A Random Discovery
Alright folks! Got some more cool music from the vibrant Cork music scene to bring to ya. This one took place in the space of time between the 2 Sarah-Beth gigs I attended, on August 19th. It was quite random how I ended up at this gig actually, I only knew about it because of Facebooks Ads (So hey it actually works sometimes, fancy that) that caught my attention enough to give them a little look-see. Touted as “one of the most promising up-and-coming bands in Ireland” on the event page for the gig, I was intrigued enough as to whether this claim could be backed up and took a chance on it by buying a ticket to go and see for myself. I had a quick gander at their single ‘Leave it All Behind’ but that’s all I checked out before attending. The venue was the ever-fantastic Cyprus Avenue in Cork, always a pleasure to see music there. Joining them to open up on the night was Cork artist Actor Actor.
The night rolled around and I typically arrived too early like usual. When I go to gigs at Cyprus Avenue and I wait outside, I always notice people arriving who are quite unsure of the etiquette around Cyprus Avenue gigs (Where the entrance is, how long after ‘doors open’ will doors open etc.) so I tend to end up helping people who show up looking a little lost as to what happens next. Nonetheless, doors opened and we went inside. Curiously, there was a very large population of people from Germany attending the gig which I thought to be interesting. I wondered what the particular draw to this gig had been. With that Rory, the artist known as Actor Actor, took to the stage with his acoustic guitar to kick things off. A talented singer songwriter in both lyrical and instrumental capacity, Actor Actor’s songwriting prowess has been described not just as the art of a songwriter but that of a composer. It’s a difference that Rory was keen to showcase with his performance on the night, and at that he did a fantastic job. At times slept on by the crowd in attendance who seemed keen enough to keep up conversations during the performance, it didn’t rock the artist who continued to play a solid set which I enjoyed thoroughly. I was thankful for the opportunity to make this new discovery of another artist for myself, having seen the name ‘Actor Actor’ briefly in circulation before the gig but only now being properly exposed to it. Besides an upcoming gig at The Barbers in Dublin on September 30th, Actor Actor isn’t set to play much live shows for a while as he concentrates his efforts on creating a new EP. Rory currently has a 4 track EP he released in 2016 called Twisted Wrecks available to listen to on Spotify, Bandcamp or Itunes. The titular song of the EP has a music video that I’d recommend checking out here.
The Band Anna
With Actor Actor finishing his set, it was time for The Band Anna. I have to say I was really excited to see how this would unfold. I knew next to nothing about them, but my expectations were high. With that said, the quartet took to the stage, with James McInerny on Guitar, Ryan Parsons on Violin, Nathan Daly on Percussion, and James Brown on Bass. Also joining them on the sidelines to back them up was a Cello player who I really hope I am not mis-remembering the name of when I say his name was Tom. He was cool, whether he’s Tom or Not-Tom. You may realize I didn’t include a singer when listing the band members at the top. And that is an interesting point to raise, the answer to which left me dumbfounded as the night unfolded. As it turns out, at a whim of whichever song may need it, they each have incredible merits to lead the singing in their songs. First up to sing was Percussionist Nathan, who started the evening on a Cajon which I’m always a fan of seeing brought out, to open with their main single ‘Leave It All Behind’ for which they have the most acclaim thus far (85,000 listens on Spotify and 50,000 views of the music video on Facebook, check that out for sure). I just want to take a moment here to talk about the Violinist Ryan, because holy moly he is not of this Earth I swear. The entire band are amazingly talented instrumentally and work off of each other seamlessly, but my personal standout has got to be Ryan’s violin. It’s amazing to watch, he’s very animated on stage when he plays it, and it’s unreal to listen to and compliments the band’s sound excellently.
After ‘Leave It All Behind’, Nathan sets aside the Cajon and hops behind the drum-set at the back. And then they break out a song called ‘Niamhs Song’, for which the primary singer is Ryan, and I’m blown away twice over by the same person. His vocals and the power and emotion behind them, his simultaneous pulling of the heart-strings with his accompanying violin, and the band behind to complete the sound, I was entirely moved and awe-struck watching it. By now I’ve already heard two immensely talented singers own their songs and I’m having a fantastic time. Sure doesn’t James at the front with his Acoustic Guitar then go and break out into song for the next one and I’m sold completely. Other such switches include Ryan picking up the Bass for a song or two, and the Bassist James picking up an Electric Guitar in it’s place. At this point I wasn’t wondering whether it was worth paying money to see this band I had only just heard of – I was only wondering why I wasn’t paying more or why I hadn’t heard of them earlier. 15 Months before-hand they started by playing in the local park, and now there’s no telling how high they may rise. They’re just so incredibly fun to watch, and their dynamic together is a sight to behold. It is such a special thing when talented musicians like this find a mix that works together so well and is so authentic and I just love it.
A healthy dose of tragedy
I’m sitting here on the 20th of September writing this post to publish on the 21st, but I’d prefer to have been late with the post had I realized I missed out on the chance to see The Band Anna play a secret gig in Cork literally 2 hours ago. I somehow didn’t catch their post about it and now I’m sad. It is what it is, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them again which I won’t have to wait to long for, as they have a free gig at Midnight in the Crane Lane Theatre Cork on the 28th of September. Highly recommend checking that out.
Gotta have that merch though
The lads are also as much craic off the stage as they are on the stage. (For any non-Irish readers, it means they’re fun pretty much). They do a vlog series on their Facebook page which is super cool. They did a vlog about this gig in particular which you can check out here. After the show they were selling their CD for their EP ‘Money in the Shoebox’ so I of course picked that up. They had a lady by the name of Keira doing the CD selling and she was great fun to chat to as-well. Not that I needed it with the intent to buy the CD anyway, but she was really good at promoting the content of the EP with pizzazz! She took interest in my plans to write about the night when I mentioned it and ensured the lads from the band came to say hello and sign my CD which was really cool of her and it was nice to meet them all. That’s about it for this time, I’ll see you all again on Monday the 25th as a familiar name makes a second appearance on the blog, it’s gonna be a good one! And remember, keep on Merchin’!