Introducing TMP Flashbacks
Real quick before I get into today’s blog post I want to quickly introduce the idea behind today’s title ‘TMP Flashbacks’. As is probably clear to most observers with my sporadic content – Or lack thereof – I’m constantly hitting walls with my writing process and not getting material out. There are many factors at play for this, though 2 of the biggest are the sheer volume of gigs and concerts I attend, and my habit of writing an awful lot in my posts (It’s just naturally how my process goes) which means I’m oft unsatisfied with tackling a piece if I can’t give it the full attention I expect of myself. That said, with Flashbacks I intend to, at any given opportunity, revisit concerts and gigs that got lost by the wayside down the line and complete some posts for them, some of which will likely be proper flash pieces of a shorter length (By my standards, at least). Some of these will be posts I even began writing before falling off the map with them just before completion, which is where this current post began with about 80 percent already completed 2 months ago (woops). There wont be much different with this one compared to my other stuff considering how close to completion the post already was. So without further ado, let’s get back to the juicy stuff
The right place at the right time
Finding myself sitting in the Bello Bar in Dublin on February 23rd was very much an impromptu plan concocted off the back of a perfect set of circumstances lining up. Days prior I was not even aware of the event that would be taking place, indeed only learning through my old school friend Matilda posting on Instagram stories about band rehearsal for the occasion. As it would so happen, my intent for that evening was going to see me pass through Dublin anyway, as I was travelling up from Cork that day to fly out from the airport the next morning for a brief holiday in Scotland. The opportunity to pass a few hours in the company of assuredly good music was far too tempting to pass up, and I was sure this gig would be right up my alley. It had already been more than a year since I had witnessed Matilda in action at the Button Factory for Searchlight 2018 (Blog post about that here), and I had regrettably had missed Laura Ryder (Formally titled Laura Ryder Ampersand as a band) in action upon that fateful evening due to the nature of my travel. Being much overdue witnessing my first Laura Ryder performance, attendance was a no brainer.
In typical manner, I arrived early to the Bello Bar and made myself comfortable inside when the doors opened. My first time being in this venue, I was in awe of the set up within, where a beautiful atmosphere has been carefully and lovingly crafted everywhere the eye looks, from the candlelit table arrangement to the stylish but not overstated decor, there was much to take in. While sitting opposite the performance area letting my surroundings sink in, I was joined at my table by another gig-attending lone wolf by the name of Conor. We discussed much with keen interest and passed the time with ease, graduating from strangers to friendly acquaintances, a welcomed added touch to the evening’s experience. Conor talked of seeing Laura Ryder before with high praise, giving me a great indication of what to expect before the show kicked off.
Laura Ryder Ampersand
If somehow it wasn’t already set in stone in the leadup, it became pretty damn clear within no time at all once Laura Ryder & her band were out that we were in for a very special evening. Before even beginning, Laura is already seen sporting an infectiously vibrant grin that alone is capable of lifting your mood. She sets off into the tunes behind her keyboard, her vocals immediately capturing my full attention. Beside her is Conor Cunningham on Clarinet, and the vocal landscape is backed up by the ethereal combination of Hannah McKenna and Matilda O Mahony. Laura has the room latched on closely from beginning to end, brimming with positivity and filling the gaps between songs with her wonderful quirky quips.
Around the halfway mark or so of the set, the collective are joined by drummer Shay Sweeney to shift the tone a bit and carry us out to the end of the performance. By the time we’re at the end of Laura’s set I’ve already been carried on such an awesome journey of emotions that I’d nearly forget there is a whole other act to follow; but indeed this has merely been the warm-up and there is much yet to come for our eager hearts to fill up on. You can check out Laura’s brilliant album ‘Vestigial’ down below and it is available to purchase digitally or physically from bandcamp at the following link here! It has given me much enjoyment to listen to since attending this gig.
A brief break, and then we’re off into the main portion of the evening as Lōwli come together before us. There is a familiar face among their ranks as Matilda retains her position, joined this time by fellow backing vocalist Lorna McDonnell. At the helm on Piano and main vocals is Roisin Lowry, Shay Sweeney sits once more behind the drums, and the wonderful string section is comprised of Aisling Bridgeman on Violin and Muireann Ni Cheannabhain on Cello.
There are very few gigs which have so successfully transported me to another plane of existence within myself than what I experienced that night in Bello Bar. It was the perfect coming together of a room set in perfect ambiance hosting beautiful music. I found that I was often drawn into an almost trance like state, the flickering flame of the candle on the table serving as a hypnotizing tool which opened my consciousness to the delicate sound waves cast forth by Lōwli to hit on a deeper level. Safe to say that while the new EP ‘Feathers’ gives a delightful look into what Lōwli has to offer, there is most certainly much more to look forward to from this incredible artist in times to come. I couldn’t leave without purchasing the CD of course, not once but twice, impressed as I was I knew immediately of someone I needed to share this new piece of music with. Make sure you give her EP a listen to, it’s comprised of three tracks ‘Feathers’, ‘Fading’ and ‘Colourless’ and is linked down below