LIVE REVIEW: Winter Longing- An Evening with Mongoose and Friends


Last Thursday I strolled into Whelans on Wexford Street not knowing exactly what to expect. The evening was billed as ‘Winter Longing- An Evening with Mongoose and Friends’ and promised to “explore unrequited love and yearning in the depths of Irish winter” and “Satisfy your winter longings at this night of music and poetry!”. What the packed venue was treated to was quite possibly the ideal way to spend a cold November night. It was an opportunity to slip comfortably into Winter and explore the emotions that this sometimes horrible, sometimes beautiful season often evokes.

In an unusual manner, the headliners opened the show playing some of the beautifully crafted songs from their self titled debut album. It’s hard to describe how amazing perfectly arranged harmonies sound when performed this well. Mongoose sound like they have been singing together their entire lives. Their harmonies blend so well they become one singular ocean of sound, it really is jaw dropping stuff. It comes as no surprise that they’ve been selected for the Other Voices music trail this year.

Next up was a stripped back set from the Young Folk, really lovely modern folk songs performed on Acoustic Guitar and Melodica featuring great harmonies(something of a reoccurring theme throughout the night).

Canadian born Dimitra Xidous, the first of the poets on the night, performed some very interesting and sexually charged poems, my favorite of which was Keeping Bees, which is also the title of her book of poetry available here.

Niamh Regan, the first solo act of the night, is a singer songwriter who plays captivating reflective pieces with some very interesting guitar work. I couldn’t find much recorded work online, so I’m interested to see what she does next.

Next up was Griff, better known for his work fronting New Secret Weapon. Griff’s solo work is very different to the band, but still similar in influence and performance. Fans of Jeff Buckley’s work will definitely like this material. Griff will be releasing a solo EP early next year so watch this space.

After a short interval to wrap our minds around the first half of the evening, The Eskies hit the stage for what they described as “Probably the least noise we’ve ever made on stage”. The band, well known for their energetic and raucous live shows, treated us to a rare glimpse of their quieter side on this occasion. They even gave us a sneak peek at a brand new song, their take on the archetypal story of crossing paths with the devil in the style of an old sea shanty!

The second poet of the night was the wonderful Eoghan O’Ceannabháin, brother of Muireann from Mongoose and a musician in his own right in the band Skippers Alley. Eoghan’s poems explored the disconnect of the digital devices that simultaneously connect and distance us. His words are powerful and thought provoking. He is initially nervous but his words speak for themselves. One topical poem about the situation in France and Syria receives a standing ovation with clapping that refuses to die down. If you have a chance to see this man perform, do it.

Mongoose returned to the stage to finish off the night with some more tracks including the gorgeous ‘Can I see you tonight’ and their fantastic new single ‘Slow Burning Feeling’. As the evening came to a close their was a distinct air of satisfaction among everyone in attendance. Apparently it’s been suggested that they should make it a yearly occurrence. For all those who missed out on this gig, I sincerely hope they do.

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The band will performing at the Christmas Craic’er gig in aid of Focus Ireland on December 20th along with some other fantastic musicians, details here.

Girl Band are back: New live video and 2016 tour dates!


Dublin Noise-Rock quartet Girl Band have announced a host of live dates for the new year, including their biggest Irish show to date in Vicar Street on April 1st (We really hope this isn’t an elaborate prank). The band were forced to cancel their previously sold out dates earlier this month due to health problems, so fans that missed out last time will be glad to hear this!

They will play in the Brewery Corner in Kilkenny on January 22nd, Garbo’s in Castlebar on January 23rd and Vicar Street in Dublin on April 1st with dates in Belgium and the UK in between these shows.

Girl Band’s new album ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ has been one of the best recieved Irish albums of the year and is rumoured to be under consideration for the Choice Music Prize. To celebrate the news they have released a live version of ‘Baloo’ from the album, which is available now on Rough Trade.

Tickets go on sale this Friday via usual outlets.

Full Tour Dates Below

Fri 22nd Jan – Brewery Corner, Kilkenny
Sat 23rd Jan – Garbo’s, Castlebar
Wed 17th Feb – Trix Antwerp, Belgium
Fri 19th Feb – John Peel Centre, Stowmarket
Sat 20th Feb – Concorde 2, Brighton
Mon 22nd Feb – The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
Tues 23rd Feb – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Wed 24th Feb – The Buyers Club, Liverpool
Fri 26th Feb – Tunnels, Aberdeen
Sat 27th Feb – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Mon 29th Feb – Village Underground, London
Tues 1st Mar – The Exchange, Bristol
Fri 1st Apr – Vicar Street, Dublin

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