Published on December 22nd, 2011 | by Aaron McAllorum0
Gig Review: Lisa Hannigan & James Vincent McMorrow @ The Button Factory for Meteor Choice
Bosses don’t generally come much kinder than my editor in Culch Towers so when she was double booked, I was dispatched to the Button Factory to cover the latest Meteor Choice gig.
In the orange corner was the delicious Lisa Hannigan, while in the white corner was James Vincent McMorrow (better known as JVM to 16-year-old girls on Facebook). Refereed by the always-enthusiastic Stuart Clark from Hot Press, it was part of a series of shows best described as prequels to the Meteor Choice Music Prize before nominees for the IMRO/IRMA sponsored cash prize are announced in January.
The night offered fans a chance to catch acts in more relaxed and intimate surrounds than the typical commercial bread-and-butter type show. An obvious exercise in promotion by Meteor, the move must still be welcomed for rowing in behind great Irish music.
The gig kicked off with Ms. Hannigan slinking on stage after an expressive introduction from Stuart Clark. Hannigan immediately clutched a mandolin and pretty much gave the crowd a warm fuzzy hug with the first track from the Passenger album ‘Home’. As gentle an opener as you’ll ever get, she whispered an almost shy ‘hello’ into the mic before taking us through a number of crafted and well-produced tracks such as ‘Paper House’ and ‘Lillie’. Hannigan likes to come across as some sort of nervous and insecure geek type, but her words, though delivered quietly, unveil a witty, sharp and confident woman. After hanging an enthusiastic photographer out to dry in front of the audience with a reference to gynaecology and fine china (memory banked) she goes on to have a pop at JVM over an on-going Twitter feud.
The interval was framed by duets; covers of Ray LaMontagne and Gillian Welch tunes, both Hannigan and JVM briefly forgetting their online rivalry to deliver excellent renditions before being snatched back to reality with a well-timed shout from the upper end of the house for a ‘dance off’.
In the second half, JMV belted through tracks from his debut album Early in the Morning, a complete change of pace from earlier in the evening. As expected, ‘Sparrow and The Wolf’ and ‘This Old Dark Machine’ were thundered out and received a roaring approval. A hugely charming and talented man is JVM and many a lady collectively gasped for him after ‘We don’t eat’.
If possible try to catch Lisa Hannigan and/or JVM in the smallest venue you can, thank me for it later.
Finally, because I’m new to this lark and a relatively shy and polite individual, not used to going to a gig and having to pay real attention and scribble notes in the dark instead of getting merry, I have to admit the last moments of the gig are a blur … Brendan Gleeson was sitting behind me! S T A R S T R U C K.