The best live show we’ve seen in aeons? That would be Lisa Hannigan at the Spirit Store in Dundalk last Thursday night. Singing songs from her forthcoming “Sea Sew” album (due out in October), she was all sparkle and star quality. Her new songs are charming monsters and belters, each one adorned with very simple but very striking musical bows and ribbons. Her band - four dapper be-suited chaps - are perfectly in tune with where Hannigan wants those songs to go. Make no mistake about it, she’s the boss. She’s playing a couple of more dates this month before the Electric Picnic so check them out. By this time next year, she’ll probably be supernova and well on her way to selling a million copies of that album. Yep, that show really was something else altogether (see Tony’s review for more raving). [source]
Spirit Store, Dundalk
For too long wrapped up in the sheets of swaddling clothes that made an unwitting, perhaps unwilling messiah out of Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan (one-time Rice's muse, some say, but you'd be wise to ignore the gossip) has recently unfurled herself and her music, and laid bare her solo work for all to hear.
Uncharacteristically for someone of her status (read: low-key, virtually unknown in a solo capacity, a singer not in any way piggy-backing on Rice's success), she has embarked on a scene-setting nationwide tour, complete with a band and a set of mostly original material.
In lesser hands, such an undertaking could have been disastrous, but what we have here is a brave, quite audacious attempt at trying out different music on an unsuspecting audience.
The first thing that drags you under, sucks you in and delivers a series of undulating body massages is not so much the songs but their arrangements; utilising an array of non-traditional rock music instrumentation (xylophone, recorder, banjo, trumpet, finger bells and a Casio-type keyboard that sounds like, says Hannigan, "a duck walking into an electric fence"; she's right, as it happens) the music comes across like little else currently peddling its wares around town.
Equal parts coquettish, sensual, adventurous and singular, the songs are quiet triumphs, subtly stippled by a terrific band with alt rock/pop reference points (we hear forgotten bits of Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, soundtrack snippets of Angelo Badalamenti and Yann Tiersen, and faraway-beach echoes of Brian Eno) and a very good tailor.
Hannigan handles all of the above with aplomb, grace and wit. She gets lost in the music occasionally, which is simply beautiful to see; the music occasionally gets lost in her, which is even more so.
Lisa Hannigan performs at The Thatch Rahan, Tullamore, tonight; Garter Lane Theatre, Waterford, on Thursday; Bell Table Arts Centre, Limerick, on Friday; The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle, on Saturday; Backstage Theatre, Longford, on Tuesday, Aug 12; O'Keefe's, Clonmel, on Thursday, Aug 14.
© 2008 The Irish Times
Una and Lisa's team has requested videos not to be taped during these shows, but one made it through the cracks from the Dundalk show. It's a new version of Your Ghost: