Review: Other Voices 'still has it all'

Other Voices, Dingle

****

Whether it’s techno in the local disco (Eclair Fifi), trad revamped in St James’s Church (Lankum), or singer-songwriters just about audible in a 20-person-queue-out-the-door pub (Maria Kelly), Other Voices still has it all.

Now drawing more than 10,000 people from Ireland and further afield to the weekend event in Dingle, most won’t make it into the church for coming-of-age gigs by the likes of Perfume Genius (though all the shows are livestreamed in most pubs around town), and without staking your place at a stool an hour beforehand, many could easily miss out on the free music trail completely.

Loyle Carner seems like the nicest man in town, no mean feat considering he was travelling most of the day for his set in St James’s Church. Nominated for the Mercury Prize for the laid-back, transcendent debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, the hip-hop artist stirs the pews with the rousing ‘The Isle of Arran’, which samples a 1969 gospel song. ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ is trip-hop with a message to keep on keeping on.

Admitting to being nervous, the Londoner reveals how he sampled his late father’s unreleased album and got his mum to recite a poem over the song, thus keeping them together forever. It’s a lovely moment — the resultant ‘Son of Jean’ is an emotional triumph.

On the music trail, Katie Laffan oozes cool in An Chonchuir, proclaiming in one track that she wants to sing like Amy, live as long as Frankie, and be like Britney, bitch. After the rambunctious pop of ‘Tastemaker’, it’s safe to add the Dubliner, who plies in Jamie T-style ska-punk, to the ones-to-watch lists for 2018.

St James’s isn’t the only church in town — An Diseart seemed to have a queue outside all weekend. Katie Kim on Sunday afternoon was particularly special. Still an act that you want to tell all your friends about, slow-burners like ‘Thieves’ and ‘Day Is Coming’ are particularly
beguiling.

Other Voices 2017, then — bigger, busier, but still very special.


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