistically strong as always, add to this a confidence bouyed by a stellar 2019 and this was highlight.
New Pagans took no prisoners on Friday night. The Belfast post-punk sound rattled the foundations of the Workman’s Club as the group delivered a compelling mix between bewitching and brooding.
Thumper sent yet another shot across the Irish mainstream as the band’s gathering momentum continued to roll on with a visceral, distorted, destructive set that conveyed the band’s stature as one of our best live acts and how recent touring has cemented Thumper’s noise-ridden music into something that needs to be witnessed.
Laura Elizabeth Hughes
Contrasting the some of the more visceral acts on show this weekend, Laura Elizabeth Hughes portrayed enchanting music that made her stand out from the pack with a beguiling vocal and intricate songs. Hughes is with out doubt one to watch.
Lydia Ford took the opportunity to showcase her sound at Ireland Music Week and ran with it. Delivering a performance that was self-assured and engaging, the alt-pop sensibilities of her music shone through in a performance that more than matched her studio work.
A slick pop sound dominated proceedings during Elkin’s Saturday night slot at Ireland Music Week, the duo’s harmonies and vocal interplay was at the forefront of a performance that showcase Elkin as an act with a deft touch when it comes to pop songwriting.
Hot on the heels of their brilliant new single ‘On The Record’, Autre Monde came to the stage at the Workman’s Club to deliver one of the most performative sets of the weekend as front man Paddy Hanna wrapped the enthralled with a jerking, jolting, swaggering presence that was a joy to watch.
Ireland Music Week 2019 itself…
And so it goes, Ireland Music Week has emerged from the ashes of Hard Working Class Heroes with a renewed sense of direction. Through the inclusion of Lost Lane as it’s hub of operations, the return of the Button Factory, new branding, wide ranging line up curation and a bustling festival vibe in each venue (although the Grand Social Ballroom wasn’t as impressive) for international industry delegates to get a taste of both our artists live and our industry at work, IMW 2019 was able to give those in attendance a glimpse into the strength and depth the Irish music has at a grass roots level and beyond.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and that’s where Ireland Music Week comes in. It’s not a celebration of the Irish Music scene per se, we’re past that and should now step boldly into the international music scene with a sense of confidence and belonging. And IMW could very well give our artists the platform to stand upon and have their voices heard on a global scale. Continued international interest in our artists is good for everyone and a scene that can present itself in a light that matches the art being made within that milieu is already one step ahead.
All photos by Stephen White. Check out the full gallery here.