Review: Lisa Hannigan at The Iveagh GardensTweet
Lisa Hannigan at The Iveagh Gardens on 21st July 2012
As with all outdoor gigs this summer there was a certain uneasiness about the possibility of rain dampening an enjoyable day of music. For the majority of the day at The Iveagh Gardens, the sun accompanied the laid-back revelers and the atmosphere was very calm and collected. Music lovers, and some band members, roamed the Iveagh Gardens, visiting the Tower Records stand, munching on popcorn and enjoying the fresh sound of opening act C.H.A.M.P.S. C.H.A.M.P.S provided a suitable soundtrack for the music lovers who opted to attend the gig from the start, rather than slipping in just before Lisa Hannigan took stage. It was C.H.A.M.P.S’ first live performance and it was soaked in by the concert goers sitting and lying on the ground.
Next on stage was the always beautiful and consistently astounding Cathy Davey. The crowd was disappointing for Davey’s performance; she deserved to be higher on the bill and this was proven by her casual and expert interaction with the crowd. Her usual tantalisingly quiet, yet slightly husky voice, accompanied her well written songs so that even those previously unaware of her music could sing along. Her beautiful voice echoed around the gardens as she performed some of her most loved songs such as Rueben from her most popular album ‘Tales of Silversleeve’ and the stunning Habit from her considerably darker album ‘The Nameless’. Her performance was stellar and was humanised by complaints of having a bad hair day and an out of tune banjo. Davey finished her suitably warm set with Sing For Your Supper, announcing as she put her guitar on: “It’s that one”. The small crowd yelped with delight as she launched into her best known song. There was a brief interval between her magical set and Other Lives. Other Lives took to the stage and were met with a medium-sized roar from the crowd. They looked every bit the effortless cool band and their performance matched up too. They had minimum interaction with the crowd, which was not through insolence but quite possibly an unavoidable and endearing awkwardness. They proved to be a well-drawn together band with quiet folk songs and a moody demeanour. Songs such as For 12 and Tamer Animals were met with a subdued reception. Although the band were impressive it seemed that with their somber brand of music, they had undone all of the work that Davey had put effort in to lift the crowd. It seemed the general opinion among the concert goers, including this reviewer, was that Davey should have performed just before Hannigan. The band was sent off stage with a wild applause leaving the anticipation to build for the arrival of the belle of the ball; Lisa Hannigan.
Hannigan walked on stage to an enormous applause, which is phenomenal given her ordinary, non-superstar character. She is just an ordinary girl whose talent and drive launched her levels of fame that she most likely never thought, a girl from Kilcoon, Co.Meath, would ever reach. Her performance opened with the delicate Little Bird; the perfect song to ease the revelers into what was bound to be a phenomenal set filled with emotion and perfect music. The following two songs came from her first album, Sea Sew; Ocean and a Rock and the stunning beautiful Venn Diagram, which was spoiled by the sound people having Hannigan’s mic too low for her quaint voice and the inevitable idiots shouting vulgarities towards the stage. It was a gig that was full of treats and surprises that would have been exclusive on her European tour. She was home, she had her friends and family around her, so she was going to show how much she appreciated her Irish support by providing them with some exclusive gifts. The first was the reappearance of Cathy Davey on stage, the two Irish darlings began singing a beautiful rendition of Blue Moon which was met with a chorus by the crowd. Hannigan also performed O Sleep, a true modern lullaby which was originally recorded with the amazing Ray Lamontagne, however, her equally gifted guitarist, John Smith, covered Lamontagne’s parts. Other special treats given to the crowd included the arrival of James Vincent McMorrow, who dueted with Hannigan on Some Surprise, which was originally written by Paul Noonan for Hannigan and Gary Lightbody. McMorrow’s vocals were impeccable on the track and as always, the musical companionship between the two was delightful. Another unexpected surprise was the announcement that Paul Noonan would be joining Hannigan on stage to perform This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), the Talking Heads classic. It was heartwarming to see some of Ireland’s most adored artists together on stage.
Other touching moments of the concert included Hannigan’s dedication of Lille to her parents; it was a wonderful rendition of what was once her most loved song. The main set ended with recent release, What’ll I do, and a huge reception from the crowd. The inevitable encore began with several people in the crowd being handed cups and a moving dedication to Levon Helm of The Band, who passed away in April of this year. Hannigan and her band performed a vocal and acoustic guitar rendition of The Night they Drove old Dixie Down in what was a poignant and special moment. The poignancy was further enhanced by the eerie rainfall that descended as the song began and calmed off as it ended. Hannigan announced at the end of the song that the gig had been her favourite gig of all time, showing how down to earth and moved by the enormous turn out she was. The gig ended on an enthusiastic performance of her feel good hit, Knots. This was not to be any ordinary version of the song which ended with Hannigan climbing into a child’s paddling pool and being sprayed with paint by some men; a task they seemed to thoroughly enjoy. (See Here) This was a live recreation of the award winning Arbutus Yarns video for the single Knots. It was an incredible day, with the ideal ending, proving to any previously undecided fans that she certainly deserves to be labelled the belle of Ireland.
Lisa Hannigan and Other Lives Photo Gallery
Photos: Kieran Frost