Monday, August 10, 2009

Review Lisa Hannigan in Daghdha

SINGER LISA Hannigan held an audience in her thrall last week as she performed a stunning set in Daghdha Dance Company’s St. John’s Church, delicately mixing her set with some impressive new songs as well as songs from her Mercury Music Prize nominated album.
The Meath chanteuse declared herself “mesmerised” by the venue when speaking to the Limerick Leader before the gig, but it was the large audience that were transfixed to the sight of Hannigan and her merry band, most of whom used to form part of Damien Rice’s band along with the beguiling singer.
Eminently more confident than the last time she played in Limerick little under a year ago, many months of gigs across the US and UK has seen her attain an almost symbiotic relationship with her band, consisting of Gavin Glass, Donagh Molloy, Shane Fitzsimons and Tom Osander - all of whom still play with those broad grins that were prevalent on their faces in their first few gigs with Hannigan. It is clear that they are also under her spell.
While still quite shy between songs, Hannigan has become a much more solid performer, opening her set with Pistachio, Sea Song and Splishy Splashy, three songs from her by now classic album Sea Sew.
However, it is the unsettling and eery Courting Blues that still transfixes, Molloy screeching a violin bow over the keys of a xylophone, Hannigan reduced to an almost zombie-like state as she sings, eyes closed.
Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues is a favourite of Hannigan’s and sat comfortably either side of her Venn Diagram with John Martyn’s epic I Couldn’t Love You More, Hannigan’s “favourite song of all time after the Ghostbuster’s theme tune”.
Her whispered performance of the latter is a particular highlight, stunning in execution. The jaunty Ocean And A Rock is followed by My Pirate Disco, which didn’t make it onto the album for some strange reason, and the excellent I Don’t Know.
New song Brolly Beats shows that her new material is strong, while the epic Teeth and Lille finish out the set. Hannigan returns for a solo encore, playing another new song, Passengers, by herself. This song is clearly influenced by her recent tour of the States, namechecking American cities in a winsome manner.
The group return for a final track in Keep It All, the standout track on the album and on the night, before they depart.
“This is a beautiful room, thanks very much for letting me bring my uncoordinated dancing in here,” whispers Hannigan before she vanishes.
Here’s hoping it won’t be long before she returns.

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