Hollow Sounds Festival @ Set Theatre, Kilkenny 4th July 2015

Hollow Sounds is a two day festival set in the picturesque surroundings of the Ballykeefe Amphitheatre in Co Kilkenny. Sadly for me I found out on my way to the venue that due to unforeseen circumstances there was a late change of plan but as the saying goes every cloud has a silver lining and this particular cloud’s silver lining came in the form of the Set Theatre Kilkenny.

A wonderfully modern venue with all the class and style of any of Ireland’s longer established  theatres, The Set has a capacity of just under 400 people and was opened in 2009 but tonight is my first time in attendance at this gorgeous venue.

Slow Skies are the first on the bill tonight. Singer/Songwriter/Actor Karen Sheridan is the creative force behind Slow Skies and tonight she is joined by Brian and Patrick on Synth and Keyboards. Karen’s own brand of dark, melodic pop is ideal for her hauntingly beautiful voice. All of the set is played on acoustic guitar bar a track called ‘Bodies’ from the last EP which is the only song to get the Electric treatment tonight. ‘Bodies’ proves to be the highlight of their set which also included an untitled song which was played for the first time after last minute rehearsals in the car on the way down to the gig. Travel time well spent it turns out.

Second Up were Neon Wolf, a five piece Indie-Rock outfit hailing from Thomastown Co Kilkenny thus making them tonight’s local heroes. They are more than willing to accept the mantel and in no time they have the quickly increasing crowd on their feet. Neon Wolf were awarded the ‘RTÉ RAAP Breakthrough Bursary’ in 2012 and it is easy to see why as the frontman’s enthusiasm is infectious; he just won’t take no for an answer when demanding that the people in the balcony make their way promptly to the dance floor. His energy certainly rubs off on his bandmates who all clearly have a lot more left in the tank at the end of their all too short set. The highlights of which were ‘There’s A Meaning’ and ‘All Of Its Yours’.

The main event tonight is two time Irish Album of the Year winners Jape. Fronted by Dublin Richie Egan with able assistance from Paul Kenny and Glenn Keating. Jape have recently been riding high on the back of their current album, the excellent ‘This Chemical Sea’. Tonight set-list keeps the dance floor full and includes tracks from both prize winning albums along with some older favourites like ‘Graveyard’ and ‘I was a Man’. There is even time for a great cover of the Lou Reed classic ‘Satellite of Love’ where Jape are joined on stage by Karen and Patrick from Slow Skies.  The night finishes with a great DJ set from Richie Egan which ensures the dancefloor remains full until closing time.


Words by Anthony Kelly

Photograph by Brid O’Donovan