Just a matter of hours after the Emma Langford Album Launch, I was back out for another gig, this time to see Cry Monster Cry play at Coughlan’s Live Music Venue with support from James OR on October 15th. It was because of James OR that the name Cry Monster Cry had crossed my radar recently, though he wasn’t initially billed to be the support artist for their Cork show. That slot was supposed to be Sara Ryan but James ended up becoming the support artist a few days before the gig. I was already intrigued to check out Cry Monster Cry, so when James was announced to support it was a no-brainer and I had a ticket purchased within minutes. James OR has played main stage at such festivals as Indiependence, and on a number of occasions been called on by The Coronas to support for them, including Live at the Marquee this year and their album launch secret gig at Cyprus Avenue in the summer. Despite being acquainted with and following James musically on and off for nearly a decade, I had yet to see him play live during his career as a solo artist, with the exception of seeing his cover band play. I’ve been highly anticipating the day I’d finally get to catch him live and get him onto the blog at last – Having previously mentioned him for his influence in bringing Mechner and Cassidy Club to my attention, and once at a whim putting together this shoutout for his current latest single ‘Berlin’ on social medias.
Moving onwards, I was not only highly excited to witness James OR and Cry Monster Cry, but also to experience my first gig in Coughlan’s, a venue which I’ve heard many great things about. I showed up on the evening in question, and after a brief catch up with James, nabbed myself a seat inside at the front row. As far as music venues go, it’s one of the coziest and intimate atmospheres I’ve been in, with something in the air that makes it feel like any given gig in there has the potential to be extra magical. I’d liken it in that way to Connolly’s of Leap in West Cork, an alluring venue for artists far and wide despite it’s size. James was first up to play on the evening, just he and his acoustic guitar, his band not in attendance. He played a lovely set of songs, including hit single ‘The Fear’ from his ‘Cold Open’ EP, which I’ll put the fantastic music video for down below. Heading into a song on the topic of anxiety, he shared an interesting story from before the gig that captured the sense of the song quite well. To tell the story briefly, he was driving to a different gig in an unfamiliar location recently, and ended up getting lost a few times. Every time he’d go to ring someone to get a helping hand and put him back on the right track, his head would go into overdrive about how he was being silly or a burden on that person’s day or that they’d think he was a fool and he’d hesitate to ask for their help because of it, and yet when he rang none of these things happened and they sorted him out right away. I thought it was an interesting little insight into what was also a great song. Another interesting moment was when he told us about some great advice he once received, that if you are ever meeting someone who you know you wont see again for quite some time, don’t do it at night and don’t do it over booze. Solid advice, as he proceeded to sing a song about the time he did both of those things.
Cry Monster Cry
Up next was Cry Monster Cry, consisting of brothers Richie and Jamie Martin. Quite fitting to my comparison of Coughlan’s to Connolly’s of Leap, Jamie Martin was in fact wearing one of their shirts on this very evening! It was evident from the very first song they played that I was going to enjoy these two very much. They had vocal harmonies between them that were simply fantastic, and incredible instrumentation too, with Martin playing Acoustic Guitar and Jamie occasionally picking up a Banjo for songs here and there. Their story-telling both on and off the songs was on point, with good dashes of humour and fun interspersed – Often followed by an apology for telling fun stories and then playing depressing songs to bring the audience down. Nonetheless, the brothers brought a magical quality of music to the stage that was simply brilliant and had me on their side on no time, happy to be discovering yet more awesome music. See below this piece for the music video to their song ‘Old at Heart’, one of their many songs that I very much liked.
I hadn’t known what to expect in terms of Merch heading into the gig, but thankfully I was with decent funds on the evening in question, as a counter awaited me on the way out that had not been present on the way in. First things first, I spotted quickly that James OR was selling his debut EP Cold Open on CD, so I quickly righted the crime of me not owning it before this point in time (Though it had seen it’s fair share in my regular Spotify listens) and snapped that one up. After that was settled, I allowed my eyes to focus on a particular object of desire that had been dragging on their attention since I saw the table – VINYL! Their album ‘Rhythm Of Dawn’ was being sold on Vinyl, with a really cool, eye-catching illustration, so I added that to my collection. I nabbed myself a Cry Monster Cry badge too, met the two brothers briefly, and ran home to put the vinyl straight onto the turntable for a spin… And then corrected the speed when they sounded like women and I realized I had last been listening to a 45 RPM vinyl, as opposed to the regular 33 RPM.
News & Announcements
There’s a personal announcement I want to make and also a few bits about James OR I would like to include below. Firstly, though I’m not particularly the kind of person that puts together Spotify Playlists, I’ve started an official Merch Perch Spotify playlist. The playlist primarily consists of music from artists that have shown up along the path of The Merch Perch, and shall continue to grow with each and every post and new-release from previously featured artists. I recommend dropping by and enabling shuffle mode and giving it a whirl, it’s a hectic and fun mix that can take you in many musical directions. I’ve added a selection of songs from both James OR and Cry Monster Cry into the playlist, along with something from everyone that’s appeared so far with music on Spotify.
I would also just like to share a cool tidbit of news about James Or. Firstly, he is currently working with the fabulous Monique Studios on his debut album ‘All The Beds We’ve Been In’ which is sure to be amazing. Pictures and videos that he’s shared from the studio process so far on the likes of his Instagram story look equal parts productive and fun, so all that positive energy and enjoyment for what he’s doing is surely pouring directly into the album. Secondly, for those who don’t know James OR, he is something of a Podcast aficionado. He loves the medium of podcasts and listens to many on the regular. He also has ‘The Gift of the Gab’. The fella can talk and hold great conversations and write great songs. It’s only natural therefore that he has recently started up an amazing Podcast which he has called ‘The NORM’. His first episode came out on November 1st where he had a brilliant discussion with Gemma Sugrue, which I reviewed on The Merch Perch facebook page and will put below this paragraph. His next podcast comes out on November 15th, and features the wonderful Emma Langford who my previous blog post was about, I’d definitely recommend checking that out when it’s released. He puts these out for free, however if you would like to support him in his podcasting and album recording endeavors, he has a Patreon page which you can find here. Patrons of James get exclusive access to a monthly opinion piece titled ‘The AbNORM’ which ought to be pretty cool too.