Like most events last year, MusicTown – which was originally supposed to take place in April – was rescheduled to last September and moved online.
The good news is that the festival, which runs in venues around Dublin and is focused on live music of all genres, is back for 2021 – and although it's online once again, organisers have conjured up a seriously impressive and eclectic line-up for music fans from April 15th - 25th.
Alongside well-known names like Paul Noonan, David Kitt, Adrian Crowley and Cathy Davey, there will be special performances by contemporary classical collective the Crash Ensemble, concept shows about musical time travellers and a 'tale of a modern Dublin' told via several voices in the Word Up spoken word collective.
The best news is that almost all of the events are free – we'll catch you down the metaphorical front
1. CATHY DAVEY – Live at the Peppercanister Church | Thursday 15th at 8pm
We're not gonna lie; given the fact that a Cathy Davey gig is a rarity on any occasion (alongside the fact that we've been starved of live music for a year), we're very excited about seeing one of our favourite Irish musicians play a gig, whether it's online or not. Add in the atmospheric surrounds of the beautiful Peppercanister Church, and this ought to be magic.
2. FEARS – performing her debut album 'Oiche' in full | Saturday 17th at 9pm
It's not just established names taking part in this year's MusicTown – comparative newcomers like Fears, aka London-based Dublin artist Constance Keane, will be taking part too. From her artwork to her videos, the pop artist places an emphasis on visuals in her music so this show, which will see her perform her debut album 'Oiche' in full, promises to be special. In keeping with the album's title, it will “guide the audience through four stages of night-time – dusk, midnight, 3am, and sunrise”, with custom-made costumes and musical guests.
3. ROOFTOP LULLABIES | Sunday 25th at 8pm
One of the focal points of MusicTown is using various spaces and venues around the capital to stage gigs. However, just because this year's programme is online, it doesn't mean that that can't happen in 2021. Three superb artists – Soda Blonde's Faye O'Rourke, folk artist Brigid Mae Power and alternative r'n'b act Monjola – will be performing reworked and reimagined versions of well-known Irish songs from a rooftop location in the city centre. Sounds brilliant.
4. DAVID KITT & KEVIN BARRY – Cornaleena | Friday 16th at 9pm
Collaboration has become more important than ever during these trying times, and it's especially evident throughout the MusicTown programme. One of the most striking collaborations will take place between musician David Kitt and author Kevin Barry, who will present a show called 'Cornaleena' – a project that originally began as a story about a fictional west of Ireland town where “the air is heavy with a long-gone lonesome blues but there’s a magic too, and an unusual amount of floatation tanks.” The pair have collaborated with filmmakers Frank Sweeney and Cóilín O’Connell to make a short impressionistic film featuring contributions from numerous musicians, including Katie Kim. This sounds somewhat bonkers but 100% intriguing.
5. JUNIOR BROTHER'S HIBERNORAMA | Thursday 22nd at 8pm
Filmmaker Bob Gallagher has been closely entwined with the Irish music community for several years, making videos for acts like Villagers amongst others. Since film is clearly a big part of this year's event, he has worked with various artists on the MusicTown programme but we're most curious about this one – a collaboration with young Kerry folk musician Junior Brother that will see “a specially created Junior Brother concert stream and discussion where they will strip bare their creative process in uncomfortably close quarters.” Most importantly, we want to see what they're planning with this contraption:
For the full programme, see musictown.ie.