After seeing Loah support Oh Wonder in Dublin (Blog post here) and finding out she would be playing Cyprus Avenue in Cork, my regular venue for good music, I was all over the opportunity to see her again. Coming up to the event, it was announced quite last minute that the support act would be none other than Anna-Mieke. This had me delighted, as I had been waiting and waiting for the opportunity to catch Anna-Mieke play a live set ever since I first heard her at Sounds From a Safe Harbour (And another point for event that keeps on giving goes to…), so naturally I was just that extra bit more pumped to see what was already going to be a great live show. I turned up and waited for the evening to be getting on, and sure enough kicking things off was Anna-Mieke, joined once again by the ever trusty musician in tandem Brían Mac Gloinn of Ye Vagabonds, my second time in his musical presence that week.
I quickly gathered that they were playing this one without the Harmonium – No matter, while the instrument had been a bit of an obsession of mine because of the initial mystery to me of what it actually was, I was more than content for them to pluck their Acoustic and Bouzouki strings and deliver their harmony rich vocals. Their rich and passion-infused vocal performances were everything I had remembered and admired them to be from the first time, and then some. Understandably, as an 8 string instrument, the Bouzouki in particular can be a feisty beast to tame and tune between songs, but the duo certainly had their fair share of banter in these moments to carry the momentum through. I love me a good joke, and this particular one that Brían delivered was definitely one I’m keeping in the memory banks for a good while. As he set about tuning one of the guitars as per usual, he lead us into the joke by saying “Why did the Dog fall over in the kitchen?”. Leaving it hanging for quite some time as he finished the tuning in silence, he finally looked up after it was completed and simply said “awkward paws”. There was no drummer but my head definitely added a *Ba dum Tsh* moment after.
Next up to the stage to carry the evening through to the end was Loah, this time she was joined by her full band. And blimey, what a difference that was to make. Loah is an artist I have had the pleasure of discovering not just once but twice. The first time, with her stripped back set to support Oh Wonder in Dublin, was brilliant. But with her full set-up and headlining the show, it reached another level altogether. The energy levels were incomparable, at it’s highest levels Loah could be witnessed in free-flow expressive dance as she sang and the band too were hyped and putting on an impressive show. A nice added touch was Loah had each of her band members wearing her Merch shirt as they played – A nice touch of endorsement for their product and just a cool look for the lot of them in general.
Loah’s show was part of a tour for her ‘This Heart’ EP, so naturally that was the main focus of the set, though it wasn’t without some interesting extras. Starting out the set with 3 tracks from the EP, we were then treated to a new song called ‘Open Up’. Furthermore as the first show on the tour, Loah revealed that we were the first audience to be hearing it played live. It was a brilliant track, and merely the first of two to be making their debut’s on this evening. Also to make it’s first appearance, and more so Loah stressed that we were among the first people in the world to hear the finished product, was a song called ‘Longing’ which she worked with BANTUM to create and hopefully we’ll be seeing released at some point this year. She’s worked with BANTUM before on a song called ‘Take It’ in 2016. BANTUM himself was not present for this gig, though it would have been a cool extra touch, as he’s another artist I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time at the Sounds From a Safe Harbour festival.
Heading into the last stretch of the set, the energy was still escalating more and more, culminating in a fantastic performance of the song ‘Nothing’ from the EP, which was also released as a music video. Personally this song is one of my favourites off the EP and translated to the live stage is equally as impressive. This concluded the set, with the exception of an encore in which they performed a cover of ‘Bills Bills Bills’ to close it out. With the music over, I was quick to make a dash over to the merch table, which had the EP, T-Shirts and Tote Bags for sale. I love the design that Loah has and picked up one of everything for myself, and had the opportunity to get her to sign my CD which was awesome. All in all, it was an amazing evening and I was glad to get the opportunity to see both Anna-Mieke and Loah again.