Angela Hughes had an incredible weekend in Dingle, in this review she tells us about Other Voices – Áine Cahill and Perfume Genius
Driving the road from Dublin to Dingle in December does not bring delight to many, but this is no ordinary journey. I am heading down for Other Voices; a music festival held in the most popular Kerry peninsula. So, armed with a slew of CDs for my old car stereo, and promising myself and my friends a stop in Adare, I am ready to tackle the annual trip with ease.
There is a multitude of events on for the weekend including Banter with Jim Carroll, Waxing Lyrical; an exhibition of artwork in the Other Voices Hub, Irelands Edge; a platform to discuss and debate the country’s relationship with its diaspora, with this year’s theme being ‘Migration Nation’, the Music Trail West, bringing people by bus out of the town and into the countryside, to enjoy a variety of acts on the way and, of course, the Music Trail which is what draws the hordes of people down to Dingle this December.
The Music Trail sees about seventy different acts play around the town and entry to see them is totally free. However the main event is in the Church of St. James’ and on the journey down I get word that I have secured a ‘golden’ ticket for Part 2 of Friday night’s performance.. I can’t believe it! This means I get to see Áine Cahill and the inimitable Perfume Genius. Praise be!
On arrival, Dingle is buzzing and how could it not be with a total of 10,000 visitors down for the festival. I make my way to the Church but not before a stop off in Adams for a quick pint of Guinness. St James’ is small with space for about eighty people and with each step closer to the entrance, I know how lucky I am to be here.
First up it’s Áine Cahill. This is the third time I have seen Áine, so stalker alerts have been signalled! She begins the evening with an acapella version of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang. The sacred surroundings lend themselves beautifully to the purity of her voice.
Like her voice, there is a real honesty to her lyrics. Her songs are all about her experiences with an increasingly compromising world. She continues her set with ‘Blood Diamonds’, followed by ‘Pretty Boy’, ‘Papercrown’,’Plastic’, ‘Psycho’, a mash-up of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ and Lana del Rey’s track ‘Will you still love me’ and finishes it off with her show stopper ‘Black Dahlia’. The crowd really enjoy her performance. I hear some say that they wonder what she’d sound like with more production. I don’t want to wonder. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Quick break and it’s back in for Perfume Genius. His music is something very special. It’s delicate, raw and full of emotion, and the listener cannot help but feel moved. He starts his set with three older tracks from his 2012 album ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’, Normal Song, Hood, and opening proceedings with ‘Dark Parts’ referencing the abuse of his mother when she was a child. The song is about him taking his mother’s pain away, but seeing this live feels that he is shouldering the burden of all our pains, whatever they may be.
He moves onto offerings from his new album ‘No Shape’, becoming more comfortable with the crowd, and with each song the crowd becomes more enthralled and charmed by him. By the time he gets to the lead single ‘Slip Away’ he has gladdened the soul of each and every punter in St James’. Coming to the end of his performance, there is a realisation that we have not just witnessed a fantastic show but have been part of a very exceptional experience indeed.
Maybe it’s Other Voices, maybe it’s being in a Church or maybe it’s because I had felt a bit drained after my car journey down, but I can’t help but feel that I have just been on a spiritual journey and I feel lifted by whatever power this man and this place exudes. I leave the Church ready to spread the good word of Perfume Genius and head out into the night to enjoy every single second of this most special festival. But you know, what evs!