Happy Easter! Up next in my International Women’s Day series, is a gig from the very day itself, when Cyprus Avenue put on a fantastic line-up to celebrate the day that’s in it. First up for the evening to hit the stage was Míde Houlihan. Míde is an artist I had been loooong overdue getting around to catch live for the first time, with her name circulating on the peripherals of my attention for ages. I was most notably familiar with her role over at the Bru Bar in relation to all the amazing music they put on their stage all year round. The first thing to strike me when she went on stage was her acoustic guitar which displays a plethora of stickers, adding stories and character to it’s frame. Everything from Vans to the Beatles, CEX to De Barra’s of Clonakilty adorns it’s body.
My attention wasn’t long being drawn away from the visuals of the guitar when Míde began to sing. I’m a sucker for emotionally gut-punching music, and Míde has cracked the code in that particular style of song-writing wonderfully. She has a captivating vocal presence that draws you in real close while at the same time sending the mind spiraling away into a place beyond the room in which she plays, following the trail of the story she spins. She’s a master of making the music relatable for the audience and making you think, or at least that’s how I’ve viewed it but I’m quite certain it translated across well to many others in attendance too. I’m really loving her album ‘Coloured In’ at the moment, much of which comprised the set that she played for us on the evening in question.
Well well well, Sarah-Beth we do be meeting again. It seems impossible and yet entirely a true fact that 7 months have passed since first that name became known to me with the launch of her EP ‘Your Muse’ (The blog post for which can be found here). It has been nothing short of an eventful period of time, with Sarah-Beth being featured as one of my Top Five One’s to Watch for 2018 in my recap blog at the beginning of the year. Indeed, judging from the first few months of the year so far, she’s off to a great start already. With a steady gigging work rate in the time since first I saw her take the stage, she has staggeringly overtaken Stephanie Rainey as my most viewed live artist, clocking up at something around the likes of 13 live shows I’ve now attended at the time of writing.
I have followed her progression as an artist in that time with keen interest. From first discovering the dreamy & lyrical side to her music and then promptly finding out about the other side with the alt-hip hop vibes and electronic influences, to entering 2018 ready for new growth with a fresh look, building the band back up from scratch. Initially I saw this take the form of Aaron O Sullivan playing with her as a duo (There he goes again, sneakily working his way into yet another consecutive blog post. There’s no stopping him now, he has spread to all corners of the Cork music scene!) on stages such as KINO and The Roundy when Sarah-Beth and Travis is a Tourist supported 1000 Beasts (Absolutely unreal show that unfortunately slipped through the cracks of a hectic schedule of blog posts, a name that will undoubtedly show up for me again soon though).
This International Women’s Day gig being the 3rd Sarah-Beth show of 2018 I’ve witnessed, it came with yet another new development. This was the debut for Sarah-Beth’s new full band look, which including Aaron O Sullivan bossing it on guitar also features Lee Kennedy on Bass and Joe Keniry on Drums. They put on a mesmerizing performance in true Sarah-Beth style. A most peculiar and unanticipated event occurred when Sarah-Beth was doing her song ‘Easy On The Eyes’. She was about mid way through the number when suddenly, travelling through the air in an impressive arc from the distance, what should fly onto the stage landing by her foot but someone’s bra. That was certainly something else. This was not long followed by the owner of said bra making a recovery mission for her misplaced property and scampering away from the stage again sheepishly. Absolute madness!
Up next to follow in the footsteps of Sarah-Beth was none other than Sara Ryan, which of course meant that Aaron O Sullivan was barely with a foot off the stage before he was straight back onto it again, what a champ. Sara picked up where she left off with the performance in Coughlan’s a few weeks prior, putting on another stellar set of music with the band. Sara continues to showcase gig to gig, performance after performance, why she is on the path to bigger and greater things as time goes by. She brings the magic to the stage each and every time, and has this infectiously positive demeanour both in and out of the music that brings out the best of moods and brightens the day of anyone who has the pleasure of being in her presence. A right gem so she is.
Gadget and the Cloud
Bringing the finishing touches to the evening was Kelly Doherty on the decks, AKA Gadget And The Cloud. Kelly is a DJ/Producer in Cork, and she has just released her first album ‘Songs For Sad People To Dance To’. When it comes to the live performance on the night, I unfortunately didn’t catch much of it except for the start as it was running rather late into the night and I had work early in the morning to think of. The part that I did catch at least however was solid indeed, with Kelly doing great work at getting people moving to the music, and left me standing at the exit reluctant to leave and wishing I could stay and experience it in full. You can listen to and buy the album on her Bandcamp page at the following link, I recommend checking it out for sure.