Info: Now in it's fifteenth year, Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 kicks off this Thursday night, with over one hundred acts across six different venues, in close proximity to both banks of the River Liffey. Here's a couple of acts I reckon you should definitely check out, but as with all Irish festivals these days, you're not going to be disappointed no matter where you end up over the three nights.
First off are a couple of acts that I haven't seen live before or are relatively newly formed (past 12 months say).
Well, as you may have already noticed above, the first one I recommend is Belfast shoegaze indie rockers Junk Drawer, very much enjoying their new track, 'Song 3' and its white hot guitar effects, they play Stage 2 of The Chocolate Factory at 7:30pm on the Friday night.
Also on Friday night is Ella Naseeb, who plays at 7:40pm downstairs in Tengu (Yamamori). From the little I've heard there's a very strong old-world folk sound to her music, like Leonard Cohen guitar picking and, well, I don't really know what vocally, that's the point! Below is her track 'Witching Hour', it's pretty special I reckon.
On Thursday Upstairs in Tengu you'll find Stephen O'Down, aka Handsome Eric, someone I've heard many, many great things about over the last year, he'll be bringing his idiosyncratic lo-fi sounds to the stage at 8:50pm. Check out the wonderful 'Great Ego / Death' below.
Straight after Handsome Eric on the same night is a man who needs no introduction around these here parts, Dundalk's Video Blue. Having just released his latest single and video 'Bombshell' which was released the other day, the London-based electro-pop and indie act returns to Ireland for possibly his final live date here of 2016. Below is the happy happy joy joy song, 'Disco Nap'.
And last but not least on the same stage on the same night, at 22:50 are 80's soaked electronic pop purveyor's from Dublin, Exiles, who just recently released their debut EP, Red Lights, below is the latest single, 'Holding You'.
Highlights on the Saturday night at The Chocolate Factory come courtesy of the excellent Jafaris (below) who is preceded by the composers of one of my favourite Irish singles of the year, 'Enso', by Harbouring Oceans, and followed by the crazily talented Rusangano Family. All three acts are on Stage 2 back-to-back from 19:30pm with Kid Karate closing proceedings.
Two stages are going to be of particular interest to me as well over the weekend, firstly on the same stage as Ella Naseeb downstairs in Tengu three of my favourite Irish acts of the last two years are going to be playing back-to-back, please fan me down with a handkerchief if I pass out from over-excitement on the night. In order of appearance from 21:40pm to 23:30pm are Elephant, Naoise Roo and Oh Joy, three of the finest Irish acts going right now and all excellent live, have a little taster below.
Elephant - Stay With Me
Naoise Roo - For You
Oh Joy - Habits & Recreations
The second stage I refer to is thankfully not on the same night! Saturday sees a plethora of hard rocking acts take to the stage at The Hub on Eustace Street in Temple Bar. Oh Boland kick things off at 19:30pm followed by New Valley Wolves, WOLFF and Bitch Falcon, tasty, tasty line-up for a rock fan like myself, absolutely not to be missed.
WOLFF - Flesh, Blood, Skin & Bone
Bitch Falcon - Syncope
Alternatively, on the same night at Wigwam an equally special line-up will be found across the Liffey at Wigwam on Middle Abbey Street. There from 19:50pm you'll see the amazing Saramai and band, the return of cult Dublin band Swords and the massive talent that is Maria Kelly who kinda did take my breath away a little earlier this year in Anseo on Camden Street when she supported RUTH.
Two more I'm particularly keen to catch as well are We, the Oceanographers and Participant downstairs in Tengu, both also on the Saturday night.
There really are too many to mention, and it's also the further new experiences I'm looking forward to having which is always a hugely exciting part of these festivals, it happens every time. If you find yourself based around one area of the city on each of the nights, and need to make a quick decision, below are other great options over the three nights;
Fang Club - The Hub - 21:30pm
Young Earth - Wigwam - 21:50pm
R.S.A.G. - The Chocolate Factory - 22:30pm
Vulpynes - The Hub - 19:30pm
Half of Me - The Workman's Club - 20:30pm
ROCSTRONG - The Chocolate Factory - 21:30pm
Cormac O'Caoimh - City Hall - 22:00pm
Pretty much everything in The Workman's Club if you're in the area, with personal interest coming in the form of Galants who are on at 20:20pm, Elm and The Shaker Hymn, both of whom have featured on the blog previously.
The full line-up is on the Hard Working Class Heroes website here http://hwch.net/index.php/schedule/ and tickets are available here, €45 for the entire weekend or €20 per night. http://hwch.net/index.php/tickets/
If you are prone to getting lost in your own city like I am, or you just like getting lost in new cities, you might want to keep the venue map below handy, I'll pretty much have multiple screen shots of it on my phone.