Between one thing and another we never got a real chance to review the raucous, wonderful night we had on March 31st. So, here it is, a review of a night that was truly incredible fun (with a few minor technical glitches).
The night kicked off as usual with a song by Kalle and Enda, but this time it was a truly original composition entitled My Blood Is Boiling For Ireland (which would later be crowned the winner of the Irish Times alternative national anthem competition). Rousing and rebellious roaring ensued.
This was swiftly followed by a pair of songs by our first act, the legend that is Eddie Keegan. He can be seen every Monday as the resident poet at The Glor Sessions downstairs in The International Bar. He regaled us with two original pieces that took dead aim at our useless lying government and melodically shot them down.
Yet another Dublin legend and friend of the brownbread mixtape then took to the stage, Mr Stephen James Smith, and he performed some fantastic poems old and new. His newest poem, Ireland is Like an Orifice, written especially for the night got a particularly huge reaction. As always, his performance was honest, unflinching and powerful. Stephen has a book of poems coming out this year. Make it your duty to buy it.
Next up was the first batch of sketches by the ever-excellent resident brownbread players. Sean McDonagh, Gus McDonagh, Eva Bartley and Kalle Ryan took their humorous skits to a new level and really brought the house down with their take on The Relationship between Ireland and England
Their witty look at the differing attitudes in Ireland versus the Rest of the World got roars of laughter and approval too and was an audience favourite if the chatter in the room afterwards was anything to go by.
Closing out Side A of the mixtape was a sublime performance by Elder Roche. Accompanied masterfully on upright bass by Stephen Mogerley, Elder enchanted the audience with his atmospheric songs and delightful lyrics. The crowd was eerily silent throughout his set, only to erupt into wild applause and cheers at the close of each number. The reception was so strong that Elder achieved a brownbread mixtape first. An encore. And he didn’t disappoint. Expect greatness from this man in the coming months.
Side B kicked off with hilarious audience stories and our now infamous raffle, featuring stellar prizes such as the limited edition brownbread mixtape CD (only 39 copies in existence!) as well as a T-Shirt fittingly emblazoned with “Come on Ireland!”
Our first act of the second half was the charming and delightful Sarah Maria Griffin. Armed with a notebook and a ukulele she had the crowd chuckling happily one moment and the next moment singing along to her delicate, lilting voice. Just lovely. Keep your eyes peeled for her next performance. Like hanging out on a cloud near the moon.
Next up was Colm Keegan. A magnificent poet who was in really rare form. By the time he hit the stage the audience were revved up and he came at them with all poetic guns blazing. His poems ranged from stunning the audience into tearful silence, to rippling with laughter and recognition. His new bespoke poem for the night “Ireland is…” had a hilarious rambling introduction about how he wrote it on his break at work, but left everyone reeling at its brilliance once it was performed. A modern classic. Colm is the real deal and you’ll be learning his poems for the Leaving Cert if there is any justice.
Another pair of sketches by the brownbread players followed and the punters devoured them with glee. First up was a series of ropey accents wrapped around funny cliches in the Regional Jokes sketch, which adhered to the adage that many a true word is spoken in jest.
Closing out their comedic set for the night, the brownbread players performed a sketch called “Come on Ireland” (funnily enough) that got a barnstorming response. Irish men watching sports. What could be more fun?
The final act of the evening was the man with a voice that would put Chris Cornell to shame, the one and only Neil Bailey. Accompanied by Ed and Andrea, he bowled us over with original compositions, a ballsy take on the folk classic Monto and a (better than the original) version of Nothing Compares 2 U. The drowsy, boozy crowd singing along to the refrain of that gorgeous song will truly live long in the memory. And on that sweet note, we all drifted homeward into the Dublin night.
Another glorious night in a glorious venue with a glorious audience.
Come on Ireland!