- 20 Mar 23
What happens when everyone in the audience becomes besotted with your band before your set is even three tracks in? Simply ask these Irish icons-in-the-making at SXSW...
There were a few murmurings about M(h)aol before the show started. Hushed tidbits and vague generalities of what to expect. It’s fair to say that by the end of the night, no one was ill-informed about the conquering quintet.
The show had everything. Mesmerising vivaciousness, poignant messages and tonnes of laughs – an alarming amount of which were about deceased dogs.
The audience was in hysterics when they finally discovered that the pithy tune, ‘Kim Is A Punk-Type Dog’, that they’d raucously been screaming for one minute previous, was actually about drummer Constance Keane’s dead dog. It was a rough auld night for the pooches.
Though many members of the band were deeply absorbed in their playing, frontperson Róisín Nic Ghearailt had enough extrovert effervescence to fill the 200 capacity room ten times over.
She made a point of almost befriending everyone in the audience. There was Eugene who didn’t like his name when he was younger, but as Róisín told him, “You grew into it!" There was Sasha, who practically had a song dedicated to them. And who could forget the sudden arrival of, as Róisín put it, “the tall, dark, mesmerising man”, in the front row for the final song – though we never learned his name.
There were also sombre moments in the set, when Róisín discusses the horrors of the Magdalene Laundries before performing ‘Laundries’, or when she spoke passionately about trans rights – “It’s a very scary time to be in Austin" – referring to the wave of anti-trans laws that are currently being enforced in Texas.
“We’re not all equal until we are all equal. That goes for trans rights and black rights too.”
Hand-on heart, Hot Press can confidently say that M(h)aol put on one of the most powerful gigs of SXSW 2023.
@sxswmusic M(h)aol #sxsw ♬ original sound - SXSWmusic
Stayed tuned for more coverage of SXSW 2023 on hotpress.com throughout the day...
- Live Review
- 29 May 23