Alrighty then, I’m quite late getting this post out so let’s get to it. Mongoose is a band I discovered by chance in my Facebook feed as they advertised their then-upcoming new EP ‘Four’. The premise behind it of a collective of four distinctive song-writers each penning one song each in their own styles was intriguing to me, so I decided to look into them further. Mongoose consists of Molly O’Mahony on Drums – Cara Dunne on Piano, Organ and an instrument called ‘Glockenspiel’ – Ailbhe Dunne on Guitar & Bass – Muireann Ní Cheannabháin on Cello. All four contribute vocally as well. Upon listening to their prior work, a self-titled full length album ‘Mongoose’ released in 2015, I was pretty much hooked right off the bat. With a gig in their EP launch tour on November 5th at a cosy little venue ‘The Village Hall‘ on St Patrick’s Quay in Cork, I picked myself up a ticket and looked forward to seeing what I was in store for. Upon arrival to the venue I was greeted by a lovely intimate atmosphere and a splay of comfortable armchairs pointing towards the band’s play area – Now this is my kind of venue I thought to myself. I spotted a table laden with some merch items, and already convinced from what I’d heard from them so far in checking them out, I wasted no time in making some acquisitions. Picking up one of everything available (T-Shirt, EP, Signed Cover Art Print & 2 Badges) I then found the most comfortable looking arm-chair towards the front and awaited the commencement of the evening’s entertainment.
Emma Donoghue & Rebecca Ruane
Before Mongoose, there was support from two musicians playing a set together, Emily Donoghue and Rebecca Ruane. Interestingly, about a month or so before the gig, Emily became an official endorsee of luthier Cónan Kilcoyne of Kilcoyne Guitars, and thus was equipped with a lovely Acoustic Guitar branded ‘K-1’. It really looked like a special piece of work and certainly sounded brilliant when played by the talented Emily. The duo kicked off the evening with some lovely music, harmonizing well together and each showcasing their musical talents. They also brought some good spirited humour to the table with some entertaining asides in between songs.
Once the support was finished, Mongoose were up next. With their well honed unique sound, the four piece quickly established themselves with powerful vocals across the board, with each member of the band able to flit from harmonious backing vocals to prominence at the forefront of the aural attention of the listener as required. Combined with a decidedly Irish blend of Folk and Indie-Pop to their music, one can expect to be taken on a pleasant journey when listening to Mongoose play their set. Starting the set with a song titled ‘Nicer by Night’, they followed this with the first piece of the Four EP in the form of Ailbhe’s contribution ‘Bullseye’. With an up-beat Jazzy feel to the song, it served as a great song to bring up the energy and liveliness in the room, before easing the audience back again with the calmer tones of the following songs. This shortly lead us onto the second piece, Muireann’s ‘Counting Song’. With a much more lullaby-esque beginning that builds up throughout, the rich vocal harmonies continue to capture the undivided attention of the viewer.
Moving further through the set, we reach Molly’s song ‘Joie De Vivre’, with a strong Piano presence intertwined with their luscious vocals. With that, we reach our final song, which was also the first single released of the EP, ‘Old Friend’ penned by Cara. The longest of the 4 songs, it starts slowly with subtle piano and low vocals, building up as it goes along, and then hitting the mid-point takes a dramatic shift in direction with more captivating vocal beauty from the four-piece riding the song through to the end. Ending the evening with an encore in the form of a song titled ‘Old Town’, they left everyone in attendance in good spirits irregardless of how they were before the evening began. Interestingly, despite a full set of songs surrounding the central four of the evening, it wasn’t comprised of songs from their previous album, so hopefully there is more material in the works to look forward to on the horizon from Mongoose. I met the band afterwards, getting my CD signed by each of them, their signatures aligning with the portion of the artwork correlating to each of their songs which I thought was a neat touch. That’s about it for now, until next time folks, and keep on Merchin’!