Quarter Block Party returns to streets of Cork

Quarter Block Party mainly based around North and South Main streets in Cork for the weekend. Here's a taste of how it went:

Hilary Woods

By Eoghan O’Sullivan

Quarter Block Party returned to the streets of Cork for the arts festival’s fifth edition with a typically diverse and engaging programme.

Among the first festivals of the year, there’s a quiet confidence that exudes through the lineup, its music bookings marking it out as a showcase of some of the best new and up-and-coming artists; you may not recognise all the names but chances are you’ll be leaving a fan of many.

Seán Ryan and Ashling Cronin pictured at the Firkin Crane before the performance of Fat Blokes as part of Quarter Block Party. Photo: Bríd O'Donovan.

Hilary Woods has been winning over lots of onlookers since the release of her debut album Colt last year, which has been disappointingly overlooked for the Choice Prize.

She’s making a flying visit to Cork for this midnight headline performance at Triskel Christchurch from the middle of playing with the acclaimed experimental band Low across Europe.

It’s a relatively short performance, about 40 minutes, but it’s enough to leave you exhausted, exhaling and letting out the tension conjured up in a mesmerising performance. It’s a deep, dark, devastating showing, with Woods, the former bassist with the band JJ72, supported by a low-key percussionist whose drums are like thunder.

The twinkling ‘Take Him In’ cuts deep with its refrains of “he is kinder” and “don’t be afraid”, while lines like “the silence I keep saves me from spiralling” are eye-openingly immediate.

‘Jesus Said’, meanwhile, proves particularly powerful considering the surroundings.

Woods whispers her confessions in near-darkness, projections and a subtle light show adding to the atmosphere.

Beats & Sweat (A Tribute To Sir Henry’s)

By Des O’Driscoll

We’re sitting on the steel stairs of Dali nightclub (formerly the Pav). A Spanish woman reads a script recalling legendary Cork club Sir Henrys, and briefly talks about her efforts to find out what made the venue so special. We enter the empty nightclub space where a DJ plays classic Henry’s tunes.

Kathy Walsh and Irene O'Mara pictured at the Firkin Crane before the performance of Fat Blokes as part of Quarter Block Party. Quarter Block Party is a three day music and arts festival on North and South Main Street, Cork City, taking place from the 8th to the 10th of February. 2019 will host the fifth edition of the festival.

A big screen shows comments that attendees at tonight’s ‘performative environment’ have contributed. And that’s about it.

The sentiment is nice, and the music is great, but the approximately 30-minute experience (admission €15) all feels rather half-formed and underwhelming. In the vernacular of the club itself, maybe a bit of a tingle, but no real buzz off it.

Le Boom & Kneecap

By Eoghan O’Sullivan

It’s the culmination of an eclectic night at Dali for Quarter Block Party. Le Boom are a two-piece party band barely a couple singles into their career they’re the most fun all weekend. Kneecap are a trio from Belfast who rap about youth and social issues in Irish and in the most ridiculous way — sample lyric: “F**k the queen agus tiocfaidh ár lá.”

Phil Corcoran, Eddie Kay and Barry Holland pictured at the Firkin Crane before the performance of Fat Blokes as part of Quarter Block Party. 2019 will host the fifth edition of the festival.

Initial thoughts that it’s a novelty wear off when you realise the samples are killer, you’re crying with laughter, and you’re shouting the choruses back through a sea of thrown pints.

The foreboding ‘Your Sniffer Dogs are Shite” is the highlight. Expect them to be the act of every festival for the rest of the year.

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