Broken Melody Records Compilation #002 Launch – Ana Gog, Hillspeak, Hannah McPhillimy & Ciaran Lavery
Thursday 27th February 2014 – McHugh’s Basement, Belfast
On a busy Thursday night for local music, local label Broken Melody Records opted to showcase their brand new compilation with a cosy evening of music in the surroundings of McHugh’s basement. On the bill are four of the seven acts from their second release; Ciaran Lavery, Hannah McPhillimy, Hillspeak and Ana gog.
The man from Aghagallon, Ciaran Lavery was up first. With just his acoustic guitar for company, he is the only solo act on the bill; yet his music needs nothing more. His voice has a husky, gravelly texture that sets him apart from his contemporaries. The pinnacle of his set comes from ‘Shame’, featured on the aforementioned compilation. Those who were captivated by the music featured in recent film, Inside Llewyn Davis, will discover and enjoy plenty of joyously heartfelt material from the Captain Kennedy front man.
Arguably the big local name on the bill tonight, Hannah McPhillimy provides some jazz induced pop to the slowly growing crowd. It is an intriguing set tonight as she has a full band behind her, rather than her recent appearances on her own. The band really brings out the jazzy nature and intent behind her tracks, with ‘Take Care’ sounding much more textured and emphatic. Sadly her set is beset with technical problems but the fresh and welcoming nature of ‘Homecoming’ magicked up from her ukulele and a cheeky cover of Duke Special’s ‘Low’ ensure this is still a typically stellar set.
Dromore’s Hillspeak are one of many newish indie-folk bands trying to make a name for themselves in NI. Their sound tonight is bustling and industrious with more than a passing nod towards the more traditional irish folk that Ireland is renowned for. Their music provides the first proper opportunity for a few of the crowd to get down to the front and have a dance. New track ‘One Less Problem’ getting its first play alongside current single, ‘The Dusty Mountain’ are up there with anything else from this genre over the last few years.
The headline act is the only non-Northern Irish band on the bill, and relatively unknown north of the border. That said Ana Gog are a nice mellow choice to close off the evening. Their tracks ebb and flow with subtle instrumentation before front man Michael Gallen’s vocals wash over the top. On occasion tad psychedelic, it is reigned back in with soft intricate harmonies that are perfectly suited to such a small venue. With a lot of positive press behind them, it would be a surprise to see Ana Gog return to Belfast in such an intimate venue; bigger things await them.
The brand new compilation from Broken Melody Records is now available to purchase from their bandcamp: