Some unsettling but rather captivating ambient electronic music put early-arriving audience members in an appropriate mood for this much anticipated EIF performance by Dublin folk stars, Lankum.
Indeed, some of the most intriguing parts of their gig were spells of similarly horror film-style electronic musings, although certain lyrics such as those in ‘Go Dig My Grave’ (concerning a suicide, and reportedly written during level 5 lock-down) and the sheer almost desolate intensity of much of the music seemed equally dark.
For this gig last Thursday evening, the band – brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Radie Peat and Cormac MacDiarmada – was augmented by Cormac’s brother John on percussion. His splendidly oversized bass drum, like the colour palette of the stage lights (red and purple), added an extra level of richness and drama.
The technical virtuosity however of the four regulars (on vocals, concertina, uillean pipes, whistle, fiddle, harmonium and guitar) was especially evident. With some particularly lovely melodies, interesting occasionally off-piste harmonies and the relentless building of volume and emotional intensity, this whole package made their seven – song gig a deeply satisfying one for the audience. The terminal standing ovation was heart-felt.
Perhaps most striking of all is the sincerity and intensity with which Lankum perform. Their words and music seem to come from a very deep place, though any possible shadows there are expressed so very, very beautifully.