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Dublin Is Sound was just one of the many fantastic events being held across the country over the weekend to celebrate Record Store Day here in Ireland. An all-ages, alcohol free, midday gig in The Grand Social featuring some of this country’s talented noisemakers brought into being by Nialler9 & Seven Quarters as part of the Musictown Festival.
Tebi Rex, God Knows, Squarehead and Pillow Queens took to the stage in a succession of high energy performances that got a packed house jumping around like it wasn’t the middle of the day. Looking around at hoards of young kids bouncing along to homegrown hip hop or singing along with their favourite artists was so encouraging. The words “this needs to happen more” were overheard on more than a few occasions.
The indie hip-hop pop stylings of Maynooth duo Tebi Rex was a perfect mood setter for Dublin Is Sound to kick off with. Catchy hooks and upbeat pop with confident delivery of often impassioned lyrics from both of the frontmen got the crowd of all ages to kick off any cobwebs they may have brought in with them.
Matt O’Baoill and Max Zanga make up the intertwining pairing from the Word Up Collective, who have been enjoying a multitude of success stories with artists like JyellowL and Super Silly, and their on stage chemistry oozes fun.
One third of the formidable Limerick group Rusangano Family, God Knows has just released his first solo single ‘Crown’ and I was eager to catch him independently after seeing what the Family can do on several occasions over the last few years.
God Knows never lets you down. Whether he’s with Murli & mynameisjOhn or flying solo, he brings it.
We were also gifted with the fantastic Denise Chaila as she joined God Knows on stage for a couple of tracks. Chaila’s ‘Copper Bullet’ was one of the afternoon’s highlights and she is one to watch out for in 2019 after dropping her EP Duel Citizenship early this year.
Squarehead are one of the tightest acts in Dublin. Every single time I see them they remind me that I need to see them more often.
After their break from music due to mental health reasons, and fair play to them for taking the time to make sure they can keep doing what they love in a healthy mindset, the Dublin indie rockers returned with ‘Always On’ late last year.
We were given a short set of upcoming tracks from their LP and the lads have returned from their brief hiatus sounding better than ever. Their third album is due to drop this year and I for one will be impatiently awaiting its release.
As the crowd moved in and out of the brisk sunshine between the changing of the musical guard I typically found myself in give or take the same spot, surrounded by give or take the same people. That was until Pillow Queens were due to take to the stage. I found myself unable to get much closer to the stage than a few rows back as the front of the stage had been swarmed by teenage girls in Pillow Queen tees. This was their gig. This show was for them.
I got weirdly emotional. I thought of how I’d want to bring my imaginary future daughter to gigs just like this. It was weird, but it was full of beautiful hope. I also felt very old.
I somehow had never managed to catch Pillow Queens live before now and this was a perfect place to catch them doing their thing. The punk-pop darlings delivered a set brimming with the confidence and energy of a band that have been on a meteorite rise over the past twelve months.
‘Favourite’, ‘Rats’, ‘Ragin’ and ‘Gay Girls’ – they belted through the hits with adoring fans belting back every single word to them. It was wonderful.
Everybody was right. This needs to happen more.