Facebook = Creepy = Actually A Good Thing Sometimes?
Aloha, welcome back! So this post takes place in August, which means we’re almost caught up to real time with the gigs and stuff! But don’t worry, I’m working on building plenty of material to keep things going, this well is far from dry of ideas. Moving onwards, it’s actually Facebook’s stalker-ish features that are at fault for me ending up at the following gig. So I guess for that one I must thank Facebook for being so gosh darn creepy. I’ll tell you what happened. It was Monday the 7th of August, and my Facebook notifications did that thing where it’s like ‘You have one Friend going to an event near you!’. Typical unnecessary stalking straight to my feed, right? Well the word ‘EP Launch’ in the event title certainly did enough to pique my curiosity, so sure enough I checked the event to see what it was all about.
The gig was to be at An Spailpin Fanach (Irish named Pub/Venue in Cork City) on Wednesday the 9th of August. The artist: Sarah-Beth. I had a good feeling about it from what I read, so that evening I opened up Spotify and decided to check out this Sarah-Beth’s music. On the plus side, the EP she was launching ‘Your Muse’ was actually already uploaded to Spotify so I was able to get a proper indication of what I was in for. Not gonna lie, I was quite impressed straight off the bat. After one listen, I was intrigued enough to commit to attending the EP launch. Consisting of 6 tracks ‘Love or Lust’ | ‘Anyone’ | ‘Little Girl’ | ‘Masterpiece (Prod. and Feat. Blackheart)’ | ‘Your Muse’ and ‘Smile Just a Little’, the EP makes for some wonderful listening. From the dreamy lyrical prowess of Sarah-Beth’s vocals and her penchant for story-telling to her beautifully evocative piano, it takes the listener on a fanciful journey of romance and personal perseverance. By the time the event rolled around a day and a half later, I had listened a further 10-15 times. It genuinely was that good, perhaps one might even call it a Masterpiece (No way I wasn’t gonna fit that in somewhere).
Ronan McCann and Pizza
Puns aside, I showed up to the venue – Typically early, I gotta work on that (Naahhh I wont) – paid my entry and picked up her CD right off the bat at the door. With that acquisition out of the way, I nabbed myself a seat at a table towards the front of the room in which the stage was situated. If it wasn’t bad enough that Facebook being stalky with my friends was the reason I was here in the first place – The bloody fella behind it wasn’t even in attendance in the end after all! I’d actually kinda hoped he’d be there to catch up! First up for the evening’s entertainment there was an artist to support by the name of Ronan McCann. Equipped with an Electric Guitar, he played an interesting set of cover songs and threw an aul’ original into the mix as well to spice it up. His guitar work and his singing were on point and his performance went down well to get the evening rolling. During his set, a waft of glorious pizza started to fill the room. Sure enough out of nowhere a bunch of great big pizza boxes were making the rounds of the tables, with slices racing down gullets at record speeds (Ok maybe I’m speaking for myself on that one but it was a good pizza and I was hungry). With the mystery of the phantom pizzas not yet resolved, Ronan finished up his set and shortly after Sarah-Beth took her place on the stage.
In just about the most Irish thing that could happen that evening, Sarah-Beth quickly addressed the origin of the pizzas – Her mother had told her to make sure everyone in the audience didn’t go hungry during her EP launch, and thus with the pizzas she obliged. Nothing like an Irish Mammy I tell ya, ain’t they just the best. Initially it was just her on stage joined by violin player Caoimhe Brown. They kicked things off with a few songs from the EP, and I was glad to see and hear that it was as impressively pulled off live as it was on recording. After the first couple songs however, things took a twist very much in a different direction. As it would turn out, Sarah-Beth and the music she put out on her EP was just one side to her multi-faceted musical portfolio. Caoimhe departed the stage and in her place to join the artist of the evening was her full band consisting of Conor Nash on Bass, Cillian Plummer playing Guitar, Eimear O Sullivan AKA Blackheart on Synth, and Neil Donovan on Drums. With this change in the set-up, the evening turned down an alternative hip-hop route. You wouldn’t imagine, for example, the Sarah-Beth of the first part of the evening having a song called ‘Protein Baby’, but with this side I was unprepared for it just made perfect sense and they nailed it. They kept coming and coming as well, with an eclectic collection of songs under their belt to put on a fantastic evening for everyone that came. At the end of the day, both distinctively different parts of the performance were utterly brilliant and I enjoyed them in equal measure for what they were. I met Sarah-Beth after the performance to quickly say how awesome it was and she also kindly allowed me to take her copy of the set-list for myself.
Coming Back For More
Once really wasn’t enough, and I eagerly sought out the next opportunity to see Sarah-Beth play. I wasn’t left waiting for long, as just about 2 weeks later she was playing a set at the Bru Bar & Hostel, Cork, on August 26th with her band. I of course was in attendance for this. It was a fantastic evening and it focused heavier on the alternative hip-hop side of Sarah-Beth & Band than the side she showcases on Your Muse, with only a couple of those songs making an appearance. Their aforementioned song ‘Protein Baby’ was quite the hit on the night, as they played it about 2 and a half times, due to starting with it but stopping, presumably to fix something with their sound, then starting it again, then throwing back to it towards the end of the evening for those who missed it and wanted to hear it. This time there was also more cover songs thrown into the mix which was great. One of those actually was a cool rendition of ‘What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes. What made that even funnier for me is just the night before, I had accidentally come across Gary Keane from Stephanie Rainey’s band playing at The Oliver Plunkett venue in Cork on the Frisky Whiskey stage, and he was playing Acoustic Guitar and singing and he covered the very same song. Seems Gary never ceases to blow me away, first with his amazing percussion skills for Stephanie Rainey, and now showcasing his competency at singing and playing guitar. Not to mention what he does as a Producer outside of all these things is just phenomenal. I captured the video below on an Instagram story of Gary performing the song
Back to the evening of Sarah-Beth and band, one last thing of note was the Synth player Eimear AKA Blackheart taking over to play and sing one of her songs as well which was really cool. I’ll definitely be coming back for more from these lovely musically talented people. For anyone interested in checking them out in Cork, they’re actually playing this Friday (22nd September) at The Roundy kicking off at 9 PM. This will be part of Cork Culture Night with other talents to see as well, not one to be missed if you can make it (I unfortunately have prior commitments otherwise I’d be there!). That’s all for now folks, I’ll be back shortly with the next post! And remember, keep on Merchin’!