It didn’t take long for my girlfriend, Elen, and I to choose Orla Gartland’s gig at Cyprus Avenue to fill an evening during our holiday in Cork. She was the only artist we had heard of performing that week. A marriage of convenience undoubtedly, but one that would become unforgettable.
We knew about Orla from our previous unlikely trip to Glasgow to see indie-pop and YouTube star Dodie. Orla is in her band, and I thought ‘Dodie wasn’t exactly my thing, but there was a good atmosphere, and this could be fun.’
We arrived at Cyprus Avenue just as the 2nd support act was performing. We were heavily laden after a rushed Wetherspoons dinner. A typical bout of disorganisation stopped a more thought-out pre-gig dinner. Still, we looked around at the few hundred people comfortably packed into Cyprus Avenue with a sense of belonging and headed to the bar for a pint of the appropriately named Rockshore lager.
As soon as Orla stepped out on stage, she swiftly set about showing us her credentials as an impressive artist in her own right.
What stunned us most about Orla was her range. Surprisingly thrashy tracks had us jumping around, bouncing off of revellers gathered around us. At one point, we were too overcome with happiness to notice Orla had gotten everyone to crouch down, ready to jump up again at the next euphoric chorus. On the other hand, Orla is comfortable settling into solo piano ballads that were beautiful enough to bring forth tears without an ounce of insincerity.
We only recognised a couple of songs in an evening that reminded me why I love finding new artists so much. I wasn’t familiar with Orla’s work before, but I certainly want to be now. We head to Truck Festival where Orla is playing again this weekend. I go inspired to spend more time in the smaller stages. Perhaps I will find my next favourite band.