SOAK at The Little Museum on April 2nd 2013

At the age of 16 I was more preoccupied with hiding my embarrassing obsession with Pokémon games than attempting to make an inroad into the music industry. sixteen-year-old Derry Native SOAK (or Bridie Monds-Watson to her mammy) has dealt with her teen years better than most and as a result is one of Irelands most promising young acts. With two successful EP’s and appearances on Other Voices Dingle, Derry and soon London she is far from your typical teenage.

This evening’s gig takes place in The Little Museum Dublin. It’s a beautiful intimate setting with under a hundred people seated in the room. With window shutters closed and the only light coming from a lamp by the stage and some strategically placed candles there is a real Other Voices feel to the occasion. The stage is set up underneath the arch that joins two rooms. This gives the small crowd a perfect view of the nights events although makes life slightly difficult for the performers as they are left with a wall to look at and the crowd to the left and right.
Support on the night comes from another young Derry singer-songwriter called Susie-Blue. Accompanied with just a guitar she launches into a beautiful set. The acoustics in the room are fantastic and the warm guitar and vocal combination soon take the chill out of the air. Closing her short set with a song from her new EP Bits And Buttons Susie-Blue left the stage to applause from an appreciative and impressed crowd.

Within 5 minutes SOAK has entered the room and is on stage with just a guitar and a laptop. After a brief introduction she starts her set with a new song. The intimate setting is so quiet that the shutter on the photographer’s camera can be heard in the background. After each song she interacts with the crowd. It is here that my only negative for the whole gig rears its head. SOAK has a habit of rambling extensively between songs and fumbling with the tuning of the guitar. While not exactly annoying it does prevent the set from flowing. Experience will turn her live show into something phenomenally fluid and beautiful.

The positive side to her ramblings is an interesting insight into the life of a successful teenage musician. We are given a glimpse into how she deals with nerves before concerts, the meaning behind some of her songs and of her love of giraffes. The intimate setting makes it feel like a conversation between friends. So intimate in fact that I feel like I am cheating on everyone present by taking notes on my phone. The story behind her biggest hit to date Sea Creatures is one of bullying in school and the intriguing reasons behind it. This is all explained in detail before the song is delivered with ease and in a manner that a hardened musician would be proud of.

A rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s song I Can’t Make You Love Me (better known for its cover by Bon Iver) is the only low point vocally. A difficult song to sing, mixed with having to read the lyrics/chords from a computer screen is the only slip up in an otherwise interesting set.

The night comes to a close due to a curfew, which we are informed is imposed by the venue and not by her mother. Her last song is called Blood. It will be her first single since signing her first record deal with Universal. It is still unrecorded so we are treated to an early rendition. It brings a close to a concert different from anything I have attended before. The future is looking very bright for both Susie-Blue and SOAK.

SOAK – Photo Gallery

Photos: Yan Bourke