The Iveagh Gardens is hands-down the nicest park in Dublin city centre. It’s an excellent venue for concerts and entirely muck-free thanks to the plastic flooring laid down over the grass. On Saturday night, it played host to the PIAS Nites concert featuring C.H.A.M.P.S, Cathy Davey, Other Lives and Lisa Hannigan.
C.H.A.M.P.S took to the stage at five and performed a competent set of indie pop. They were followed by Cathy Davey. Davey performed a string of her hits including Reuben, Mr Kill, Little Red and Moving. Other Lives brought their vast expanse of sound to the stage as dusk began to fall.
Hannigan played a collection of songs from 2012’s Passenger and Sea-Sew (her Mercury-nominated debut album). Highlights included Little Bird, I Don’t Know and Ocean and a Rock. Cathy Davey and Rob Cunningham snuck on stage to perform backing vocals on Venn Diagram and a couple of other tracks. Paul Noonan joined Hannigan onstage for This Must Be the Place. Davey and Hannigan performed Blue Moon as a duet. James Vincent McMorrow took his turn on Some Surprise. Other covers included Personal Jesus.
For all Lisa Hannigan’s quirky charm, there was one utterance last night which soured proceedings a little. She dedicated Some Surprise to a same-sex couple of her acquaintance who are entering into a civil partnership next week. The singer then declared that she was proud to live in a country where a same-sex couple could marry, but the fact of the matter is that this simply isn’t true. Civil partnership does not provide any inheritance rights or parental recognition for same-sex couples. It was a disappointing oversight which suggested a larger societal ignorance to the continuing discrimination against LGBT people in Ireland.
Politics aside, Hannigan did provide a wonderful spread for the throng of people who came to see her. The set culminated in a rousing rendition of Knots during which Hannigan was doused in paint in a recreation of the music video for the songs. It was a strong set and marked a milestone in Hannigan’s emergence as one of the leading figures in Irish music.