- 24 Dec 20
Over the past nine months, we've seen iconic spaces around Dublin standing temporarily vacant. Pubs and venues that normally hum with animated conversation and the exhilaration of music may be uncharacteristically silent, but last night's Jameson Connects - The Spirit of Christmas online gig allowed viewers to come together for a precious 40 minutes, no matter where they were in the world...
All hail the spirit of Christmas! At a time when the world is craving connection more than ever, Jameson put on an impressively intimate show, coming from three different Dublin venues last night.
Hosted by Dublin rapper and singer Nealo, the three gigs felt seamless – and right for the moment.
The night kicked off in the right spirit with Dublin quartet The Scratch. The band are known for blurring the boundaries between rock and trad, in their own wild and unique way and their refusal to be boxed into any easily-definable genre resonates with their legion of fans.
Already a formidable presence on the live circuit – they've sold out a string of Irish venues, as well as London’s Camden Assembly - the four-piece delivered a fine opening salvo.
The Cobblestone's cosy pub setting suited the band, and the four lads were as energetic as always. With 'Excuse', 'Pull Your Jocks Up' and 'Seanchaí' on their setlist, the spirit was always going to be lively, but there was finesse to the music too. With this performance, The Scratch have surely gained some new followers.
It was over to The Palace Bar in Temple Bar, with Nealo introducing Northern Irish duo Saint Sister and the rightly revered Lisa Hannigan. Saint Sister took centre stage first. With their mesmerising close-knit vocal harmonies, electro-acoustic harp and synthesisers, Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty pulled the listener in closer with the richly ethereal 'Dynamite'. They were joined by the inimitable Lisa Hannigan for a rendition of their recently released collaboration, 'The Place That I Work' – a beautiful song that sent chills down the spine with its incredible amalgamation of three voices at their best. Hannigan brought the set to a close with a hypnotic performance of the melancholy 'Prayer for the Dying' touching sadly on the spirit of 2020. The acclaimed singer-songwriter has the ability to enrapture any audience. Last night, there was no mistaking it: Lisa Hannigan has real star power.
Nealo then introduced the final act, the redoubtable James Vincent McMorrow (pictured), who performed from Jameson Distillery Bow St. James opened with his latest single 'Gone', delivering a superb vocal performance. There's an intensity and vulnerability about the Dubliner's approach, inviting the listener to listen closely – and it works. Even without the beats and the backing, 'Cavalier' and 'We Don't Eat' provided the ideal end to a night of Christmas warmth and Irish musical storytelling.
This time of year in Ireland is usually one of togetherness, with people piling into pubs and venues to catch sessions and gigs. With The Spirit of Christmas, Jameson Ireland delivered an exquisite serving of that magic, as created by some of Ireland's finest artists.