Considering Turin Brakes were at the Empire on the same night, Auntie Annie’s was still quite busy for this Radio 2 Fringe event. But then again, it was a free gig!
First up was Nina Hynes, who has played Belfast several times before. Although most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with her set she was still reasonably well received. Relying mainly on songs from her recent album Staros, she showed herself to be a versatile artist. Her songs ranged from buzzpop nuggets reminiscent of Tanya Donelly to more complex compositions. The background beats provided from her various boxes of tricks provided the rhythm, allowing her to be on stage alone. Performing solo without a visible band gave a more intimate appeal to the gig. Definitely an act worth seeing live again.
And so as she stepped off the tiny Auntie Annie’s stage, the PA system once again blasted out the wonderful The Frames and the anticipation started to grow for the headliner.
Some may be aware of Mundy after his song ‘o You I Bestow was used on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack eight years ago. After this initial success he took some time out to travel before returning earlier this year with 24 Star Hotel. The non-stop promotion and touring of this album didn’t seem to have taken its toll. Of course Mundy had donned his obligatory stetson hat for the occasion and, as ever, he clumsily chewed on gum throughout the show.
I’d seen Mundy at the Heineken Green Energy Festival in Dublin earlier this year, where he put on a decent show but one which at times seemed to lack much of a connection with the audience. However tonight in a smaller venue there seemed to be a more intimate relationship between performer and audience. But that’s true of most shows in small venues that, most of the time, you get more enjoyable shows at smaller venues.
Playing a good mix of songs from both albums along with some good-hearted banter, the audience rose to the occasion with much swaying and singing along. After a short break the band returned and ended with To You I Bestow which everyone in the room seemed to be familiar with.
Nothing to set the world alight, but a decent performance by both bands. Of the two, Nina Hynes was the new shining light, providing yet another Irish solo artist to look out for.