LIVE REVIEW: Lisa Hannigan, St Paul’s Church (Birmingham), 19.11.11

Lisa Hannigan has come a long way since she was written off as the “token folkie” by NME when her debut album “Sea Saw” was nominated for the Mercury  Prize back in 2009. Having more than proved her worth, Hannigan has far from dwelled on her critics, instead spending her time productively building a fanbase, both at home in Ireland and around the world. With her second album “Passengers” having been showered with praise upon its release a few weeks back, Hannigan is heading out across the UK to showcase the new record, starting with this sell out performance in one of Birmingham’s most charming churches.

Apologising for her jet-lagged presence, Hannigan cuts a shy figure as she launches into her ballad heavy set with the tender “Paper House”. While she may be known for her quirky videos, the live Hannigan set is a no nonsense, simple affair that really is all about the music. And Hannigan’s musical dexterity that cannot be questioned. Within her hour and a half long set, Hannigan plays just short of ten instruments with skill and prowess.

Her colourful vocal is perfectly suited to her setting. Reminiscent of both Shelby Starner and Gemma Hayes, Hannigan has an otherworldly presence and at times it is hard to believe that her soulful sound is created in her diminutive body.

With the audience eating out of the palm of her hand, Hannigan makes her way cheerily and passionately through her two albums to date, with occasional shout outs to fans she knows have attended the show. It is a strange contrast of the extrovert and introvert – with Hannigan open as she sings and closed as she speaks. Yet, this bemusing contradiction works, with her audience entranced.

As Hannigan closes her set with her most comical tune to date, “Safe Travels”, she is met with raucous cheers and a standing ovation. Wasting little time to tease, she zooms back on stage, clearly chuffed at the response. She sincerely thanks the audience before closing the night beautifully with “Teeth”, “Home” and “Knots”.

Reviewer: Jeremy Williams
Rating: 4/5

Photography by Jeremy Williams 

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The Kaje talks “Fireplace” to The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun has been the support act of choice this year – having already supported Alan Pownall, Lisa Mitchell and Lissie – the man otherwise known as Colin MacLeod is about to join The Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield on a trek around the UK. With his debut album “Fireplace” having also won over a wave of new fans (including Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody), MacLeod has teamed up with Ed Harcourt to write latest single “Dreaming Like A Fool”. Here at The Kaje we have been big fans since his early EPs, so we decided to have a quick chat before Colin heads out on the road again…

 What prompted the decision to call yourself The Boy Who Trapped The Sun as opposed to using your real name?

It’s more interesting than my name.

You hail from Lewis, how easy did you find it to get attention to your music? 

It’s easy for a man as talented as myself.

How instrumental was the internet in winning you a wider audience? 

The Internet only made the island a few months ago, so I’m still not very sure how to use it. So I’d have to say not very.

You are currently travelling about a lot touring the record, how do you enjoy the non-stop touring? 

Well you asked this question at a very good time as I’m currently on route to a pre gig surf with my good friends Ben and Sam, then later on I’ll play some songs and have a few tasty  beverages. It’s a tough life on the road but I make do.

What sort of feedback have you been getting from the shows?

Depends how well I play. 

Do you prefer the recording process or the live performance?

Live.

What have been the best and worst performances to date?

Hard to say. They all merge into one awesome night after a while.

Can you tell us a little bit about the thought process behind “Fireplace”?

Sorry to bore you but it was write, record, play live. I’m a simple man.

You come across as a bit of homebird on the record, would you say this is the case?

Yes.

Do you have a favourite song on the record?

I love them all the same, but maybe, secretly, I’m most proud of “Home”. 

Were there any inhibitions in converting the personal to song?

No.

How important is storytelling within a song for you?

Very.

When did you first set your sites on a career in music?

I’m still trying to adjust my sights. This is all very sudden.

Who would you say were your initial inspirations?

Mr. Money.

How have these changed as you have developed as a musician?

I’m still very focused on being filthy rich.

Have you always veered towards folk, or have you experimented in different genres?

I don’t know, I like all music but one man and hi guitar appeals to me more than anything else.

What are your hopes for “Fireplace”?

My biggest hope for “Fireplace” is that it brings world peace and makes me filthy rich.

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