Saturday, January 15, 2011

Live Review: Whelan's Ones To Watch 2011 [Thursday 13th January]

With the brilliantly conceived Ones To Watch 2011 mini-fest well under way, I made my way down to Whelan's on Thursday night to sample some of Ireland's great musical hopes for 2011.
Having unfortunately missed Hunter Gatherer, Cloud Castle Lake were first up on my agenda and with last years Pick For the Picnic title under their belts, the four piece come highly rated. Situated somewhere between the sombre work of Portishead and Sigur Ros, they immediately verify such acclaim; combining to produce an intensely brooding, melancholic sound, which is steeped in atmosphere and intensity. Incredibly high-pitched vocals are underpinned by a dreamy, hypnotic musical landscape which grips and enthrals, despite the length of the songs on offer. Extremely accomplished and equally memorable, it's easy to see why they're being tipped for great things in 2011.

In what must be a first for any gig, the 'Lake' theme continued with the next act - Great Lakes Mystery, which is the latest project from Dublin drummer Gareth Averill.

Backed by two supporting members, and with a cocophony of instruments on show, Averill steps beyond the pig skin (for the most part) to serve up an enjoyable mix which shifts between sullen and animated electronic based vibes. A relatively new concept, it's clear that GLM is a project brimming with ideas. On occasion however, there is perhaps too much ingenuity on show at once and with a lack of direction notable on certain tracks, there is a tendency for some tracks to get lost along the way, as they meander into the 'pleasant but plodding' category. Never the less, there is moments of genuine flourish on show from GLM, with Averill clearly holding an interesting creative streak which hints at a promising future for GLM. Expect news on a release and gigs in the coming months.

Finishing off the main stage is Thread Pulls, whose ambient tones and glitched up beats seem to have a large part of the audience entranced. It's a complex affair and Thread Pulls are certainly not a band who endear themselves to the newcomer. Rather, their unique creation of ambient drones, and fragmented beats is something which must wash over and envelop, until the roughly cut, minimal soundscapes seep into your pours. An interesting creation no doubt, but one which requires an advance listen, personally.

With so much good music on offer, it was only natural that some escaped my ears and the upstairs stage was particularly neglected. Never the less, a brief liaison with Toby Kaar, a rising electronica maestro from Cork, proved fruitful as he provided a memorable set, which was brimming with verve and catchy invention.

An excellent platform for rising artists, and a further indication of the quality currently flowing from these shores, the Ones To Watch festival is a testament to all those involved.

The festival ends tonight (Saturday), with tickets available at the door. Full details available here. 

More pictures from the night and sounds from the artists below:

  A Wolf Howling by cloudcastlelake

  Organo Moderato by Great Lakes Mystery

  How to talk by thread pulls

  Brightout by TobyKaar

Cloud Castle Lake

Great Lakes Mystery

Thread Pulls

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