An evening of sublime encouragement, Lost Map’s Alabaster dePlume kicked off the evening at the Hug and Pint telling his audience, “You’re doing very well” before he kicked into his formidable, sinister and yet astute set. Seamus Fogarty and band headlined the evening, performing tracks from Domino release, The Curious Hand.

Playing a wonderfully poetic, lyrical list of songs including his most recently released Be Nice to People and Buy It, Alabaster dePlume is not just a musician. A performer with the clear love for being on stage, playing to a crowd, but it’s obvious this enjoyment projects into the crowd, as they do in fact “do very well” simply being challenged by the fluidity of his thoughts, lyrics, and mercurial jazz. A thinking performer, who pushes the boundaries and limitations of music, adventurous in his approach, he’s reminiscent of likes of Martin Creed.

And that was just the warm up. The next hour was filled with the gorgeous work of Emma Smith, Aram Zarakian and Seamus Fogarty, as they performed Irish-fuelled tracks alongside field recordings, with some choreographed dance thrown in for good measure. Promoting new release, which came out back in early October, the trio entertained a near packed out Hug and Pint with ballads constituting of synths, guitar, drums, bass and violin.

Resoundingly enjoyable, single releases such as Heels Over Head, Carlow Town and Van Gogh’s Ear encouraged a wee flurry of buyers to the merchandise stall post gig. The intimacy of this set, along with a humorous heckle or two, highlighted not only the crowd’s gratification; all three on stage were evidently owning the experience as we heard about the basis of the recordings of some of the tracks; one was a shouting competition that occurs annually. My particular highlight was indeed the very track that incorporates those recordings, Tommy The Cat, as it was revved up a notch or two by Aram on drums and Emma on bass guitar.

It’s not difficult to see why Domino recently signed this artist and I think we can only expect more great things in time due. A warm hug of a gig, this won’t be my last trip to see not only Seamus, Emma and Aram but also Alabaster.

Photo courtesy of Jo Higgs