Aoife Barry hit the road to see Marina and the DiamondsMiike Snow and Digitalism gig in Carlow, of all places.

Aoife Barry hit the road to see Marina and the DiamondsMiike Snow and Digitalism gig in Carlow, of all places.

Marina & The DiamondsFor those of us who live in the ‘big cities’ in Ireland it’s very easy to forget that the millions of people who live outside of the Capital want and need to see great live bands too. So it’s fantastic to see the likes of Heineken bringing the Green Spheres gigs around the country to towns that might not normally get to host such big names. On 12th November, the Foundry nightclub in Carlow’s Dinn Ri was the location for a gig by three acts – Marina and the Diamonds, Miike Snow and Digitalism. All very different and appealing to slightly different crowds, the acts pulled in what felt like the entire population of the Institute of Technology Carlow, who were more than appreciative of getting to watch three free gigs while sipping on a free Heineken.
The night kicked off with Marina Diamandis, AKA Marina and the Diamonds, who rather un-perceptively announced “most of you don’t know who I am and that’s ok…” at the start of her set. She may not have noticed the wide-eyed young fellas who were lapping up her every word, but by the end of her set the Welsh-Greek 24 year old was eventually convinced that she had many fans in the audience.
Marina is one of the young, British, female pop musicians whose name has been bandied about in hushed-yet-reverent tones over the past year, and many people feel that she’s set to do a whole lot of damage to the popular music scene in 2010. Hopefully though she’ll avoid the fate of fellow bright young things, Little Boots (two great singles followed by woeful tripe) and La Roux (overly hyped and always out of tune), and prove that being hyped up isn’t always a bad thing. On the strength of this live show, it’s clear that unlike Little Boots and La Roux, while Marina may also have a catchy moniker, she has the sturdy tunes and a fantastic voice to back it up. Belting through tracks like ‘Obsessions’, new single ‘Mowgli’s Road’ and crowd-pleaser ‘I Am Not A Robot’, she showed that she’s not some super-human caricature. Her lyrics show that she’s both an assured woman and a young person trying to find her place in the world, which made her seem more accessible and down to earth than your usual pop musician. Above all though, she had a stage presence and personality of someone a lot older than her years.
Marina calls her Irish fans her ‘emeralds’, and as the gig went on she realised that there were more gems in the crowd than she had first thought. “Have I converted you?” she laughed toward the end of her set, “you are all emeralds now!” Moments before, she’d set many male members of the audience’s pulses racing when she announced that she was looking for an Irish man. “My dad wants me to marry a Greek man, or if not then an Irish man,” she told us. Looking around, there seemed to be plenty of buachaillí – and cailiní – in the crowd who’d fallen for Marina that night.
After Marina, it was time for Swedish band Miike Snow to take to the stage. The mask-wearing band members were slick musicians and traded in the sort of synth-based pop-rock that The Killers made de rigueur, so it was no surprise that the crowd lapped it all up – especially the single ‘Animals’, which when first released reached #98 in the UK charts. Miike Snow have their fingers in a number of musical pies, and where Marina may have been slightly raw around the edges – in a very endearing way – these guys were extremely confident. It was all a bit too bland for my ears, but not for the majority of the crowd, which had tripled since Marina’s set.
By midnight, the venue was thronged, Miike Snow and Marina and the Diamonds had ramped the crowd up to fever pitch and it was up to Digitialism to keep things going until the wee hours. Although there was a bit of confusion at first as to where they were performing – as it turned out, they were in the room next to where the previous gigs had taken place, and the soundmen removing the amps were not ‘part of the act’ – once the German duo took to the DJ booth, all action moved to where they were. Playing a mix of tracks, including their own ‘Pongo’, they were the perfect amped-up end to a full-on night, and the futuristic-looking Foundry Nightclub, with its multitude of mirrors, different floors, and dance podiums, was the perfect venue for this gig. Proof, if proof was even needed, that great gigs by international bands don’t just have to take place in the larger cities in Ireland.

Promoters take note: there is a huge audience outside of the capital city who are extremely hungry for live music.

Aoife Barry

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