There's so much love for the Jack of Diamonds festival in Dublin this weekend. It's got Dublin buzzing, listening to new music for free and more importantly for the bands it brings their music to new fans in packed venues. I tip my cap to the Jack of Diamonds organisers for an all round win situation.
Prairie Dawgs https://www.facebook.com/dawgs.prairie
Kicking off the festival on one of the two outdoor stages at the back of The Mercantile, The Prairie Dawgs entertained the large crowd with their mix of folky, bluegrass, harmonious tunes that puts a smaile on your face. The Prairie Dawgs are such a great band. Have a listen to 'Ain't No Money' which was one of the highlights from last night's set:
Gstar & Robb
Local heroes Gstar & Robb played a fine set of acoustic songs which showcased their vocal harmonies. The guys reminded me in many ways to 'The Milk Carton Kids' and 'The Lost Brothers'. I really enjoyed their set.
The Cujo Family https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cujo-Family/101765956532391
It was my first time seeing The Cujo Family and I was really impressed. We made it to Whelans in time to hear 'Dog Gone Crazy' which is one of my favourite tracks of 2013. They've got the right balance between edgy 70's rock and bluesy folk where the impressive keyboard sounds elevates their sound above the ordinary.
Mikey & The Scallywags https://www.facebook.com/mikeyandthescallywags
The Globe regulars got a taste of fine Irish goodtime folk music from Galway band 'Mikey & The Scallywags'. High on entertainment vales I loved their version of Watercress' Candlemaker which was a favourite of mine back in the day. There's massive potential for this band to break into the mainstream real soon.
Markas Carcas https://www.facebook.com/markascarcas
In a night jammed with great music I find myself warming to the 'Stoned Folk' sounds of Markas Carcas. Frontman Markas has amazing guitar skills, good solid vocals, wonderful stage presence as well as a bunch of foot stomping tunes like this one ......
River & Crows https://www.facebook.com/RiversAndCrows
Galway folk duo 'Rivers & Crows' brought beauty and charm to my night with glowing folk sounds that belonged to a candle lit atmospheric setting more than rousing folk rock festival. Regardless of the setting the music was wonderful.
Hassle Merchants https://www.facebook.com/HassleMerchants
Stuck in the basement of Sweeneys we find 'Hassle Merchants' doing their punky songs justice. The band's been around for an age but there's little sign of an album appearing so it felt a bit sterile. The most impressive tune is 'Glory to the DJ' which has the potential to be a huge hit.
Gypsy Rebel Rabble http://www.gypsyrebelrabble.com/
I caught the last 2 songs of Gypsy Rebel Rabble in The Mercantile. It was plainly evident why so many people tell me that this band are amazing and could well be the next Irish band to break onto daytime radio and into the mainstream.
To finish my night I went to check of Kapitals who have a buzz about them from playing a whole bunch of different festivals around Ireland this Summer. Their indie rock sound was pretty solid and agreeable without blowing me away.
For more info on the Jack of Diamonds festival go here: http://www.jackofdiamonds.net/
Check back later today for a slideshow of photos from https://www.facebook.com/AntoKanePhotography