On Good Friday as the GoldenPlec Road Team drove from Dublin to Galway, we had another team with an access all areas pass (almost) to the prestigious National Concert Hall. The incredibly accommodating staff gave us the freedom to film in every conceivable location while they were running their own concert in the main auditorium. We took full advantage of this access and filmed acts on imposing staircases, sound-proofed practice rooms, towering open areas and even two videos outside on the grounds.
In what turned out to be a very busy nine hours, we managed to film 14 bands (this figure still baffles us a week later). However, it was all worth it as we were raising money for Down Syndrome Ireland.
The Vanbrugh Quartet
We were delighted to have The Vanbrugh Quartet kick off the days proceedings. A fitting band for the National Concert Hall sessions. The Vanbrugh Quartet gave GoldenPlec a crash course in classical music with a flawless performance of Shostakovich’s Polka, from ‘Golden Age’.
Cat Dowling took a break from soundtracking Greys Anatomy ads to play us a beautiful stripped back version of Come On. Cat had asked for a piano to be present for her video; not ones to do things by halves we went and found a gorgeous grand piano for her to play. It did the trick anyway as the piano-led Come On was truly flawless.
Saint John the Gambler
So from running around trying to find a grand piano, we now had to find an upright piano for Saint John the Gambler (the joys of being in a concert hall). Everything came together for this quintet who certainly looked the part, but more importantly, sounded the part. Their fantastically titled Monkey Jamboree had more life in it than any other song we’ve ever heard at half ten in the morning!
The reverb. Oh my god the reverb. Watching this performance from the floor above the crew was incredible. Leanne was placed on a second storey open staircase with just her voice and a guitar. When you watch the video back you can see her smile with delight as her voice fills the entire three-storey room. After the cameras stopped rolling she even said how her guitar has never sounded as good on the day. For her to fill that space with just her guitar is testament to the talents of Ms Harte.
Sticking with the female fronted performances, Liz Seaver was up next. Her song In Between You and Me is a three and a half-minute slice of country pop perfection. Liz was an act that really caught the eye at last years Coast to Coast charity event and our decision to bring her back was rewarded as Liz simply delighted us with her vocal ability.
By the time we got to act 6 we started to get a little more adventurous. Autumn Owls was the first video to be shot outside on the grounds of the National Concert Hall. Autumn Owls played a song so fragile that the wind threatened to break it.
Inni-K’s ukulele backed DNA was perhaps the one with the biggest possibility of going wrong. By filming her on the giant staircase we left ourselves open to a stray sound ruining a fantastic performance. We manned the doors surrounding the corridor and hoped for the best as the Nokias started rolling. It was a risk that paid off as the room adds so much to the performance that it almost becomes another instrument. Inni-K’s voice dances around the concert hall’s illustrious corridors in the makings of a flawless performance.
Back outside we ventured to record Down by the Shelley Banks with Aoife Scott. Being outside certainly paid off as you can hear seagulls faintly in the background, a fitting addition to a song with so many coastal references. Aoife’s voice really shone through, and only has us dying to hear more from her forthcoming album.
The Boxing Plot
The Boxing Plot played a stripped back, two guitar/two vocals performance of ‘Grizzly Bear, Wild Beast’. The contrast between both singers only adds to the allure of the song. We filmed The Boxing Plot in another gem of a room in the National Concert Hall. This room was filled with blackboards of fantastic nondescript scribbles including choice phrases such as: “Ronan Kenny doesn’t know wha”, “The goths should get the 1st floor” and “A bird sanctuary or a public shifting place”. Poetry!
Delorentos were the most well-known of the National Concert Hall’s 14 acts and it showed with their schedule. To take part in Coast to Coast, they had to travel all the way from Wicklow where they had just finished soundchecking for their gig that night. Hearing Little Sparks being played acoustically was an absolute treat.
Originally Liza Flume was going to have her video filmed in the only room with no windows, by candlelight. After realising that the room looked a little like the set of a horror film we upped sticks and moved to a far more suitable location. Liza and crew ditched the loop pedal for a haunting rendition of ‘Poison’ which was also the only acapella performance of the weekend (Liza, sorry for leaving you in the dark room whilst we filmed Delorentos!)
Crow Black Chicken
This was a first for Crow Black Chicken as they had never played acoustic before. Can we pat them on the back and say they nailed it? With gravely vocals, shuffling drums, bluesy guitar and a double bass this was not your standard acoustic performance at all.
CPNHGN showed up for an acoustic rendition of the impossibly catchy When Nobodys Talking. A straight up rock tune performed acoustically. If these guys can rock out like this armed with just acoustic guitars then you can only imagine the effect if you plugged them in – we’re certainly going to find out for ourselves very soon.
This Bulgarian female fronted quintet brought our National Concert Hall sessions to a close. With natural light fading, we pulled across the massive blackout blinds and tried our hand at stage lighting. Keep Up was a perfect close to a long day. A foot-tapping, pop singalong that signalled the end to a fantastic day.
If you enjoyed these videos which were shot entirely on Nokia Lumia 920’s, you can support Down Syndrome Ireland and put yourself in with a chance of winning a phone worth around €700 (unlocked). Every €5 donation puts you in the draw for a phone, so a €20 donation is four entries. Please do support our efforts of recording, videoing, editing and publishing 40 music videos in one weekend for charity. Share the music, share the love.
Coast to Coast: Tea and Toast – The National Concert Halls Sessions