A decent line up of three different acts for a very reasonable 10 euro was the proposition in Grand Social on a warm July evening. First up was At Last An Atlas (aka Dubliner Greg O’Brien) who billed this as a retirement party for his old songs. Alternating between acoustic guitar and keyboards, songs like Eimear Hush strived for a kind of mellow version of Jape.
Athlone’s Driftwood Manor upped the ante with a truly unique line up of bouzouki, fiddle and decks. The band, with singer Eddie Keenan switching between bouzouki and guitar have an easy, backwoods way about them. Their skilful and sensitive playing lit up tunes like The Fog Will Rise At Dawn and Trees Shaped By The Wind, evoking the likes of Nick Drake, Richmond Fontaine and Warren Ellis.
RM Hubbert has attracted praise this year for his latest album Thirteen Lost & Found. His stageshow is fairly simple, consisting of breathtaking flamenco guitar accompanied by his fingers tapping the body of the guitar. Fine songs like Hey There Mr Bone, V and Car Song were interspersed with anecdotes about life punctuated by a very Glaswegian humour. Despite a recent chest infection his vocals got an airing on False Bride and the aforementioned Car Song.
The show felt emotional, personal and cathartic. This is not an artist going through the motions. He plays these songs because he HAS to. Not to be missed.