- 07 Nov 21
She is one of Ireland's brightest new stars – and she is undoubtedly destined for stardom. So why not turn her first Dublin headline show into a party? That's precisely what CMAT did as she delivered a Gig of the Year contender to a wildly enthusiastic audience at Whelan's.
You want to party? Well, look no further than CMAT!
It was hard to believe that this was the Meath singer's first ever Dublin headline gig. There was a real buzz of excitement and anticipation in Whelan's as the clock counted down to the moment she'd make her entry. Then again, CMAT has that winning touch. She is going places – and taking what should prove to be a very loyal audience with her, every step of the way.
Fresh from announcing her debut album, as well as a further tour of the UK and Ireland next year, she set about delighting the crowd with her unique brand of country, pop and indie rock, all delivered with a wicked sense of humour.
It was party time, and the fans lapped it up.
For the uninitiated, CMAT's music is highly distinctive and idiosyncratic. And that is reflected in her videos, which encourage a sense of playfulness. The audience were only too willing to join in. After all, if you're going to a party, why not go in fancy dress?
The lyrics to what has probably been her biggest single to date,'I Wanna Be A Cowboy Baby', ensured the party would have a 'western' theme. There haven't been as many tassels and cowboy hats in a smoking area in Ireland since the days of line-dancing and when Big Tom was in his pomp (the rumour that two Hot Press journalists wore bandanas for the occasion remains uncorroborated at this point, though we can confirm that they were spotted trying out the six guns in Smith's Toys earlier in the afternoon).
There was a similarly dressed group upstairs that CMAT noticed out of the blue. "Oh my God! There's my family," she exclaimed. It was very sweet.
Enough about the outfits: the most important thing on the night, of course, was the music. Here, CMAT delivered in style. She really did.
She got the party started with an unreleased song, but one she promised was "a banger". Sure enough, 'Every Bottle Is a Boyfriend' contained the typical relatable lyrics and hooky choruses that we're all increasingly familiar with.
The evening proceeded in the same, powerful musical vein. Whether it was sharing in the joyous moment when the opening chords of '2 Wrecked 2 Care' – the ultimate ode to overworked and overstressed night owls – rang out; or observing how effortlessly she swapped instruments during the set, it was all good.
Recent single 'No More Virgos' was performed as a laid-back piano number. It was greeted by a massive cheer and the crowd sang along with gusto – they seemed to know nearly every word – despite the fact that it has only been out for ten days. The participatory party atmosphere seemed to pleasantly surprise even CMAT herself. Impressively, the crowd even sang along to the instrumental piano hook in the chorus of 'I Don't Really Care for You'.
The best moment came at the end, when she closed – natch!– with 'I Wannna Be A Cowboy Baby', a supremely relatable song about hating "the way my life turned out" and wishing for the simpler times of childhood. As soon as she introduced it, the crowd erupted. As a party piece, this was a brilliant climax to the show: the only worry was that the upstairs balcony might give way due to the amount of dancing and jumping around going on.
It was that kind of very special night. As long as she can keep the momentum going, CMAT is destined for great things. In fact, not far down the line, I suspect that we'll all be invited to a party in 3Arena. In the meantime, I want to be a cowboy baby too.
Now, where did I put that feckin' cap gun?
Listen to 'No More Virgos' from CMAT's upcoming album If My Wife New I'd Be Dead below.