News Column


May 27, 2013


By Michael Seaver


Whelans, Dublin


You've heard of The Jonas Brothers; well, meet the Janis sisters - three Californian girls with West Coast rock in their blood, and a fire in their hearts.

Danielle is the guitar-crunching lead singer with a bite in her voice; Alana is the rhythm guitar and keyboard-playing baby sister; Este is the bass-playing older sister. All three harmonise beautifully together.

The band is completed by drummer Dash Hutton, who seems happy enough to work away at his kit and let the girls get all the attention.

Danielle, Alana and Este have been playing in their parents' band since they were kids, playing classic rock covers, but when they hit their late teens, they decided to go their own way, declaring their hand with the acclaimed Forever EP.

The classic FM rock influences are obvious - from Fleetwood Mac to The Bangles, but the girls are also in thrall to R&B, which gives the music that extra dash of sass.

They recently won the BBC Sound of 2013 poll, which has fuelled anticipation for their debut album; the record has been delayed, however, because they can't seem to get off the road long enough to finish it.

This is the first night of their current tour, and even these relative veterans are taken aback by the rapturous reaction from the crowd at Whelans.

"You guys are amazing!" grins Danielle. "Omigod, Danielle never talks!" declares Este. "This is incredible!"

It's a short enough set, but Haim make each song count. Better Off is an angry declaration of independence, while The Wire displays their rock chops.

Just in case anyone doubts their ability to play, they tear into a guitar-shredding cover of Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well . Having settled that debate, they go on to show they've got the pop sensibility with their crowd-rousing new single, Falling.

Everyone in the room knows the words already. Don't Save Me and Forever neatly blend 1970s FM rock with 1980s FM pop, while Let Me Go makes a final break for it, all four Haim members delivering a drum-bashing climax.

Re-Presenting Ireland: Studio Sharings

Dublin Dance Festival


This year the Dublin Dance Festival has moved part of its showcase from an informal studio setting to the Peacock Theatre, complete with theatrical trimmings. But it is the studio-bound half of Re-Presenting Ireland at DanceHouse that provides richer pickings. In spite of the lower-tech surroundings and the fact that some performances are excerpts rather than complete works, all of the dances have a clear artistic vision and strong conceptual ballast.

Enniskillen-based choreographer Dylan Quinn has a considerable back-catalogue, but Fulcrum , which he performed with Jenny Ecke, feels like a new departure. Whereas his previous works might have been carried along by the rhetoric of their subject-matter - such as violence or human trafficking - Fulcrum relies on the simplest interactions between the two performers to explore dependency and the ever-shifting power of relationships. Set to Andy Garbi's excellent score, the two dancers' bodies balance together like precarious sculptures as they manoeuvre around each other in a constantly evolving duet that was utterly compelling.

Frayed connections were at the heart of Project (Loco)Motion by Magdalena Hylak and Linda Schirmer, who chose the abandoned train line between Clifden and Galway to highlight the tensions between our inner and outer landscape. A projected film showed dancers as ghostly figures re- inhabiting abandoned train platforms, while the two live dancers tried to engage and re-engage with each other in equally desolate emotional surroundings.

Similarly, Fit/Misfit by Tipperary-based Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company is concerned with individuals fitting together, but in spite of its superficial whimsy it is a sharply pointed exploration of trust and belonging. Excellently performed by Jazmin Chiodi, Alexandre Iseli and Lucia Kickham, the work is simple in its premise, but resonates thornier issues of identity and acceptance.

Liv O'Donoghue grappled with self-identity in With Raised Arms , inspired, in part, by the visual artist Egon Schiele. The fragmented solo dancing, interspersed with mutterings, was compelling but also uncertain and meditative.

Originally published by Michael Seaver.

(c) 2013 Irish Times. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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