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Mike Skinner takes to The Liberties: Other Voices Home at Guinness Storehouse Review

Stood in a queue outside the Guinness Storehouse, in the heart of The Liberties, on a cold November night isn’t how I’d usually spend a Tuesday. However, there are times that warrant such a decision – and this was definitely one of them.

The Guinness Storehouse – Photo: Liam Murphy

This wasn’t just any regular weekday gig. This was Other Voices, and the 4th edition of ‘Other Voices: Home at The Guinness Storehouse’, that sees some of the biggest musical artists both nationally and internationally make their way to Dublin 8.

Tonight’s lineup was made up of The Streets, Mahalia, FIZZ, Morgana, The Bonny Men, and Dagogo Hart, and was hosted by MayKay.

Other Voices began back in 2001, and since then has seen some of the world’s biggest artists packed into the Church of St James in Dingle, Kerry. Some of these artists include Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Sam Fender, Hozier, Little Simz, and Dermot Kennedy.

Along with its proud Dingle roots, Other Voices also travels, allowing for more people all over the world to experience the magic that can only be described by fellow festivalgoers. Previous ‘Other Voices: Home at The Guinness Storehouse’ acts include Sigrid, The Murder Capital, Maverick Sabre, and Pillow Queens.

Rather than normal proceedings of concerts with such big lineups that would see one act perform for 20 minutes, then the next, then the next etc, Other Voices had the large room on the 2nd floor of the Storehouse set up with five different stages, and seamlessly flowed between acts during the night, leaving fans in anticipation of who was going to sing next.

Crowds gather in the Storehouse before kick off – Photo: Liam Murphy

The event was being streamed online, and so attendees were told to be seated for a 7:30pm kick off, but first, concertgoers were treated in the bars on the 4th floor of the Storehouse.

“Let’s hear it for Dublin 8,” host MayKay began the night with, before introducing the first act of the night.”

– FIZZ.

The supergroup, made up Dubliner Orla Gartland along with Dodie, Greta Isaac, and Martin Luke Brown, kicked off the night with their track “High in Brighton”, a song with a narrative longing for adventure. This song was their debut single released back in June and featured on their October album ‘The Secret to Life’.

The band performed two more songs off of the album later in the night, before promoting their February Vicar Street dates. Not many bands can get away with bubble machines, clarinet solos, and unique fashion, except FIZZ made all of the above, and more, work so well.

FIZZ performing at Other Voices – Photo: Liam Murphy

The second act of the night was Morgana, an act who has performed many times at Other Voices as one half of Saint Sister but was now making her solo project OV debut. She opened with ‘Nothing Like a Party’, performed beautifully with keys and bass.

She then later on in the night played ‘Car Lot in Montana’, that caused pure silence in the room, with many teary-eyed fans staring in awe. If the success of Saint Sister is anything to go by, Morgana’s solo act is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

The next performance on the night came from Dagogo Hart, a Dublin-based poet, writer, and spoken-word artist. Hart’s work is inspired by his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, and his experiences since moving to Ireland back in 2010. “My work is mostly inspired by my experiences,” he told MayKay. “I don’t know how to write anything else”.

The first of two performances from Dagogo Hart was a reading of Corbin Louis’ “Saddle”. The emotional performance saw Hart stood in the middle of the crowd with nothing but ratting sound effects accompanying him. His final piece on the night was called “Home” and told the story of immigration and choosing Ireland as a new home. Two powerful and touching performances from Dagogo Hart.

The Bonny Men were up next and saw the Dublin trad group add something unique to the already-amazing night.

The group, made up of Natalie Ni Chasaide, Maitiú Ó Casaide, Conor Lyons, Barry Lyons, Adam Whelan, Moss Landman, and Turlough Chambers, brought the crowd on a rollercoaster of emotions from slower melodic pieces such as “Brian Ború’s March”, to more upbeat ones such as “The Rocky Road to Dublin” and “The Dusty Miller”.

Band member Maitiú Ó Casaide acknowledged the significance of trad music within The Liberties, calling it the “epicentre of the tradition in Dublin”.

Neo-soul star Mahalia kicked off the second half of this show with her track “Terms and Conditions”, performed acoustically with a bassist and a guitarist accompanying the three-time BRIT Award nominee.

Mahalia performing at Other Voices – Photo: Mahalia / X

This wasn’t Mahalia’s first time playing Other Voices, having first performed in Dingle at the age of 17. “From St James’ Church to St James’ Gate,” MayKay joked, referring to Mahalia’s set down in Dingle but also now in the Guinness Storehouse.

Mahalia played two more later on in the evening, “Grateful”, off of her most recent EP release, and “What You Did”, a track featuring Ella Mai that’s gained over 110 million streams online.

The Grammy-nominee had performed in Vicar Street only last month so to see her back in Dublin 8 so soon after was well welcomed.

Storytelling maestro The Streets, aka Mike Skinner, was the act most had come to see. Having only performed two sold-out nights in the Olympia in October, the demand to see this influential hip-hop group was high.

The group opened with “On the Edge of a Cliff”, an emotional 2008 song tackling themes of self-reflection, pressures, and the fragility of human life, a heavy introduction to the music for those who weren’t aware of the light-hearted humorous Skinner himself. Next up was “Troubled Waters”, the first single off of The Streets’ first album in 12 years, released in October.

“It’s difficult to crowd surf in a seated venue,” Skinner told the audience. “But I have done it before”.

The six-time MOBO Award nominee closed the night and ensured everyone was up standing, with a three-song finish made up of “Blinded By The Lights”, “Take Me As I Am”, and “Fit But You Know It”.

Experiencing such an iconic festival and night of music in a venue as intimate as the Guinness Storehouse was special and a night not to be taken for granted.

Other Voices Dingle kicks off Friday, December 1, and sees the likes of CMAT, Griff, Kae Tempest, Villagers, Mick Flannery, all take to St James’ Church. The performances will be streamed on the Other Voices YouTube.

Re-live Other Voices: Home at Guinness Storehouse 2023 below:

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