Paul McLoone Show @Connolly’s Of Leap, Thursday 26th April 2018

I promised myself after last year’s show I would make it my business to get back down to the wonderful Connolly’s Of Leap, but life has a way of laying waste to even the best made plans. It was only the announcement of the now annual Paul McLoone Show’s road-trip that reminded me I had neglected to keep my promise. The scheduled line up of O Emperor, Fontaines DC and Le Galaxie meant that planning this long overdue trip to West Cork was a no brainer.

The crowd was noticeably bigger than last year by the time O Emperor took to the stage. The Cork based 5 piece had been on hiatus for the last number of years and January’s release ‘Make It Rain’, was the band’s first since late 2015. It was a very experimental set from O Emperor, who have changed their sound dramatically since we last heard them. The new style is groovier and funkier than it had been previously and is almost psychedelic at times. The new single in particular was exceptional and it was great to have O Emperor back.

It was almost 12 months ago that I first caught a Fontaines DC show, and that had been based upon a recommendation on The Paul McLoone show.  Since then, the Dublin based indie-punk 5 piece’s stock has continued to rise and I do not think I have ever  seen a band make a bigger impression on a new audience. From minute one of this all too brief, 5 song set the crowd were enthralled. Last year’s breakout hit ‘Liberty Belle’ was sensational and new singles ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and ‘Boys In The Better Land’ followed closely behind. ‘Hurricane Laughter’ was immense and brought a fantastic performance to a halt.

Le Galaxie are a group who I have been lucky enough to see on many occasions over the years. However, this was my first time seeing them since their traditional line up has become a 5 piece with the addition of former Fight Like Ape’s, vocalist MayKay. Their set began with ‘Pleasure’, the title track from their 3rd LP, which was only released last week, and although musically the 2 bands are polar opposites, none of the intensity from the earlier set was lost. Everyone was up on their feet for ‘Put The Chain On’ from their previous record ‘Le Club’ and this gorgeous little venue was shaking from the people in the upper tier dancing to ‘Can’t Stop’, which brought an end to a fantastic evening.

As per usual The Paul McLoone showcased the depth and diversity of the current Irish music scene whilst also promoting one of the finest small venues in the country.

Anthony Kelly