The Workman's, Dublin, November 25
Written by Elina Filice
Sky Atlas took the stage to a packed house (on a Monday!) for the launch of their debut single. I can’t help but feel like this group is a bit of a dream team, each member well versed in the Dublin music scene, a member of other prominent projects, and inarguably some of BIMM’s finest instrumentalists.
Though well under two years old, they have played several BIMM events, festival stages and prominent venues around the country, and even their first few shows were pulling a crowd.
As they crack into their first tune, Sky Atlas fill the room with ambient sax swells, crashing cymbals, and introspective guitar riffs. They deliver meticulously arranged, intricate, jazz-heavy songs, with dance-along grooves and irresistible melodies. There really is something for everyone to love about the sound they’ve carefully crafted. They are able to easily oscillate between baby blue, ambient soundscapes to funked up, neon pink full-blown jams.
Ryan McClelland is one of the funnest drummers to watch live. As one of the best drummers in the country right now, there’s never a dull moment with him behind the kit. Bassist Danilo Ward is locked in with Ryan's outrageous playing, and the two create tight grooves that anchor the bands' sound. Multi-instrumentalist Louis Younge ads all of the x factor, transitioning from saxophone to keys, backup vocals to violin, with lines that weave in and out of melody, lead, and harmony. Guitarist and lead vocalist Lughaidh Armstrong Mayock captivates the crowd with a beaming smile and notable jazz guitar playing.
The bunch was also joined by some fantastic guests, dreamy vocals from Nina Farag enhance the on-stage jazz-infused ambience. Its always a pleasure to see Cat Doran preform with the band, as she is a powerful vocalist who commands every stage she graces with soulful vocals and a confident live performance. With extra steam added with the addition of a brass section (Luke Dowdall, Eoin Dexter), the young musicians drive through the end of their set with gusto, smiles and fearlessness. It seems every solo, clever stab, rhythm change, and humble word into the mic from the band is met with shouts and praises from the crowd. The production of the show was the cherry on top of a fantastic performance, truly balanced live sound and professional lights by John Luke O'Reilly.
During crowd favourite “Sunny Day,” all of Workman's was on the ground before popping up when the band kicked back in, scatting along to the guitar melody. As their last tune before an encore, Sky Atlas Played their debut single, the song everyone was here to celebrate, “News Today.” Lughaidh stepped back from the mic to let the crowd sing the chorus, a chorus that feels like coming home. A crowd favourite before the release, everyone already knew the words.