A new music event to hit Ireland’s student town, Live in the Lounge brought a host of hot young Irish acts to Maynooth to coincide with fresher’s week. Led by The Minutes on Wednesday night and Royseven on Thursday, the event also included Rosin O, The Dirty Epics, Mojo GoGo and Shadowplay, as well as many others. Despite a facing a number of difficulties to the organisation (initially an outdoor gig had been planned and advertised, but this was opposed at the last minute by certain elements of the local community) the events of both days provided a chance to catch some great live performances by some known and not-so-known home-grown talent.
Wednesday 19 September
Both days were opened by The Crossfire, a young but confident group of rockers with their minds clearly set on big things. They played two energetic sets on Wednesday and Thursday which included original material and covers of Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl and the Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger.
Next was Roisin O, who give a powerful set ahead of the launch of their debut album – ‘The Secret Life of Blue’ – two days later. They opened up with Synchronicity, with front woman Roisin O’Reilly’s angelic voice filling the whole room. The band continued their melodic set with further tracks from ‘The Secret Life of Blue’, including Filled with Snow and Find the Light and a great cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. The band is clearly one of Roisin O’s influences, and their version was an incredibly fun rendition which both captured the vibe of the original and took the song in a slightly different direction. Despite a still limited crowd at this early stage of the night, there were more than a few people in the audience singing along to the chant-like chorus of How Long at the end of the band’s set.
Dublin rockers Hogan and Donegal based band Mojo GoGo followed up Rosin O with two fast paced sets. Mojo GoGo, in particular, brought a fantastically energetic stage performance which saw its guitarists leaping around, banging their heads and jumping on their amps. The crowd had started to pick up by this point following a slow start, and Hogan’s rowdy Dance Equals Sex and Mojo GoGo’s Into the Sun both had people on their feet and dancing in front of the stage.
Wednesday night headliners The Minutes upped the energy even more following Mojo Gogo’s fanatic set, turning their distortion fuelled, rough-edged,blues-rock all the way up to eleven. Frontman Mark Austin leapt around the stage as the band blasted their way through Black Keys, Heartbreaker, and Fleetwood before closing out the show with In My Time of Dying. The music continued until well after 1 am, and The Minutes give the audience of head-banging students every indication that could have played all through to the next morning, if only they had been allowed.
Thursday 20 September
The Crossfire once again opened the show on Thursday, with every bit as much energy as they displayed the night before. They were followed by Sixteen Layers, a solid rock and roll band with an AC/DC or Led Zeppelin influenced sound.
Next up were the Dirty Epics, a firm fixture of the Irish music scene for a number of years with an incredibly diverse sound, tied together by strong stage presence. Their eclectic range of influences was evident in a set which included the funky Light Show, and the psychedelic Midnight Missing.
Recent winners of the Hot Press Lift Off competition, Shadowplay kept things moving with their blend of radio friendly rock, catchy riffs and a willingness to experiment. Their strong set included cover versions of Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song and The Boys are Back in Town and their own The Moon Song, Rise, and debut single Drive; an incredibly catchy number with more than a passing nod to ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.
By the time Thursday’s headliners Royseven took to the stage, the venue had filled up with a decent sized crowd of students, in even greater numbers than the night before. Frontman Paul Walsh burst out onstage with a tremendous energy, that didn’t seem to let up for more than a second for the band’s entire show.
Royseven rocked their way through most of the songs from their second album, including Channel 103 on My TV, Killer, Dance and title track You Say, We Say. The band were joined on stage by Sean Buckley of The Crossfire for the song Walls, and despite his youth Sean provide strong backing vocals for Walsh during the song’s chorus.
Royseven also played not one but two renditions of their big hit single, We Should be Lovers – once early in the show, and again in their encore, although the second version was sung as much by the audience as by Walsh. The song has an incredible ability to get its listeners up and dancing, and by the time its second rendition rolled around it seemed like the whole venue was crowded around the stage area.
After the set, Walsh hung over the crowd, shaking hands and high fiving his fans, and posing for countless photographs. The wild energy of the performance remained in the room until the lights came up. And even then, instead of disappearing, it spilled out onto the main street of Maynooth.