Gig Reviews, Dublin, Festivals

15

So Cow, New Amusement and more at HWCH (night 3)

Review Snapshot: A rained soaked Dublin played host to the final night of this year’s HWCH. The night’s lineup was, to look at, the weakest of the 3 but as it turned out two of the weekend’s best sets took place on the final night.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:
Day 3 of 2008’s HWCH took place on a miserable wet Sunday evening which could have seriously put a damper on proceedings but things were rescued a little when it was decided to pull most of the bands from Meeting House Square and move them to indoors venues.

This call wasn’t made in time for New Amusement who from their vantage point must have thought they were playing to a sparse but enthusiastic crowd of umbrellas. Their debut EP from a few months back was a fine collection of indie tunes and their set was based around that. But also dropped into the mix was some fresh material earmarked for their debut album due sometime next year and their closing song in particular, announced as their next single is quite a step forward from that release.

With New Amusement wrapped it was off to Andrews Lane for no other reason that it was dry. Also there for more practical reasons were The Ambience Affair, a pair consisting of one guy on drums and another on vocals/guitar/loop pedal. The material was maybe a little singer-songwritery at times but Jamie Clarke’s prowess and imagination with his loop station dragged things up a couple of notches. He does a mean cover of Final Fantasy’s “The CN Tower belongs to the dead” as well.

Weather conditions scuppered my plans to catch Heathers in the Academy so I stuck around ALT as Exit: Pursued By A Bear began their set. Garage rock isn’t my thing so I went easy on The Revellions on Friday. They could be great at what they do but it was never going to do anything for me. Exit: Pursued By A Bear on the other hand. They’re an indie rock band, and that IS my thing. I hated them, a lot. So much in fact I was forced out into the rain in search of something more palatable to my ears. Carly Sings released her debut album to positive reviews earlier in the year and was playing The Button Factory at the time. At least worth a cursory listen for free right? The weather had driven many other punters into the venue but many seemed content to chat over the music. This made the set virtually unlistenable, I felt quite sorry for the lone Blackman on stage for the few minutes I spent trying to listen to her.

Next up was my first visit of the weekend to Temple Bar’s premiere toilet venue as So Cow was scheduled to play Eamon Dorans. Eschewing his usual setup of guitar, vocals and iPod backing tracks for a full band power trio lineup Brian Kelly’s songs greatly benefited from being able to be jammed out and stretched. Kelly is one of the country’s most prolific songwriters and don’t be surprised to see him release a couple of fresh albums in the next 18 or so months.

So Cow’s brilliant set should have been a perfect way to finish the weekend but before I headed out into the night for home it was announced that The Vinny Club would be playing an unscheduled set in the venue to wrap up the festival. The band up after So Cow was the 202’s, who I imagine really like The Fall. No bad thing that.

And to it was left to The Vinny Club to close out my festival. Same U2 schtick as the previous night, same brilliantly entertaining set, but this time with an extra special bonus stage invasion.

Ian Wright

In addition to Steven O'Rourke's Festival Diary for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of HWCH 2008, check out the following CLUAS reviews of bands who played the festival:


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