Stoneybatter Festival Concert – St. Laurence’s Church – Live Review – 24-06-17
Chequerboard, Mary and the Pigeons, The Keanettes – St Laurence’s Church, DIT Grangegorman
DIT Grangegorman was the venue for the inaugural Stoneybatter Festival Concert. A small but eager audience made up of all ages from young to old and even a handful of nuns were in attendance. The evening opened with The Keanettes, three Keane sisters from Waterford, who played a handful of originals like From The Outside and Vacation, along with a cover of The Girl From Ipanema. With three distinct voices and one sister on piano, they created a sound not unlike The Unthanks, or a bluesy Carpenters.
After somebody got over-eager with the smoke machine and set off the smoke alarm, next up were Mary and The Pigeons. Fronted by cello playing singer Mary Barnecutt, she was joined by a violin player, viola and a ‘male pigeon’ on piano. Barnecutt is a fine cello player and her songs are quirky and occasionally a little frantic. Hippo provided a fine, strident opener, and the band also powered through several brief songs such as Elephant, Crash, Laundry and Halfway There, creating a fine sound in the holy setting.
John Lambert records under the mane of Chequerboard and doesn’t play live very often so it was a rare treat to witness his performance. He played a set largely drawn from 2013’s excellent The Unfolding album, opening with Dunes, a fine piece that draws you into Lambert’s world. One of the finer guitar players around, he used a loop pedal to create an almost symphonic effect, and was supported ably by Mary Barnecutt on cello. Opening the Gates had echoes of The Edge with its intricate guitar patterns. A church is a perfect setting to hear Lambert’s fine immersive pieces such as Sorrow Bird and the soaring Today Is Beautiful, We Have Things To Do. The understated, almost apologetic Lambert teased us with a new song, a brief solo guitar piece entitled Red Avril which sounded promising. The small but impressed crowd, left in the knowledge they had witnessed something special, with the wonderful music chiming in their ears on their way out.