Belfast Telegraph

Triple bill of homegrown talent adds up to real value for money

By ANDREW JOHNSTON

Sunday night's Cheap Date gig at the Out To Lunch festival gave punters the chance to see three up-and-coming Irish acts at a wallet-friendly price.

The last time Hannah McPhillimy took the Black Box stage, she told us, she had to follow a burlesque act.

So, going on first here probably wasn't much of a challenge to the spunky songstress.

With her cherubic features and floral-patterned dress, McPhillimy's look belied the often dark lyrics that streamed forth during her half-hour set.

The likes of Take Care, Wilderness and Homecoming veered from quiet folk to honky-tonk jazz and back, marking the north coast singer out as one to watch.

Belfast-based outfit The Salt Flats were next, opening with an a cappella piece and immediately positioning themselves in the audience's faces.

With confidence and charisma to burn, frontwomen Katie Richardson and Grace Loughrey led their bandmates through a wonderfully imaginative set of covers.

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel, Tanita Tikaram's Valentine Heart and If I Can't Change Your Mind by Sugar were reborn via rhythm box, omnichord, harmonium, guitar and Richardson and Loughrey's arresting harmonies.

Topping the bill was Cavan-born singer-songwriter Lisa O'Neill, launching her first Irish headline tour.

With sidekick Mossy Nolan, she delivered a slick, characterful hour of indie-infused folk, featuring the colourful lyrics that have been making her name.

If the anecdotes that prefaced the songs sometimes threatened to overshadow the songs themselves for entertainment value, there was no doubting O'Neill's deep talent.

Belfast Telegraph

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