we are family! – the brownbread mixtape #5 in review

To say that the most recent brownbread mixtape was a success would be a ridiculous understatement. It was easily the most raucous, hilarious and brilliant night yet. A massive audience of over 80 peeps crammed into the glorious room upstairs at the stag’s head and act after quality act wowed the assembled masses. The theme of the night was “family” and in keeping with that, there were slews of siblings, parental units and other associated family members dotted around the room. And of course, the brownbread family itself grew a little closer, a little stronger and a little bigger.

Enda and Kalle kicked off the evening as per usual with an audience singalong version of the Sister Sledge classic “We Are Family”, complete with “more cowbell”. Our first act of the evening was the talented and generous singer, Pearse McGloughlin, whose recent debut album Busy Whisper was heralded by all corners and made several prestigious end-of-year top 10 lists. He enchanted the audience from the off with two super new songs and made many a new fan. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for him this year, it promises much and his star is deservedly in the ascendant.

Next up we had the witty and warm poetry of Niamh Bagnell. Her deft delivery, coupled with her honest and finely crafted poems drew everybody in and garnered a greatresponse. Her poem about her mobile phone addiction is a thing of real joy. Find out where she is reading next and request it. Don’t forget to switch off your phone first though.

Following that we had our resident brownbread players, Gus McDonagh and Eva Bartley, onstage to read some recently intercepted Santa letters written by a variety of national and international celebrities. As ever, Gus and Eva imbued the silly jokey letters with real craft, humour and zip, making them ten times more funny than they were on the page. As evidenced by the roars of laughter from the audience that greeted each letter.

Closing out the first half was the gifted singer and songwriter Enda Reilly, whose passionate songs in Irish and in English brought the room to a raptured silence. Enda’s mellow warm voice, his crafted lyrics and deft guitar playing are a thing to behold in full flight and tonight was no different. Eimear Lynch joined him onstage to play the fiddle, adding graceful accompaniment to each fantastic song. They finished out their set with an exquisite rendition of The Lakes of Ponchartrain. You could have heard a pin drop.

After the interval we had a raffle in which the one and only brownbread mixtape t-shirt in existence was won, some delicious Angel Delight dessert provided by Stephen James Smith was also won, and the most coveted prize of the evening “The Sopranos Family Cookbook” was won. Audience stories about their families were recounted including Kalle’s in-laws and their affinity for gator wrestling.

Our first act of Side B was comedian Dave Hurley. It was the first time a comedian had performed at the brownbread mixtape and what a way to kick it off. Dave was cheeky, charming, clever and most of all, really funny. Dave’s set was snappy and set the bar high for any comedians who dare to follow in his brownbread footsteps. His bit about puppies and reducing them to a granular consistency is destined to be a quoted classic. You will be hearing more about this man. Mark our words. Hopefully in a comedy context.

The next act up was poet Lorna Larkin who knocked us out with a pair of powerful, deeply honest poems. The willing audience audibly drew in air as she performed and then exhaled in an explosion of applause. Lorna doesn’t perform her poems very often, but on this evidence she really should.

Our resident brownbread players returned to the stage to read a second round of Santa letters. Applause levels were louder. Laughs were harder. Everything was even better than the first half.

Our final act of the night was comedy musical act The Lonely Schizophrenic and what a cracking performance it was. The songs are catchy, disgusting, hilarious, hummable, outrageous and ultimately just plain great. Frontman Anto Kane is a bundle of fizzing energy, sharp observations and cheeky divilment. Andy Delamere’s understated guitar accompaniment and vocal harmonies add real depth to an already fantastic performance. If they are playing anywhere near you soon, do yourself a favour, go see them. They are deadly and they do not deserve to be lonely.

As always, you can listen to audio from the night at our myspace page and we would like to be your internet friend on our facebook page. we now tweet too at our twittering page, so follow us there if the inclination takes you. Otherwise, just spread the word by the old fashioned mouth method.

Thanks again for making it such a memorable night and we look forward to seeing you at the next brownbread mixtape on february 24th!

[All photos taken by the lovely Jessica Ryan. (c)2010 ]

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