HWCH_Fri_200x200Day Two of 2013’s Hard Working Class Heroes saw more of Ireland’s hotly tipped bands, solo artists and DJ’s take to the stage across many of Dublin’s best-loved venues. We sent Jonathon Klein, David Dooley and Justin McDaid out to roam the capital in search of the best and brightest of those acts on offer. They were impressed with the overall standard of songwriting and performance as a whole, but here are their standout performances from Friday night.

Rachael Boyd

The largely instrumental performance by Rachael Boyd and her backing band in the cosy confines of the New Theatre, was something a bit different. Creating complex and colourful soundscapes, Boyd enthralls the audience with tidy piano playing, and the ability to work her electronic sounds into songs using foot pedals. The presence of violin is relaxing and soothing and the gentle guitar picking and steady drums make for a pleasant show. The long, epic tunes might become wearing and a bit boring at a longer show, but the novelty of Boyd’s sound is enough to keep the audience entertained for the half hour set.  JK


Tipperary based Cove had a battle on their hands for the majority of their New Theatre set. There were nervous glances to the sound engineer when he told them he had no control over the bass or the guitar levels from the desk. It seems a small theatre isn’t an ideal location for a gig. When they get down to business Cove are pretty damn good. Think industrial-lite synths with a sprinkling of spacey synths backed by a four to the floor drum machine; throw in some processed vocals and atmospheric guitar to top it all off. Closing song Not For Long was the most accomplished of their set, rightly earmarked as their next single. It’s more measured and less frantic than its predecessors. All in all, Cove are an act brimming with promise and potential.  DD

Frankenstein Bolts

Frankenstein Bolts is the name given to Justin Cullen’s solo project, but you’d never know it if you seen them play live. The four-piece band are at such ease on-stage that you’d swear they were all full-time members.  Sleepless Sacks is a beautiful four-minute slice of slow burning country rock with vocal delivery as tender as anything put to tape by Simon and Garfunkel. That’s all topped off with some gentle three-part harmonies from Cullen’s backing band. Lost Shells is held together by Fleet Foxes style vocals and backed by Band of Horses-esque soft rock. DD

Death In The Sickroom

The jangling 12-string pop of Death In The Sickroom is immediatly reminiscent of The Cure as they take to the stage in Bad Bob’s. Council Estate is a more punked up take on The Smiths, and the abiding feeling through the set is that this is an enjoyable, if derivative, take on those band’s styles. Plain Jane goes out to the singer’s missus and fittingly enough, given the day that’s in it, it’s practically a rehash of Friday I’m In Love. They finish with Billy No Mates, and needless to say it travels the same musical path as its predecessors; hugely unoriginal but oddly, hugely enjoyable.  JMD

Tell No Foxx

Despite only catching the latter half of Tell No Foxx’s set (with Meeting House Square seemingly running early all evening), they made such a good impression that they’ve made this list. They’re a slick, very polished band who are unashamed at the level of production they put into their music. Imagine an Irish contender to Bastille’s crown and you’d be right on the money. It’s atmospheric rock with pop sensibilities that has it’s sights set on the charts. Whilst it’s nothing musically groundbreaking, it’s so unashamed of itself that you can’t help enjoying it.  DD

Fallen Rule

Fallen Rule proved to be an interesting proposition, showering The Workman’s with their clean-cut indie tunes. Venomous drumming provides a strong backbone for Glennon’s powerful and engaging singing. Understand is a catchy track with strong backing vocals. However, the violin bowed guitar parts proved especially memorable. This novelty factor grabbed the crowd’s attention, but more than that, Fallen Rule managed to make bowed guitar an integral part of their sound without sounding overtly Sigur Ros-esque. Ironically their main stumbling point is their guitar solos which all sound like a blast of noise instead of a piece of musical skill or dexterity. Despite this, Fallen Rule put on a great showcase of raw indie music.  JK


“D, I, Y, S, C, O” shout Tieranniesaur from the Meeting House Square stage as a curious crowd gathers. It’s a captivating intro that doubles as a mission statement for the band. They’re a loose, layered melting pot of synths, cowbells, bass and guitar, all tied together with a bit of craziness. The set is front loaded with energy DIYSCO, Maro Rides the Wave and Here Be Monsters opening the show. Its makes for a very fun 15-minutes, but when the slow, draining chug of Horses With Melting Eyes arrives the momentum drops completely. Overall it’s a good show; Tieranniesaur are at their best when they let their hair down and have fun.  DD


Programmed beats lead Windings into their set, with a song that may well be about Bladerunner – the reverbed guitar soon rises above all else to overtake, an undulating noise that runs like a towline throughout their set. The early section of the gig is given over to new material and a comedic sales pitch of “We keep all our merchandise in a cooler bag ‘cos it’s so fresh.” Synths begin to swirl around the venue as the band begin This Is A Conversation, and its extended solo suddenly upsurges into a drone climax. A Louie, Louie rhythm gives way to a whirlwind riff on The Hassle, with the keys man shouting through a megaphone when he’s not preoccupied with the cowbell. Main man Steve disappears down to his pedals for the final tune, building a wall of noise – when he reappears a full-on sonic assault complete with a rock’n’drumrollin’ ending ensues. As always, its solid stuff from the Limerick band.  JMD

September Girls

With an album release on the horizon September Girls set consisted mainly of new material.  New single Ships stood out, with its sinister stomp seeping into the crowd’s consciousness and remaining there for the rest of the night. On first listen September Girls new material seem much improved on the band’s earlier efforts, with synths finding a new place in the band’s soundscape, acting as a base rather than competing for the melody with the two guitars. Despite the presence of powerful tunes, there were times during the show where there seemed to be too much distortion on the guitars, and too much reverb on the vocals, this is something the band may need to address in future. September Girls finished with Sister which featured the catchiest chorus of the day. This gig should significantly raise expectations for September Girls forthcoming album.  JK

So Cow

The Workman’s is near capacity as Galway’s So Cow round off the venue’s night of HWCH music. “This is a rock’n’roll tune” announces the singer before they begin, but this is simply punk rock. A photographer comes in for a bit of good-natured abuse following a tale of Roger Daltrey at Woodstock – expect to see an extended middle finger shot appearing any day now. A snare heavy, thrashing Casablanca sets off a feeble crowdsurfing attempt down in front, but not to worry, there are more opportunities for that to come. There’s a touch of Shellac to So Cow’s stage presence, right down to the banter, with the band calling for a Twitter moratorium. There’s a new addition to the punk/new wave canon of ‘name’ tunes – Billy Watts, David Watts, Geoffrey Ingram – with Barry Richardson, complete with false ending and a nice scratchy solo. A Billy Bragg style folksy tune erupts into a raucous knees-up before they bow out in style with the oo-ee-oo power pop of Sugar Factory. The craic was good, the music was good, the crowdsurfing was laughable – great fun to round off the night. JMD