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Taking the ‘difficult second album’ cliché by the scruff of the neck and thrashing the life out of it in considerable style, The Minutes returned this summer with a very big bang indeed in the form of the superb Live Well, Change Often. Harnessing their rock’n’roll prowess while adding some new strings to their bow, the Dublin natives raised their game, but it’s in the live arena where the trio really come alive, bringing the noise like few others. Old school powerhouses don’t come much bigger or better…
Booka Brass Band
The go-to brass-based ensemble for the likes of James Vincent McMorrow, Jerry Fish and Lisa Hannigan, Ireland’s first – and currently only – New Orleans-style brass band spectacular, Booka Brass Band, have been turning heads ever since they rocked into local venues armed with only their instruments and a handful of inspired covers. Having gone from strength to strength and taken in the likes of Electric Picnic, The Late Late Show and a sold-out debut headliner in The Button Factory, this uber-talented seven-piece have recently turned their attention to original material, with predictably thrilling and impressive results.
Arguably the finest Americana-flavoured outfit in the whole country, Rackhouse Pilfer are all about smooth vibes and good times. As Sligo’s answer to the great American folk and roots bands, Rackhouse Pilfer are experts at crafting songs with catchy melodies and emotional weight. Their most recent album, Love And Havoc, is a testament to their superlative skills and they have quite the famous fan in President Michael D Higgins, who invited them to perform at this year’s summer garden party at the Áras. What’s more, the public decreed that they are YOUR Jägermeister Freezer Sessions Live Band of the Year. Expect them to earn that tag and then some!
Further proof of Mullingar’s position as a stronghold of music in Ireland, The Academic are a group to be reckoned with. Punchy single ‘Bear Claws’ has enjoyed significant airplay while the band have rocked out for packed crowds both at home and abroad, and not a single one of the young men has reached the age of 20! Fresh from supplying support to Delorentos on their Irish jaunt, the four-piece’s performances have garnered serious acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Listening to their winsome indie-rock, it’s easy to hear why.