Zaska at The Button Factory, Dublin, on Friday 8th of February 2019

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of Max Zaska the same is also true of an album. His debut ‘It Takes A Village’ features a host of Irish musicians and singers from Loah to Wyvern Lingo, to Barq’s Jess Kav to Gypsies on The Autobahn’s James Smith.

A concept album with a twist, ‘It Takes A Village ‘ tells the true-life story of Max Zaska building a home and the concurrent journey to parenthood he and his wife took together; the album even features the sound of said child coming into the world. [see our review here]

It was fitting then, that this village of the best and brightest musicians Ireland has to offer would reassemble for the birth of the album in The Button Factory.

And what a way to wet the baby’s head it was. Crowd surfing guitar solos, horse-head masks, two drummers and a 4-piece horn section feature prominently as Zaska leads a sold-out Button Factory on a merry, funky celebration of life and the journey.

Zaska is quick to show his appreciation to not only the musicians who made the album possible, but also the people who crowdfunded its creation, four of whom get a special mention and their own song personally penned and dedicated to them by Zaska – think Lisa it’s Your Birthday from The Simpsons and you’re on the right track. It’s a unique, personal touch which is well received by all in attendance.

Although it’s the Zaska show, community and inclusivity are front and central. The band each get singled out for individual praise throughout the show – not just the cursory run of the mill kind – and the fact that Carly Coonagh got married on Tuesday and is here performing splendid renditions of U and Know One Knows three days later is testimony to how Zaska’s assembled collection of musicians feel about him.

Ireland’s premier vocal harmony group Wyvern Lingo and Barq’s Jess Kav deliver powerhouse vocal performances of Wear and My Body respectively, as do Charlie McCabe and Nichola Hegarty throughout the set. And when they all join forces to form a choir at the end of the evening, the results really are quiet astounding.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more joyous musical experience in Ireland in 2019 than this trip to the village of Zaska.