Daití, Elaine Mai and Rachel Boyd at the Workman’s, Dublin on Friday 19th of October 2012

Rachel Boyd supported Elaine Mai and Daithí on Friday night in Workman’s Club, playing mainly from last year’s debut EP ‘Back In Your Box‘. A name which gives me a perfect way to hang together a review of three different, but all incredibly talented, artists. Because, in seeing them play live, each artists broke out of the little box I’d put them in (bear with me, it kind of works).

First up was Rachel Boyd, playing to a sparse crowd. The rest of Dublin missed out and those of us in attendance  will have massive “I knew her when…” brownie points for the future. For, while her aforementioned EP is great and deserves a bigger audience, her live show showed greater ambition than expected. Not content with showcasing her undoubtedly fine violin skills over static banking tracks, Boyd was intent on developing an original live sound. She’s not there yet, but it’s close. This is an artist worth seeing as soon as you can.

Elaine Mai was next up. And five minutes into her set she’d burst out of the box I’d put her in (see, there’s a theme). This wasn’t effects-pedal-girl (my box labels don’t show any great imagination – or musical knowledge), this was someone with a powerful, captivating voice, technical talent to burn and the confidence to try new things. Having supported Marina & the Diamonds earlier in the week, it was natural to consider of the differences between the two artists. But the more you saw of Mai, the easier it was to imagine her tracks being well suited to that big pop sound. But that’s just one of many different – and successful – paths her career could take; and we’re lucky enough to be able to watch it.

Finally there was Daithí. His box was ‘your man with the electric fiddle’ (again not a great label). Having somehow missed him playing live over the past number of years it felt like being the last person to arrive at a party when he had the place hopping at 11pm on Friday. Yes there was some great fiddle plucking but that was just a added flourish to a great dance show. If talent was visible it would have been seeping out of Daithí on the Workman’s stage (thankfully, talent isn’t visible). The show itself was great, deserving of a larger, sweatier crowd, but almost as enjoyable was imagining where Daithí could end up; His talent could bring him anywhere.

So three great live acts, three more reasons to check out an independent gig in Dublin and three more reasons to always try and catch acts live before deciding which box, if any, they should be placed in. (See?)

Daithi, Elaine Mai and Rachel Boyd Photo Gallery

Photos: Katie Mc Dougall