Shamim Malekmian and Courtney Oliver recount the sights and sounds at two recent Coughlan’s Bar gigs.
Ghostking is Dead
Words: Shamim Malekmian
“Does anyone know a good joke?” Matt Corrigan said to the audience at Coughlan’s bar’s Cork Loves Music event while they waited for him to prep his guitar.
It is understandable to be a bit nervous, when you’re an 18-year-old schoolboy on your mid-term break that has got the blessings of professional reviewers and now have to prove to them- and yourself maybe- that performing in front of an audience comes as natural to you as recording good songs from the comfort of your own bedroom. Started recording since October 2015, Matt has already released two surprisingly good EPs (Leaf and Journal of Public Affair) under the pseudonym of “Ghostking is Dead.”
He refers to his genre as “post-mortem”, but joking aside it is Chamber Pop that this fresh musician is going for. Looking a bit overwhelmed under the watchful eyes of music reviewers such as Mike McGrath – who likes him enough to call him “a musical prodigy” on Broadsheet.ie – Matt closed his eyes, lost himself in the curious world of his songs and delivered a decent performance after all.
Corrigan’s guitar wept for the most part of the performance to match the murky theme of his songs. “Shropshire”, his first song was about trying to get reassurance in the times of loneliness and confusion. Ghostking provided a visual experience for the audience with this song. He took us to a snowy day in which he stands alone in the cold, blows on his hands to get warm, and as if sadness and regrets suddenly hit him collapses on his knees crying out: “I’m sorry I never called, it’s not because I didn’t care.”
Ghostking ‘s second song “Tanner” was close to the Pop-Folk genre as his guitar tones were playful and the singer added more melody to the song especially towards the end of it. Corrigan sang this song in a low tone of voice and spoke some of the song’s lyrics. However, the music overshadowed the vocals as most of the singer’s attention was spent on playing his instrument.
Matt Corrigan’s third song was a cover of Fleet Foxes’s – a band that has influenced the singer- “Blue Ridge Mountain”. Corrigan sang this song in his own soft style and pumped a great amount of emotion into it which made the original version sound a bit emotionless. Matt’s style of performing “Blue Ridge Mountain was closer to James Blake – another artist that the singer names as one of his influences – . Ghostking gave his best to singing this time and the music was lagging behind the vocals a bit.
The young musician had chosen the song “Eternal” as his last song. “Eternal” was similar to the singer’s opening song “Shropshire “ – sans the fantastic visual experience – in that the lyrics were as melancholic and the music was as low-key. However, despite the singer’s acceptable performance, this similarity robbed the performance of the entertainment element.
Matt Corrigan has a long way to go and the future is going to be bright for him if he would keep on recording and performing. He needs to get used to performing in front of bigger audiences. Perhaps then he could take his time prepping his guitar without getting worried about the awkward silence.
Two other acts besides Ghosking played at Cork Loves Music event at Coughlan’s bar on Wednesday night. However, Matt Corrigan stood out among them not because it took him some time to prep his guitar, not even because Mike McGrath could not hide his fondness for him, but because he was the only schoolboy on his mid-term break who stood there singing, leaving people who didn’t know him believe that he was an experienced performer, and that is how you can tell that a star is born.
Words: Courtney Oliver
It was a packed full venue at Coughlan’s Bar in Cork, and the energy was high. The audience was tightly squeezed in, with contagiously wide eyes in anticipation for the second act of Cork Loves Music event: Sillk.
A band that is composed of three artists: the vocalist, Orla Travers who also plays the guitar, Julian Halpin on the violin, and Chris-Schmidt Martin with the cello. Orla whose smile is telling of her Cork roots formed this band as an urge to share the fantastical stories that were going on in her head. She joined together with Julian Halpin in 2010 and they travelled all over Ireland doing what they do best which is writing unique songs and performing good music.
The two settled in Cork in 2013. And it was in this town that the trio was completed as they found Chris-Schmidt Martin who holds his cello like a precious belonging. Martin used to be a stage player but gave up the stage for a career in music. The trio has played in Cafes around the world ever since, from the eastern style cafes of Istanbul to coffee houses in Reykjavik and Marrakech.
Apart from Chris’s theatrical background, Sillk members have experience in short story writing, classical, traditional and electronic music, sound design, and hairdressing. Each member’s varied backgrounds contribute to the creative world of their songs and music. However, it is Orla who composes the songs.
On Wednesday night at Coughlan’s bar, the group stood in front of an eclectic background of a wall covered in band posters, and a charming string of lights on a shelf full of various vintage books and beer bottles. This venue felt as if it matched Sillk’s style perfectly; a colorful array of whimsical surprises.
The room was filled with quiet whispers as a light sound of the violin began to play, and the cello was added in the background as Sillk’s song “Snowglobe” began. Suddenly, Orla’s haunting voice echoed throughout the room, and the violins continued with a melancholic melody in the background. Sillk’s genre is indie folk, but this song felt more like a new undiscovered fantasy genre- the best way to describe it is if Alice falling through the rabbit hole had a theme song.
“The Art of Fire” began next, as Orla swayed while gently strumming her guitar; her warm Cork accent made the song feel soulful. This song was very calming, the perfect kind of music for a coffee house on a quiet rainy day. Orla who names Bjork, Cathy Davey, and Kurt Weill as her influences does a good job of borrowing from those artists.
Shortly after “The Art of Fire” wrapped up, the band ramped into “Switchblades Don’t Sleep” which began with a playful and almost taunting sound of the cello. The song is a unique experience in the way that it feels similar to a theatrical performance. Orla’s face turned from playful to fierce, and her vocals changed constantly to embody the lyrics of the song. She went from a lullaby-like voice, to creating sound effects with her mouth including a fake scream and what sounds like a train moving. This song whose music video is also a humorous and creative experience, worthy of watching, was one of the high moments of the event as it received a warm applause from the audience.
The audience was fully engaged in the performance, and even a few laughs were heard in the distance. The band was having fun, and everyone else joined in on the fun.
Seeing Sillk perform live is more than a performance for your ears, it is a visual and interactive experience for the audience members. They wrapped up their act to a pleasing applause, Orla Travers’s eyes lit up to a “Great job!” from an audience member, and everyone knew that it was not the last time they were hearing from Sillk.