Live Music Review: Choice Music Prize - 'Forget the maxim ‘Less is more’'

Live music review: Choice Music Prize

Vicar Street, Dublin


By Eoghan O’Sullivan

Forget the maxim ‘Less is more’ — judging by the Choice Music Prize event at Vicar Street, at which all ten of the acts nominated for Irish album of the year performed two songs each, more is more.

Ships, later announced as winners of the prize for their Precession album have swelled from two to five for the night, the irresistible ‘All Will Be’ sounding mammoth as a result.

Ships won the Choice Music Prize for their album Precession.

The Cork band Talos have six members whose glacial vibes are punctuated by Eoin French’s soaring falsetto. They’re getting used to the bigger stages, and with festival season around the corner — and a trip to the name-making SXSW next week — Talos look set to be one of the bands of the summer.

‘Your Love is an Island’ is anthemic, a slow build ceding to a monstrous bass and crescendo.

There are three solo performers on the night. Fionn Regan chooses not to play the highlight of his meandering album, the title track ‘The Meeting of the Waters’, and his ten-minute slot plods along as a result.

Four-time nominee James Vincent McMorrow is just back from a solo tour of Germany and exudes confidence, managing to silence the chatty room.

During ‘National’, a wry crooner about listening to The National (“You said your favourite song was the one about death”), you could hear a pin drop.

New Jackson, as host Eoghan McDermott suggests, is who you want to see at 3am, not playing at 8.30pm to seated, passive onlookers.

The second Cork nominee, Marlene Enright, is joined by Gemma Sugrue, their voices mixing joyfully on ‘We Were in Trouble’.

We’re also treated to the song of the year as voted by some members of the public — ‘That Good Thing’, by

Tullamore’s banjo-toting, hair-dance four-piece Chasing Abbey.

It’s a diverse night that leaves you wanting to hear more from most of the disparate acts. The fact that neither of the big winners were guitar-based also gave it the feel of a seminal night for Irish music.

Overall, the scene is in rude health. And Ships, a duo comprising veterans Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen, who made their album in their bedroom and self-released it after a fundraising campaign, deserve their place at the top.

More in this Section

Expert tips for turning your outdoor space into a honeybee heaven

What are sustainable cocktails? Here’s one to try at home

6 amazing health benefits of eating strawberries and their tops

World Oral Health Day: 5 things dentists really wish you knew about brushing your teeth

Today's Stories

105,000 people in jobs cannot make a living wage, report

Immigrant students more likely to be bullied

Brexit fallback deal on border is ‘legally firm’

Charlie Flanagan to discuss laundries report with Ombudsman


New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner