Saturday, 31 March 2018

Photos: K-Fest Launch @ Whelan's feat. ROE, Vulpynes, Cinema, JyellowL & Cathal Dowd

Vulpynes - K-Fest Launch Whelan's 2018

All photos: Remy Connolly

Info: Whelan's opened its main stage for the first time ever on a Good Friday last night with the launch and showcase of acts for K-Fest Arts & Music Festival, 2018. The Killorglin festival will take place over the June Bank Holiday weekend in Co. Kerry with a wide array of spoken word, drama, comedy, short films, and of course, a solid line-up of musicians. In addition to the performers last night, Vulpynes, Cathal Dowd, JYellowL, ROE and Cinema, this summer's roster includes Fangclub, LE BOOM, Katie Laffan, Vernon Jane, Alien She, Junior Brother, Emma Langford and many more.

Kerry native Cathal Dowd opened proceedings and humorously announced that he was the first musician ever to play the main stage at Whelan's on a Good Friday. The singer-songwriter set the mood nicely and interspersed songs with quick-witted anecdotes, he also raised the tempo of his set with a rousing finale using loop pedals, incorporating some quick-fire rn'b vocals, and even throwing the chorus for Blackstreet's 'No Diggity' into the mix with the audience willingly joining in.

Cathal Dowd

It was interesting to note the different genres on show last night, no two acts coming from the same background, with singer-songwriter, punk rock, rap, electronic and experimental alt-pop. Vulpynes were up next and they gave the public what the public wanted to paraphrase Paul Weller's 'That's Entertainment', playing all the hits from their first ever single (and big favourite of mine) 'Terry Said' to 'Silica' and, via a request from the crowd, 'OCD'. New material from their latest EP was also on display and it sounded amazing, it looked effortless but the duo have become such a tight unit at this stage.


It was my first time, and such a treat, to see Derry multi-instrumentalist and electro-pop act ROE perform, multi in every sense of the word, drum pad, guitar, synths and vocals, she had it all in check. The lasting memory for me will be the times she drove a full soul vocal home that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, ROE's singing is equal measures vulnerable but brave and somehow always directed to the centre of the heart. 

Another act cutting his way through the scene at the moment is Dublin's JYellowL, proclaimed as one to watch by respected music websites such as The Thin Air and GoldenPlec for 2018, his position of strength comes from the fact that he can easily appeal to hardcore Irish hip-hop fans as well as those with a casual interest in the genre. 


A great night was brought to a close by Kildare electronic artist Peter Fleming, aka Cinema. After seeing him perform a while back in The Bello Bar and highly enjoying his set back then I was looking forward to his performance very much. Once again he moulded a dream-like and escapist atmosphere carefully from the very beginning, as the set progressed you were more and more submerged in the alternate state his music aims for.


Additional photos: 

Tim Clifford of K-Fest 

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