If you were in Dublin this weekend then you surely were spoiled for choice with the vast amount of musical entertainment floating about. This wasn’t a coincidence though, this was thanks to Hard Working Class Heroes. The annual festival that takes place in early October, boasts three days across six venues showcasing a hundred Irish musicians, bands and singer-songwriters who are set to be the ones to watch over the next 12 months. They play their hearts out to 10,000 Irish music fans and industry personalities who have all come to Dublin to experience HWCH, an event that gains huge media attention.
Ireland is regarded as one of the best countries for music and since HWCH first kicked off in 2003, it has showcased some of the best acts to evolve from Ireland. This has included Villagers, Delorentos, Coronas, Le Galaxie, Pleasure Beach, Strypes, Girl Band and even Hozier.
If I was to list all of the acts I took a shining to this weekend I’d be here with an endless list so I’ve picked just five of my favourites:
Elm, a five piece band from Dublin, played The Workmans on Saturday 8th October with a dark earthy quality to their music which they describe as Alternative Baroque Pop, think The XX meets Sigur Ros. Their music takes you through a crescendo lagoon of quiet reflective moments which burst into an alluring sound with haunting yet capturing lyrics from front man Dylan Walsh. Their atmospheric guitar, cello, synths and drums are creatively choreographed to deliver a personal experience to their audience. Elm certainly are a band I am excited to watch. Their latest release “Concentrate” relates to that paradox of a solitary journey that can be related to by us all.
Pale Rivers are a five piece alternative rock band from Clonmel by way of Cork. After spending the past year writing and recording new material with Gavin Glass, they dropped their debut single “August 6th” an electronic, climatic and energetic indie rock release the Monday before HWCH. You’ll want to listen over and over again to try and solve the mysteries that lie between the lyrics and beats of the track. Their set in the Workman’s on Friday 7th October, was electric, precise and the much anticipated act didn’t let their crowd down.
Warning, the video for August 6th (below) is a neon-hued strobe effect video that contains a lot of flashing imagery.
Irish producer Adultrock (aka Gav Elstead) has been on the music scene since early 2013 after playing in a multitude of indie bands. After deciding to launch into his solo project, Gav Elsted started delving into a more club-orientated sound, hitching vocals from his fantastic songwriting abilities. His fluid and almost hypnotic sound is capturing and alluring and almost unpredictable which entertained a captivated audience at HWCH venue Tengu on the Friday night.
Adulthood’s latest release “Push and Pull” is a classic dance-floor track with a funky baseline, synth roulade and glittering percussion.
Anticipated to be the gig of the weekend, they did not disappoint. Eoin French, aka Talos, is singer song-writer and Electro Producer from Cork who creates plaintive electronic pop music. Despite having grown up with music as a solid part of his education, Talos first arrived onto our audio radar in late 2014. His tracks are mesmerising with deep emotion. His haunting lyrics and his music videos (produced by Feel Good Lost) are froth with meaning and passion. Eoin admits his lyrics are far more removed from phrases he uses in his every day conversation, and never aims to write material so deep; “I always want to suggest hope, illustrating a passing through darkness into something brighter. Tethered Bones is about how love can give so much, but take away part of you at the same time.” Eoin’s music is creative, capturing and stays with you long after the last beat.
Talos latest release “Reborn” is a classic example of his mesmerising with deep emotional work.
Noise-pop Dublin based 4 piece band Galants played the HWCH in The Workman’s on Saturday 8th October and their energy was electric. They hit the music scene in early 2015 and their collective creative talents have produced tracks that throw us right back into a 90’s alternative rock era, influenced by Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and My Bloody Valentine. They’ve even caught attention from BBC Ulster’s Across the Line and gained airplay with their single “Out of Sight“.Hot Press Magazine listed them as ones to watch in 2016 and “singles of the fortnight” with their second single “Seventeen“.
They dropped their latest single, “Evergreen” days before HWCH and it’s evident from this why they were listed ones to watch.
I love discovering new music so please, share with me who your HWCH festival highlights were and if you happened to see any of these guys too.