“Hold me, it’s coming” – This is kind of like yesterday afternoon (14th June, 2016) was like for the crew of The Leap Sessions. Only babies at this lark, we’ve had a solid enough start truth be told, to our little bi-monthly soireé at The Salmon Leap Inn in Leixlip. To several respects we’ve really been winging it since we ‘opened’ in the final throes of February earlier this year with large ambitions and a fire in our belly.
There was a semblence of an idea of what we wanted to achieve with our night but it was left vague enough so that we wouldn’t be under too much pressure, fluid enough in our ambitions so that we weren’t constrained by goals that were going to be too difficult to achieve.
We’d happily admit to not presenting perfect evenings on every occassion but on the other hand artists, singers, songwriters and audiences alike have for the most part retreated to their cocoons from each of the sessions satisfied with their respective nights work or entertainment.
So last night our ‘little soireé’ came of age in some respects. Last night we were blessed with the presence of Irish big hitters, Bell X1. This time (or thereabouts) last year the three lads from Leixlip, Lucan and Celbridge were entertaining over 80,000 Ed Sheeran fans at Croke Park. Last night they popped in to our session to entertain not quite that many at the Leap Sessions.
For an hour or so they laughed, joked, cajoled and performed a most intimate, warm and balanced acoustic set for an audience placed firmly on the edge of their seats. From the opening chord of ‘Velcro’ til the last harmony of the final encore, their famous cover of Bono’s ‘Mystery Girl’ which was performed only using the electricity of the collective energy of the band and their audience. Such a highlight among many highlights on the night.
Importantly, Bell X1 supported four other acts on the night, Ellen And Carla, Darwins Daughter, Voci and Barry Jay Hughes. Four very different acts, four very different journeys and four captivating performances.
The attendance of Bell X1 at The Leap Sessions is a massive nod to all of the acts that have supported this project since February. It is validation of the thousands of hours each of our acts puts into their work. The thousands of miles they clock up for little or no pay in most cases, but in most cases the work they output stands up against anything you could hear on commercial radio any day of the week.
We were genuinely humbled that David, Paul and Dominic graced our session last night. Let’s not underplay it, last night was a very special night for all those that got the chance to enjoy the evenings music. From the word go, the outstanding Ellen And Carla caught the audience completely off guard with their sophisticated harmonies. An audience straightened their backs and tuned in to this fabulous act.
Darwin’s Daughter followed up with her second Leap Sessions appearance which captivated a large attendance. Following was Voci, Bobby (host of the Leap Sessions) and Sabrina O’Reilly who entertained the listeners enough to recieve rousing receptions after each of their songs. Our penultimate performer on the night is arguably the hardest working independent musician in the country, Barry Jay Hughes who properly warmed up the crowd and left them in a great spot for Bell X1 to take over with.
Incidentally, the following day Barry is taking himself and his guitar to Youghal, Cork (on public transport!) to record a piece for radio, then has to get himself to Cork City to perform at an Open Mic/Sessions night which he needs to leave in time to get the final evenings bus back to Dublin!
This is what it is all about. And the great thing about it is that David, Paul and Dominic get it too. Not too small a stage for them to slum it with the rest of us. They get that it is nights like The Leap Sessions need to be nurtured and supported. What a great thrill for the other acts on the night not only to play alongside such luminaries as Bell X1, but they got to play in font of a full house of respectful listeners who were only too happy to put their hands in their pockets to buy a few CD’s.
This is where music comes from. The End Is Nigh only if we allow it!
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