It is a late start to the Music Trail 2019, but we are fighting fit and raring to go on this, the 18th iteration of Other Voices. There is a teensy-weensy problem, though: the gigs we are covering are on at the same time in two different venues. The solution? While we have yet to master the art of bilocation, we are able to fly from venue to venue, catching this, that and whatever else is thrown at us. The most important thing to say from the outset, however, is that the Dingle vibe is good, it is sweet, and it is very, very sweaty.
Nellie Fred’s at 11.30pm is rammed for the 2FM Rising gig. Three music acts fly the flag, each one quite different from the other. The first on stage is Fehdah, aka Emma Garnett (sister of Loah, fyi) and quite possibly the only astrophysicist in the world that has a burgeoning stage career delivering simmering soul/R&B beats. Whatever about her academic background, Fehdah is equally adept at squeezing out sparks in her music. We didn’t catch any song titles (and neither was there much floor space to do anything other than shuffle the feet in time to the music), but the music is infectious enough to have the crowd cheer on as one song morphed into the next.
Over in Paul Geaney’s Yard, a wide open and recently developed back-of-pub space that easily handles the crowds, the likes of God Knows, Denise Chaila, Breezy iDeyGoké and the Sim Simma Soundsystem have little problem getting people cheering on, digging in, tasting the music like it’s nectar from on high. The vibe here, simply speaking, is one continuous groove that continues on its irresistible way irrespective of time constraints. “Tonight is about to be madders,” tweeted Breezy before the gig, and he wasn’t wrong. Yet for all the dancefloor pushes and shoves, the hands in the air, and the plastic glasses teetering between full and empty, there is a gliding sense of community throughout the extended gig, which showcases just how classy and quality the performers are.
Back in Nellie Fred’s, the powerhouse rock act that is Vulpynes sort out the wheat from the chaff with a short set that necessitates small pieces of paper tissue in the ears. Is it loud? Is the Dalai Lama a Buddhist? Powerful it is, indeed, yet one of the best things about Vulpynes is that – like quite a few other Irish hard rock acts currently pulping the international competition into bits – they have a strong sense of melody at their disposal. This means that underneath the pummelling riffs and thudding rhythms there are tunes you can easily hum along to. We like. Very much.
Back up to Paul Geaney’s Yard for a quick check on the pulse of the collective body of Other Voices citizens, and like the good Doctor Feelgood we are we can certify that the patients are not only alive and well but they are also kicking.
Back down to Nellie Fred’s for Somebody’s Child, and the momentum is not only continuing, it is relentless. This artist has improved in Superman-like leaps and bounds over the past 18 months with a series of tunes that smartly and slyly (and we mean that in a good way) reference pop/R&B greats. There’s a slinky quality to his music that is slightly lost in the noise of the venue, admittedly, but the main thrust is right in front of our faces: Somebody’s Child is on to something serious and potentially very good.
And then it’s one more visit to Paul Geaney’s Yard: yes, the pulse is throbbing, the patients are in rude health. God knows (and, perhaps, God Knows) what their heads are like this morning, but you can’t make those omelettes without cracking those eggs, can you?