An explosive mixture of comedy, readings, acoustic sessions, traditional harp and acting, Nighthawks provided an excellent close to day four of the Dublin Book Festival. With seven original, exciting and astoundingly talented acts, this event had the audience mesmerised one minute and roaring in the aisles with laughter the next.
Foil, Arms and Hog blasted the stage with some of the best, finger on the pulse sketch comedy I’ve seen for a long time. No one was safe; from the Samaritans to iPhones to your friend’s sister, these guys could find the sublime or ridiculous in any situation. With their keen eye for observation and fabulous ability to mock human nature, it’s no wonder that their popularity is growing on an immense scale.
Colm Keegan followed with an outstanding poetry performance. Currently the slam poetry champion, his poetry was a maelstrom of vitriol, realism, emotion, passion and hope. From the beautiful ending of “The Boy is” to the stunning images of “The Crackle”, Colm’s stage presence and delivery was as inspiring as his carefully woven words.
Taking a different turn, the beautiful music of Jade Strings had the audience transfixed. Enchanting harp music by Aisling Ennis and the exquisite Soprano voice of Helene Hutchinson fused perfectly, creating a truly uplifting atmosphere. In an unexpected twist, the girls performed an amazing version of “Patience” by Guns and Roses as well as a memorable performance of “Make you feel my love”. And the collaboration with Tucan blew me away.
Totally Wired, Ireland’s answer to Flight of The Conchords, brought laughter back to the stage with their incredibly hilarious (and completely un-PC) songs. Full of charm and acerbic wit, Lorcan Hughes and Emmet Quinn had the audience rolling and crying with laughter in their seats. And not only are these guys brilliant comedians, they can also sing.
When Lennon vs McCartney, written and directed by Stephen Kennedy hit the stage, it was like going back in time to my late teens, arguing the virtues of each of The Beatles over pints of snakebite. Fabulously written and brilliantly acted, this snippet of conversation was an acute observation of pub culture, pop culture and male friendships.
Returning to humour, Colm Liddy’s story about driving in packed traffic had everyone nodding and chuckling away to themselves. Using a cleverly entwined mix of self-deprecating and observational humour, he gave a wicked insight into human foibles which was clearly appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Closing the evening were the original two members of the amazingly unique and talented Tucan. These guys got melodies out of their guitars that I never thought possible; and the speed was something else. With seamless synchronicity, Donal Gunne and Pearse Feeney created some of the most innovative and emotive acoustic music I’ve ever heard, creating a very grand finale to what was an outstanding evening.
If you missed Nighthawks, don’t worry; they organise regular nights in Dublin and I definitely recommend you go along to see what the fuss is about; I couldn’t praise the event highly enough.