IMMA – Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin
Back this year for a two-day event, the IMMA Summer Party has traditionally featured the weird and wonderful, and plenty in between. This year’s first day focused mainly on ‘future-leaning’ music, with the exception of Robyn Carey who spent the evening painting in the courtyard. All the events took place outdoors, either in the courtyard or in a tented area in the garden. First up was R&B artist Jar Jar Jr, who crooned some jazzy numbers such as Swimming Lapse and Song 50,000 Part 2. The live events were interspersed with Claire Beck and Donal Dineen playing DJ sets.
Aoife Nessa Frances was up next, who played her laidback music with a keyboard player in the courtyard. The setting suited her better than Iveagh Gardens a few weeks ago. The new songs sound promising (she didn’t share any of the titles), mostly in a similar vein to the recent single Emptiness Follows. It was back to the garden for Negro Impacto who played laidback funk. Songs like Feels Like A Dream and Carnival got a great reception and the sound in the tented area worked very well for them.
Next up was AE Mak with Glasshouse, who featured violins, cello, saxophone, keyboards and drums, topped off with a quirky singer who wore the influence of Bjork heavily on the sleeves of her robes. Unfortunately, the sound was a little muddy and indistinct, and had difficulty connecting. It didn’t detract from the overall ‘vibe’ of the event which was, for want of a better word, lovely.
After the chilled-out vibes of the sweet-voiced Efé, who treated the audience to some relaxed R&B, the evening came to a close with R.Kitt doing a DJ set heavy on big beats.
Day 2 was billed as more-relaxed, folk-inflected fare, as well as Emmy Shigeta and Desert island Sounds on decks, with Robyn Carey once again supplying the continuous patterns. First up were RUGS, the Rathfarnham Ukulele Group Society, a bunch of irrepressibly upbeat, red-clad ukulele players. Playing a set of covers, they introduced banjos, and a saxophone for Hall and Oates’ Maneater, covering everything from Coldplay to Johnny Cash. Something fairly unique!
Landless were four sean nós singers who mixed well-known pieces My Lagan Love and the Newry Highwayman with newer originals. Quite immersive at times, they introduced accordion in places. Aoife Wolf is an emerging Irish artist of whom more will surely be heard. She was joined by a fellow guitarist but unfortunately one of the guitar pedals blew the sound system during Big Room! They recovered well to play The Woman Who Shot Andy Warhol and Dilettante to round off a promising set, despite sound problems.
Ye Vagabonds were joined by Gareth Quinn Redmond but also the unscheduled appearance of a swarm of flying ants! Their brand of trad-folk proved popular however, playing songs like I’m A Rover, they got a good reaction from the audience.
O Deer were up next. Joined by a drummer, mailman Oisin played what seemed effortless guitar on Waterside and Stay At Home. Somewhat reminiscent of Villagers, could be one to look out for in the future. The night finished with Stomptown Brass, who did exactly as their name suggested. Consisting of tuba, trombone and many horns, they got the crowd up dancing.
It has to be said that the event was extremely well-organised, no major queues, acts started and finished on time and the atmosphere was very relaxed.