A fine selection of bands, venues within walking distance and Meeting House Square. The pop-up gigs are a great extra.
Could have done with more time between the daytime acts to factor in the walk/cycle
Hard Working Class Heroes celebrates ten years in business, keeping us all busy over three days in the city.
by Justin McDaid
Hard Working Class Heroes turned ten this year and once more it was time to brandish the highlighter pen and start planning who to hit and miss. Spread around six city centre venues in relatively close proximity to each other, as well as various other establishments of a non-musical flavour, the festival provided three solid days and nights of music showcasing the local talent populating its timetable.
The buzz around town was great, with folk flitting back and forth across the river to catch the pop-up daytime acoustic gigs dotted around the place – we lounged on the beanbags in Budda Bag for Cfit, nabbed a coffee in Twisted Pepper before catching Ghosts and I ♡ The Monster Hero in The Loft upstairs, and browsed the shelves in advance of Slow Skies set in The Gutter Bookshop. Oxfam hosted A Dark Horseand The Dirty 9sin two different locations while cafés, tattoo parlours and even a boat were utilised in what made for some of the most interesting gig experiences of the three days.
The venues pulled their weight too of course, and Meeting House Square made a fantastic addition to Dublin’s live music scene. The enclosed setting and ornate canopies gave the impression more of a large room than an outdoor space, and it’s just a shame that they couldn’t extend the curfew.
It’s almost impossible to pencil in everything you would like to see so, as with every festival, there were ruthless choices to be made. The opening night kicked off in style with a double whammy of A Dark Horse and Ginnels in The Grand Social, slow burning intensity from the former and infectious jangly indie from the latter. Later in the night then, Jogging tore The Workman’s Club a new arsehole. An equally blistering set from Girl Bandin the same venue the following night ensured tinnitus flare ups were the order of the day.
Popical IslandersGroom and Land Loversplayed early sets in The Button Factory - crowd pleasers both – gearing us up nicely for Galway’s Dott in The Workman’s. It was a short, sweet set of surfy lo-fi and after a brief trip across the river to catch Owensie it was straight back for more in the same retro vein withSeptember Girlsand another really enjoyable gig.
It’s hard to fault the festival really; there’s music to be had from noon until the early hours if you have the stamina, and the daytime gigs – now in their fourth year – are a great addition. There is a certain satisfaction to seeing a man share a stage in a cafe with a birdcage and a plant that’s bigger than he is, as one of Tandem Felixdid in The Fumbally. Sure where else would you get it?
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