REVIEW: Hidden Machine presents Dani Album Launch – Voodoo, Belfast
Thursday the 21st of May marked the launch of “ A Whisker Away”, the new EP offering by acoustic folk singer-songwriter DANI.
The E.P. which was launched in Voodoo, follows her first album “It Speaks for Itself” and boasts a fantastic range of songs which explore new musical territories and showcase her considerable talents.
Opening act The Hardchargers kicked off the evening with a dynamic performance. The blues-roots duo juggled a complex quantity of instruments, simultaneously playing the Washtub, drums, electric guitar, resonator guitar and mandolin. The authentic bluesy rock vocals complemented the riffs and rhythms and the result was an eclectic, hectic and fascinating mix of sound and tempo, which had the crowd in awe.
Next up was Dublin native Naoise Roo who played an intimate set with one guitarist instead of her usual full band. The result was no less mesmerising, with Roo having a very distinct stage presence. Her set, which follows the release of her album “Lilith” included songs like “Oh Son” and “Poor”. Combining grunge, jazz and electronica and with vocals comparative to Kate Bush, Chelsea Wolfe and Marina Diamandis, Roo skilfully switched between soulful to screeching, from gentle to hard keeping the audience bedazzled.
Son of a Hound, formerly Meb Jon Sol, played next. The folksy/bluegrass band put on a very strong performance and built a funny rapport with the audience. Performing songs such as “I’m From Nowhere” and “Angie” with a lot of gusto and purpose, lead singer Mick’s vocals remain distinctive and refreshing and are welcome with the band’s bass, guitar and drum accompaniments. The lively set with its catchy riffs and purposeful bass lines was finished off with the memorable “Captain of This Ship”, achieving instant audience recognition and approval.
Just prior to midnight accompanied by a double bassist, guitarist, violinist and drummer, DANI took to the stage. Kicking things off with the soulful, rhythmic “Devil’s Pond”, DANI instantly beguiled the audience. The crowd quickly doubled and the atmosphere in the room became tangibly supportive and full of love. DANI effortlessly fed into this, with an easy rapport and her trademark dry humour.
Her next tune “Sun” was played while bright yellow spotlights shone on the stage, and despite the title, the song surprised with elements of gothic and gloom, combined with her trademark traditional folksy vocals. “The Magpie” followed which DANI played unaccompanied. It’s experimental introduction, allowed DANI to showcase her creativity and skill, as she effortlessly beat, strummed, finger picked and played her guitar creating an autonomous labyrinth of sound. The song, which was interspersed with some vocals and humming, visibly impressed the audience.
The set followed with “No Doubt” and recent release “Heartbeats” which had a slow intro accompanied by haunting melodies, steady beats and perfectly placed violin drones. Whilst tuning her guitar between songs, DANI conducted an authentic and very funny back and forth with her audience, who were full of supportive cheers and banter. Next up was the instrumental “05 for Jonah” which again allowed DANI to explore her talents and showcase her guitar playing. The song, which started at a medium tempo, increased in pace and rhythm as the song developed and then slowed down again for the outro.
For her penultimate song of the night, DANI chose a song she had written in Scotland called Samson and Goliath, which was a beautiful and honest tune. Finally, to cheers and whoops, DANI performed her cover of “The Auld Triangle”, a song she had recently released for Northern Ireland’s Chest, Heart and Stroke. Asking the audience to sing along, DANI performed a beautiful version of this traditional Irish tune, with plenty of harmonising and an upbeat tempo. The crowd joined in gleefully and loudly sang along to every verse and chorus. It was an excellent end to a successful night. DANI’s E.P. “ A Whisker Away” is now available to buy. Una Mackle, GiggingNI.com