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The Iveagh Gardens, Dublin
Monica Heck, 31 Aug 2012
Lisa Hannigan closed her headline show at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin laughing, soaked and wiping paint from her eyes. It was abundantly clear she wasn’t lying when she said this had been “undoubtedly, unequivocally, hands down my favourite gig ever.”
The night had opened in style with a first-ever gig from newcomers Champs, followed by the compelling otherworldly Cathy Davey and mystical Americans Other Lives. But that the night belonged to Lisa was never in doubt.
The first of over 20 songs was a hushed version of ‘Little Bird’, with the band joining in for classics ‘Passenger’, ‘An Ocean & A Rock’ and ‘Paper House’. Lisa had surprises up her sleeve too, in the shape of Cathy Davey, who joined her on stage for ‘Venn Diagram’ and a playful candy floss version of ‘Blue Moon’, followed by a delicious a cappella version of ‘Pistachio’. James Vincent McMorrow and Paul Noonan also joined the party.
There’s an issue with Lisa’s intimate music in a festival setting in that some people just can’t read the mood. Random, well-meant whoops or shrieked declarations of love to Lisa kept popping the beautiful glass bubble of atmosphere she was crafting in quirky layers.
No matter. The early ebbs and flows of rhythm picked up with songs like ‘Safe Travels (Don’t Die)’, on which the audience could channel its affection by singing along, or ‘What’ll I Do’, it’s catchy chorus endlessly chanted to call Lisa back to the stage.
Having changed her dress from black to white, she re-emerged with a touching rendition of ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, dedicated to recently deceased drummer and singer with The Band, Levon Helm. Then horse hair flew during her bow-destroying interpretation of ‘Personal Jesus’, followed by paint, as she succumbed to the colourful chaos of the foot-stamping ‘Knots’. Drenched, laughing and carried by the cheers of the audience, Lisa was living proof that talent need not be po-faced. A roaring success.