IN THE MIDST OF LOCKDOWN IT SEEMS LIKE WE WON’T BE HAVING GIGS FOR A WHILE. BUT HOW DO YOU KEEP THE EXCITEMENT OF LIVE MUSIC WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING ONLINE?
Virtual is a brand new concert initiative developed by AER Music, Fluttertone and Doot Doot Records designed to bring live performances straight to our homes with a series of intimate shows, and support some of the best emerging artists in the process. The series of weekly gigs kicked off on Wednesday night with Fintan McKahey, a singer-songwriter from West Cork. The Virtual gig was made up of an hours set followed by a quirky and insightful Q and A session.
The evening ran through Zoom, but all concerns I had regarding poor audio quality and bad connection proved to be irrelevant, as there was flawless production throughout. We were invited to join the call ten minutes early for a prompt start (a refreshing change from the hours of waiting around you have to do at a live gig!) and were met with a professional-looking slideshow and almost theatrical starting announcements: someone commented, “announcements and all, could be happening in Cork Opera House”. Fintan joined from his home mixing room, playing an atmospheric collection of tracks including ‘God Games’, ‘Lost Balloons’ and his recent single, ‘Platinum’. His mellow guitar lines and deep relaxing vocals complimented this ‘at home’ setting well, we were able to sit and let the songs wash over us without feeling awkward or disjointed from the performance. It was interesting to see how different fans responded to the unusual setting, some very focused as they would be at a gig, some clearly getting on with their lives as you generally might expect from a livestream, others holding up signs and prepared with snacks.
The intimate style of concert allowed Fintan to bounce off the crowd, joking about the fact he’s struggling to book any gigs as music venues are just ignoring him, but “at least you guys are responding”, and giving insightful comments about his girlfriends’ new pear diet – the verdict was that he would not recommend. Although appearing effortless and simple it was clear that there was a lot of hard work behind this concert, it was far from a quickly strung together livestream. Instead, the preparation and a little help from a pedalboard allowed Fintan McKahey to perform with multiple layers with dreamy guitar harmony and percussive interjections.
Questions for Fintan McKahey flooded in after his set, with everything from discussions about Oat Milk and his ability to grow a beard to more serious insightful questions:
How do you get inspirations for your songs – Sarah
“I live in a beautiful part of the world here in West Cork, looking out the window now there are just mountains everywhere, [inspiration] stems from listening to other music that I like and probably nature…I usually try and think of cool visual imagery and nice phrases, words that I think sound very cool and then try and stem it off that, usually I develop a theme after that, the lyrics are always the thing that come last really, but I always try and stay very abstract with stuff, I don’t really like when lyrics are too obvious – you probably noticed that by not knowing what any of the songs were about!”