Indie Week Canada Irish Showcase

Irish bands make their mark at Indie Week Canada

[Originally Posted on 2FM]

By Mairéad McGuinness and Seán O’Sullivan

The word “awesome” doesn’t suffice to describe the Irish showcase at Indie Week Canada 2011. The Irish acts that come here mean business and if this year’s showcase is anything to go by, the immediate future of Irish music is in safe hands. We were lucky enough to catch up with three of the Irish acts that played at the Irish showcase on Friday night at The Hideout in downtown Toronto. The enthusiastic reception to all three acts was an encouraging reflection on the state of Irish music, and they were each kind enough to tell their story.

I Am Not Lefthanded

Seeing I am not Lefthanded perform for the first time was a refreshing change of pace in a festival dominated by harder-edged rock music. Featuring an understated instrumentation that allows the soothing vocals to soar, the local audience were treated to a particularly minimalist arrangement as their drummer, Benji, wasn’t able to make the journey to Toronto.

Songs like “Alone” and “Boats (Swept Away)” epitomize the bands musical talent perfectly with gentle lead vocals by Kathryn, particularly in the latter song, and Daniel on backing vocals. Speaking with Kathryn and Daniel after their performance revealed that their relaxed, engaging stage personas are just how they compose themselves naturally.

The three-piece band is set to release their first album in the near future, to be titled “The Fire and the Sign”. The first single off the album, “Alone”, can be downloaded from their website and the irreverent video which accompanies it is definitely worth checking out. You can follow the bands progress of the album at: http://www.iamnotlefthanded.com

Last Second Magic

This was Last Second Magic’s second outing at Indie week Canada. Hailing from Blanchardstown, this young band (aged 18 – 25) is eager to put on a memorable show for their audience. Given their youth it has to be difficult to come to Toronto for two years running, but front man Paul Hosford is determined they’ll beg, borrow or steal their way through any logistical problem! Hosford tells how they have been described as a cross-between Eels and Joy Division, and says that these bands would be some of the many that influence their song writing. While comparing this year’s Indie Week to last, Hosford explains how the band recruited two new members in the last few months. One of the new recruits, Philippa Cahill, on keyboard and vocals, provided particularly haunting vocals on “The Barrage Lifts”. This young band have youth on their side and deserve ten out of ten for enthusiasm and drive. For more info on Last Second Magic, check out http://lastsecondmagic.com

Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters

Last but definitely not least, the overall winners of the Friday night Irish showcase, Limerick’s Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters. The foursome delivered a set of toe-tapping, head-nodding rock, with deft changes of tempo and an electrifying stage presence. Songs like “Little Black Marble” and “Thread the Needle” were the favourites of the crowd packed into the Hideout, and it was clear that they were keen to leave their mark in Canada as they charged headlong from song to song.

Of note are the excellent vocals from front man, Ronan Mitchell, who cheerfully explains how he draws most of the dark lyrics from personal experiences and bleak literature. The guys went down a storm with the Toronto audience, and not surprisingly they were crowned the winners for the night. The band were kind enough to share a copy of their album, “The Devil in Music”, with the audience for whatever they were willing to pay. I highly recommend that you get your hands on the album, and don’t miss a chance to check them out live. More info on Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters can be found at http://www.foxjawbountyhunters.com

Ireland could not have been represented better at this year’s Indie Week Canada. The diversity of the acts, coupled with their palpable passion for live music would have made any Irish person at the Irish showcase proud. All three acts have applied to attend Eurosonic 2012 and represent Ireland on a European stage. Given that Ireland is the focus country this year I’m sure that none of them will have a problem with gaining their place at next year’s Groningen-based festival. With such positive attitudes, each act is destined to achieve their musical goals.

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