Gig Review: Lisa Hannigan – Vicar Street, 16/03/2012
Photos by Seán Conroy.
Lisa Hannigan played to a sell-out crowd in Vicar Street on Friday following her hypnotic performance at the Meteor Choice Prize Live Event last week. Despite failing to take home the prize for her second album, Passenger, Hannigan certainly won the crowd on the night. Opening proceedings were Cloud Castle Lake, a four-piece from Dublin city. Their musical brand is a particularly ethereal form of post-rock. Front-man, Daniel McAuley’s distinctive voice has a touch of Jónsi about it.
The gig drew an odd-mixture of attendees. They varied from a large middle-aged segment to hipsters and rabid fans. One particular gentleman arrived for the concert at noon. He had a song dedicated to him for his troubles. Hannigan begins with ‘Passenger,’ performed without any accompaniment. There’s something about Lisa Hannigan that goes beyond quirky into mystical. At times it’s like her talent overtakes her and she becomes merely a vessel for the music. She sways, rocks and stamps as she navigates her way through the set. The respect which the audience has for her is remarkable. A hush descends during the softer songs. The only disruptive shouts are marriage proposals and encouragement. ‘O Sleep,’ is the only song that falters slightly from the recorded version in the absence of Ray LaMontagne.
Hannigan doesn’t speak all that particularly much but does make reference to emigration in the context of St. Patrick’s weekend and sheepishly nods to audience humour.
There are a mixture of songs from both albums including ‘Venn Diagram’ and ‘Ocean and a Rock,’ from her Mercury Prize nominated debut Sea Sew. There was a great warmth of atmosphere in Vicar Street that reaches fever pitch with old favourite ‘I Don’t Know.’ With each song, more lights appear in the backdrop which reveal the cover of the Passenger album. ‘Safe Travels (Don’t Die)’ is a crowd favourite with a wry sense of humour. The gig concludes with ‘Knots,’ which is dished out with brio particularly from her stool-attacking pianist.
Ninety minutes pass in the blink of an eye. As the band leave the stage, the audience are snapped back to reality. If only they’d come back and do the whole concert from the top. They don’t but there is a little more yet to come. The encore begins with a twee cover of Josh Ritter’s ‘You Belong to Me,’ and then moves to a song that they had never played before, ‘Black-Eyed Dog.’ The night ends with a raucous hoe-down rendition of ‘What’ll I Do.’ The crowd file out of Vicar St. having enjoyed themselves to the point of sentimentality, blessed with Hannigan’s farewell wish – safe travels, don’t die.