- 26 Feb 20
The spirit of the Big Easy was alive in Dublin last night.
There was no shortage of soulful energy in Lost Lane last night, February 25, as some of Ireland's brightest stars descended on the capital for Hot Press & Southern Comfort's Carnival Spirit – a night of Mardi Gras celebration and musical voodoo.
From the early evening, carnival dancers, drummers and fire performers were on hand to entertain the eager revellers in the Lost Lane laneway with dazzling displays – with special guests Róisín O, Mango, The Wha, Malaki, Zapho, Stephen James Smith, Somebody's Child, Eve Belle and Martin McDonnell all spotted among the crowds.
Embracing the theme, guests were handed out traditional colourful Mari Gras beads as they made their way up into the venue – kitted out in full New Orleans decorations, with entertainers, jugglers, stilt walkers and surprises around every corner.
In the Carousel Bar, 2FM DJ Tara Stewart set the party in motion with irresistible beats and crowd-pleasing grooves, while guests got into the spirit with face-painting, glitter and cocktails.
Meanwhile, upstairs in intimate The Singer's House, Dr Michael Mac Jr. was embracing Mardi Gras with a stunning selection of jazz piano standards – from 'When The Saints Go Marching In' to 'Georgia On My Mind'. Dublin vocalist Jess Kavanagh soon took things in a more soulful direction – putting her own unique spin on genre-blending numbers from Dusty Springfield, Stevie Wonder and Al Green, showcasing her phenomenal talent with scat outros.
However, it wasn't long until the thundering bass from the Main Stage heralded the beginning of Tebi Rex's set. With their trademark explosive energy, the alternative hip-hop duo, backed by their DJ R3D, rocked the crowd with all the highlights from their acclaimed debut album, 2019's The Young Will Eat The Old. The recent Hot Press interviewees weren't afraid to get the crowd involved either – keeping the set lively with chants and co-ordinated dance moves, while fans in the front shouted back every lyric to hits like 'I Never Got Off The Bus', 'Robbin Szn' and 'Lotus Eaters'.
Of course, there could be no other headliner for Carnival Spirit than Ireland's favourite New Orleans-inspired band, Booka Brass. Ensuring that the soulful energy of the Big Easy was well and truly alive in Lost Lane, the eight-piece band launched into a set bursting with their famously powerful live energy.
Combining funk grooves, slick beats and seriously impressive chops, Booka Brass proved to be the ultimate performers. Their high-energy set also featured the much-welcomed return of Jess Kavanagh, who enthralled the crowd with show-stopping vocals over powerhouse tracks from Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliot.
Supplying the perfect mix of house, disco and hits, former Hot Press cover star, DJ Marcus O'Laoire was the final act to take over Carnival Spirit's Main Stage – ensuring that the party continued long into the night, and leaving the departing revellers full of the dazzling spirit of Mardi Gras.