The Goo 1
Reviews ANNA MIEKE Live Reviews Musictown ADHAMH
O’CAOIMH The Complex Just at the cusp of Capel Street, The Complex played host to one of the more intriguing music festivals in the country over the summer, certainly one held in Dublin. Curated by Foggy Notions forerunner Leagues O’ Toole, the Crash Ensemble, Dublin Digital Radio and the venerable Improvised Music Company, the weekend sought to highlight some of the incredible artists resident in Ireland in a venue that not enough people have seen the inside of. Adrian Crowley's set proved as earthshaking as his baritone, his sombre intonations, subtle electronics, gorgeous Mellotron movements and booming, glacial Gretsch draping the Depot area of The Complex. Crowley opted to play a set comprised entirely of material from his forthcoming LP, which included two Samba seasoned numbers, through his deeply personal lens of course. The songs were beautiful, engaging works that herald an incredible imminent record. Anna Mieke’s ‘Theatre’ was rightly met with universal acclaim, and is a favourite 2022 release of more than one of the humble GOO staff. As wonderful as it is - and it IS wonderful - it could not do justice to her spirited live performances. She was joined this evening by frequent collaborators Matthew Jacobson and the omnipresent and everwelcome Ryan Hargadon, as well as fiddle player Niamh Dalton and Sam Claugue on bass clarinet. Her fiercely original work recalls a collection of all of my favourite things, the hypnotic percussion with the invention of Jim White and the ethereal, gossamer vocals of Linda Perhacs. Centre stage, surrounded by the band and gently swaying to the cascading flurry of notes she conjures so effortlessly from her PAGE 18 eighty seven year old Epiphone, Meike casts a fresh spark upon the seven cuts pulled from that album this evening. The slippery time signatures and rich harmonic structures of live staples ‘Coralline’ and ‘Seraphim’ were delivered with flawless precision, Mieke herself centre stage, a dervish rocking back and forth, the sparse strings and clarinet work complementing the subtle and thoughtful saxophone and vocal embellishments of Hargadon while Jacobson's impeccable drum work invested the incredible song craft with an indisputable urgency. I do not envy Wilco, who will be following her at their Olympia show later this year. Hargadon also reared his immaculately groomed moustache for an incredible groove laden performance from neo soul heroes Zaska, celebrating the imminent recording of a new live album with an incredible array of vocalists. Accompanying bandleader Max Zaska’s contemporary soul compositions were revered Dublin belters Melina Malone and Jess Kav, who put in staggering performances. With a number of cuts from across the band's two records. ‘Just for One Day’ and ‘Calm Down’ were met with enthralled applause, and ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ proving Kav and Malone easily as capable as Zaskas original collaborator for the song, Hozier. Tomike’s lo-fi leaning soul translated incredibly well to the stage, the Dublin producer backed by an incredibly tight and gifted rhythm section, carving a pocket as deep as the Mariana Trench for cuts like latest single ‘High Grade’ and fan favourite ‘Another Life’. Serious chops also from the singer's sidemen. Immediately following this, the constant delight that is Qbanaa’s Latin inspired take on contemporary soul music moved everyone in attendance, from this grizzled malcontent to the smattering of very small children in attendance. Celebrating the enthusiastic reception to latest single ‘Shrink’, the band's polished live show and infectious energy has proven a constant delight over the past months, and this sterling performance suggested no different. Elsewhere, The Carole Nelson Trio delivered a staggering set of thoughtful, restrained virtuosity to the The Cooler confines. Delivering a gorgeous set of cuts from their three remarkable albums, personal highlights ‘Dreaming of a Snake’ and ‘Deeper Still’ commanded a welcome silence, the delicate pieces ringing clear on the beautiful Kawai piano that stands as the centrepiece of the stage. The instrumental prowess of the Michael Buckley Quartet proved a dizzying affair, running down inspired take after inspired take on bona fide standards like ‘It’s Easy To Remember’ from saxophone deity John Coltrane, classics like ‘We See’ from the inimitable Thelonious Monk or signature numbers like ‘What’s New’ from Ahmad Jahmal. Their first performance with London piano prodigy Rick Simpson, his familiar rhythm section of Dave Redmond and Darren Beckett enthralled the rapt audience, moving one overly enthusiastic attendee to repeatedly scream in elation post solo when the man wasn’t calling for the band to play “a lovely blues” between songs. Notions aside, the quartet and weekend turned out to be an ecstatic celebration of the Improvised Music Company run The Cooler, an intriguing new venue right in the heart of the city, The Complex as a whole, and of the incredible quality of the music produced on the common soil we inhabit. In the words of so many uninspired movie press cuts, by all accounts, Musictown 2023 was a triumph. .. A TRIUMPH ..