IT’S THAT time of year again, when Ireland’s best signed and unsigned bands come together, play half-hour sets in one of 6 venues around the Temple Bar area, and hope they’ll impress the numerous punters, media folk and international booking agents that will be in attendance this year (apparently there’ll be representatives from festivals like SXSW, Primavera Sound and Midem schmoozing and quaffing all the free Bulmers Berry they can get their hands on).
This year, I’ve actually done my homework properly and listened to every band on the HWCH schedule. As always, there are some good and not-so-good acts in there, but below are the ones (some of which I’ve never heard/of and am looking forward to checking out) that are worthy of poking your head in the door.
It feels like there’s a bit of a sea-change in the offing with Irish music this year. Some of our acts have gone on to gain plaudits internationally over the last 12 months with excellent debuts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of a buzz there is amongst the up-and-coming acts riding the crest of that wave.
And this year also sees the best collection of venues (in my opinion) used for HWCH, not least the lovely new Grand Social and Workman’s Club. No more Academy 2! No more Hub! Huzzah!
It should also be noted that most of my picks are guitar bands and indiepop bands, primarily because I like guitar bands and indiepop bands. There’s plenty of electronica and rock on the schedule, if that happens to be your thing. Have a look for yourself here.
Autumn Owls – The Button Factory @ 8.30pm – Edgy indie-pop
Yeh Deadlies – The Grand Social @ 8.50pm – ramshackle girl/boy indie-pop twee rock
Enemies – The Grand Social @ 10.10pm – instrumental rock with dazzling contorted melodies
Escape Act – Sweeney’s @ 10.15pm – Bright indie songs that groove and tick nicely along
House of Dolls – Twisted Pepper @ 10.30pm – Shoegaze, feedback-ravaged rock ‘n’ roll
Halves – The Workman’s Club @ 11pm – Swoonsome, slow-building post-rock
Nouveanoise – The Grand Social @ 11.30pm – smart, sharp glitchy electronica
Jefl & Hyde – Sweeney’s @ 12.15am – Tight, confident, jerky, well-produced indiepop in the vein of Two Door Cinema Club
Conor Walsh – Mercantile @ 7.30pm – Stark piano music, no vocals, influenced by Satie, Glass and umm.. Aphex Twin?
Brad Pitt Light Orchestra – The Button Factory @ 8pm – Quirky, semi-orchestral indie pop
Our Little Secrets – Mercantile @ 8.15pm – Completely endearing, gentle acoustic folk tunes that’ll charm your socks off
Funeral Suits – The Button Factory @ 8.45pm – Electronica-flavoured indie rock
Sacred Animals – Mercantile @ 9pm – Ghostly, glitchy ambient folktronica
John, Shelley & The Creatures – The Grand Social @ 9.30pm – Twangy guitar-rock with an easygoing lilt – CANCELLED
Biggles Flys Again – Twisted Pepper @ 9.45pm – Warm, melodic acoustic folk-pop with plenty of harmonies
Sweet Jane – The Button Factory @ 10.15pm – Good ol’ fashioned female fronted shady rock ‘n’ roll
Talulah Does the Hula – The Workman’s Club @ 10.15pm – girl-fronted quintet with strong indiepop pedigree
The Lost Brothers – Twisted Pepper @ 10.30pm – Pitch-perfect acoustic harmony duo with quietly charming songs and dazzling future ahead
Futures Apart – The Workman’s Club @ 11pm – Stomping, danceable rock
RSAG – The Button Factory @ 11pm – Drummer, singer and one man band extraordinaire
Colenso Parade – Sweeney’s @ 11.35pm – Bright, bubbly guitar-pop
The Crayon Set – Sweeney’s @ 12.55am – Belle & Sebastian/Camera Obscura-style rough ’round the edges indiepop
Squarehead – The Workman’s Club @ 8.45pm – Jangly, charming slacker-pop
Kid Karate – Mercantile @ 9pm – Noisy alt-rock duo with sharp, sucker-punch tunes
Bouts – Twisted Pepper @ 9.10pm –vocals that yelp and vaporise into offbeat, serrated alt-rock tunes
Norabelle – Sweeney’s @ 9.30pm – Piano-led, stark, melancholic harmonies
Grand Pocket Orchestra – Mercantile @ 9.45pm – Fun, rickety blasts of indie-pop with a big sappy grin across its face
Awake Young Soldiers – Twisted Pepper @ 9.50pm – Rousing folk rock, girl-boy vocals. Think Mumford & Sons, Noah and the Whale
Le Galaxie – The Button Factory @ 10pm – Big, epic electro-rock tunes with a gauzy shimmer
La Faro – Twisted Pepper @ 10.30pm – Big, loud, grizzly rock ‘n’ roll from Belfast
We Should Be Dead – Mercantile @ 10.30pm– Polished, glittery synth-pop with hugely commercial, but likeable slant
Trophy Boyfriend – The Workman’s Club @ 11pm – Waves of melodic electronica, layered vocals and chiming effects
The Cast of Cheers – The Workman’s Club @ 11.45pm – Tight, twisted alt-rock that bubbles, simmers and pops with a bang