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The RTÉ Choice Music Prize, celebrating the best albums of 2016, took place in Vicar Street, Dublin last week when Rusangano took the honours.
Since being launched in 2005, the Choice Prize has become a major event in the Irish music industry, and its cachet is such that this year RTÉ came on board as main sponsor and producer of the event.
So, that meant that 2FM and RTÉ 2 stalwart Eoghan McDermott replaced Today FM’s Paul McLoone as host. Seeming a little nervous, but genuinely enthused by the night of music ahead, Eoghan first introduced nominee Wallis Bird to the stage.
The Berlin-based Wexford native performed solo in front a full house, playing three songs from Home. She accompanied herself on piano for the first, sang the second acapella and used loop-pedals and her voice to create a cacophonous wall-of-sound for her third. Nominated for the second time, it remained to be seen Bird would walk away with the €10,000 prize.
There were eight more acts to come, though, and there were some really strong albums on the list. The only nominee who didn’t make the show was James Vincent McMorrow, as he is currently on tour in Australia.
The next act McDermott introduced was Cork based musician Bantum. He was joined by an excellent drummer, and some impressive guest vocalists. Although it was hard to fault the performances, the songs themselves didn’t grab these ears. Maybe it’s a record better suited to headphones – something that the judges may well have considered.
Dublin based duo We Cut Corners were up next, playing tracks from The Cadence of Others. Although Conall Ó Breacháin impresses when he’s creating a racket and singing at the drum kit, the songs themselves fell a little flat on the night. But taste is such a subjective thing – We Cut Corners were very well received in Vicar St, and are critically lauded.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.