Now in its eighth year, Ones to Watch (an event aiming to promote the best of Ireland’s emerging young talent for 2018) returned to Dublin’s flagship indie venue, Whelan’s amid more anticipation than ever.

Spread across three stages and four nights, the festival boasted fifty different acts spanning from hip-hop to folk to electronica and everything in between.

It began on Thursday. Yet despite the cold weather and the pint-sized hole that will have been indelibly burned into people’s pockets following the Christmas period, there was a good attendance.

Eve Belle

Kicking things off for us here is Eve Belle. This gorgeously diminutive singer/songwriter from Donegal has already earned plaudits from both sides of the Irish Sea, not least from RTE, Channel 4 and one Chris Martin. Half an hour can be a short period of time to make a statement, particularly when you’re bound by slow melodies. It can be even more difficult to make an impression when you’re under the prying eyes of a relatively sober early-Thursday evening audience.

None of this made a difference however. There were no shortages of budding lone singer/songwriters over the four days but the native Irish speaker staked a claim to be the best of the bunch. Accompanied by a young gentleman on keyboard, Eve Belle was honest, composed and most importantly her voice resonated in a way that it swerved elegantly through the air, permeating through the legs of the impressed crowd below.

In addition, she perfectly joins her songs together with anecdotes that are fun, sweet and succinctly conversational.
At barely twenty years of age, this starlet performs with a confidence that fully belies her years. And with her continued hard work and self-determination, she can look forward to more than just a good 2018. Highlights: Tell me that I’m Beautiful and Rules (Dua Lipa cover).

The Wood Burning Savages

Those Nordies eh? The Wood Burning Savages arrived down from Derry off the back of a wonderful 2017 that saw them perform in Germany and found them praised by none other than Radio 6’s Tom Robinson. With “Ulster Sayz Know” emblazoned on frontman, Paul Connoly’s guitar, the four-piece brought purpose and a sense of urgency that afterwards, you wouldn’t not know who they were again.

Every bit as frenetic and feral as their name would suggest, their set was dynamic and explosive in equal measure, each member putting in a stellar shift. In addition, with Connoly’s humorous crowd interaction and authoritative stage presence, TWBS’s entertainment value and fanfare looks set to extend far beyond merely their music.

Catch them supporting Death from Above 1979 in The Olympia on March 14th.

NEOMADiC

NEOMADiC are were recently selected as one of our Plec Picks for 2018.

The rap duo from Maynooth captured the audiences attention immediately, the short skit of Languid Flowz signalling the start of a jazzy/trappy sound and fast-slow rhyming dynamic that would dominate their set.

From interviewing them it’s easy to see how they’ve managed to apply the interplay of their friendship into their rapping so successfully. What was surprising though is just how much Diyarmid came to life, the ease with which he could alter the pace when he was spitting.

However, neither upstaged the other, instead they combined to create a thoroughly entertaining spectacle.
For those who haven’t already lisened to Neomadic, check out their mixtape on Soundcloud

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