The Big Giant Head Tour @ Cyprus Avenue, Cork 30th March 2017

The Big Giant Head Tour kicked off in Cork’s Cyprus Avenue this week, so I decided to get my big, giant head down to see what all the fuss was about. In a refreshing break from the norm, the acts on this tour have agreed to rotate the order of play nightly to give all 3 acts a chance to headline.

Dubliners Barq have the honour of getting the tour started, but sadly as is far too common these days, they are playing to a smaller crowd than deserved. Since the release of their debut single in March 2016, this excellent 4 piece have carved a niche in the Irish music scene and have continued to flourish. ‘Agro-soul’, a term coined by Barq themselves, best describes their blend of hip-hop/soulful vocals layered over rock guitars and funky bass. Front-woman, Jess Kav cut her teeth as a backing singer with fellow Irish acts; Hozier, Jape and Le Galaxie to name but a few, and she is all the better for the experience. Kav’s stage presence and charisma make for a compelling live show, while the ease with which she changes from rapping back to stunning soulful vocals is exceptional. The set itself is excellent, but brief, made up of 6 original tracks including; ‘Bear’, ‘Gentle Kind Of Lies’ , upcoming single ‘Earthquakes’ and an excellent cover of SBTRKT’s ‘Wildfire’ (unknown to myself beforehand) .

Harbouring Oceans had a bigger crowd by the time they took to the stage. The order of play tonight does them no favours as their atmospheric, indie-pop sound was always going to struggle with the crowd after such an up-tempo performance from Braq, but the Kilkenny, 5 piece were not deterred by the fact. Their set was also brief but enjoyable, the high point of their 5 songs was the set closer ‘Borderline’.

Rounding off proceedings were Hawk, hailing from the UK and the West of Ireland respectively. This 4 piece centres around the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Galwegian Julie Hawk and their sound falls somewhere between dream-pop and shoegaze. The highlight of their set is the magnificent ‘Take It Away’, the current single from their excellent ‘She Knows’ EP. Front-woman Julie grows in confidence as the show goes on and loses the acoustic guitar which in truth doesn’t add much to Hawk’s overall sound. For the set closer Julie starts on her knees before rising to her feet as the excellent show comes to a rapturous finish.

Words by Anthony Kelly