The biggest night in Irish music was upon again on Thursday 3 March. As the Choice Music Prize took place at Dublin’s Vicar St where a host of acts performed with the competition fiercer than ever. Today FM’s Paul McLoone was also on hand to present this year’s awards live on his show, which went for a new running order style to engage the audience both at home and at Vicar St.
All Tvvins opened live proceedings as one of 12 acts on the bill for the night. Conor Adams and Lar Kaye just returned from a few tour dates with Kodaline, performing at the event before setting out on the road again in Barcelona for more shows. They also celebrated their new EP release at the event, and their performance of Song of the Year nominated ‘Thank You’ kicked things off nice and lively.
Daithi was a personal highlight from the Choice Song of the Year launch, this time performing ‘Mary Keane’s Introduction’ and new single ‘Love’s On Top ‘ featuring Dublin singer-songwriter Sinead White on stage.
At this point, the audience were getting acquainted the live interviews backstage per performance, which will be broadcast on RTÉ 2 next week.
A number of acts played exceptional and energetic sets over the course of the next half an hour. Otherkin showed why they are Dublin’s rising rock act, singles ‘Ay Ay’ and ‘I Was Born’ have been popular on radio stations in Europe since their visit to Eurosonic earlier this year.
Fight Like Apes have been quiet for a while, but that was probably why MayKay and Co. were so pumped for their on stage hair swirling and synth twirling during ‘Pretty Keen On Centrefolds’.
The Academic must have felt pretty psyched to play the Vicar St stage too, as they play their own show here next month. The band have signed a publishing deal for their music to go global. Those young lads must be planning to take over at this stage.
Pleasure Beach have also enjoyed a great few months, sold out shows in Dublin but numerous support slots to Ezra Furman, The Vaccines, and more show that the Belfast quintet are promising indeed.
During this period, Gavin James came out to collect Song of the Year for ‘Bitter Pill’. Decided by the public via the Choice Music Prize website. Gavin later treated the crowd to a rendition of said song, and it is the second time he has won the Song of the Year.
Some of the finest moments were towards the end of the night. The remarkable Colm Mac Con Iomaire showcased his sublime fiddle talents. HamsandwicH with their finely tuned setlist and radio favourite ‘Illuminate’.
But it was Villagers who stole the show, after stepping on following a well-received set from SOAK. ‘No One To Blame’ and ‘Courage’ were so idyllic and gorgeously spilling the emotional talent that we have come to know from Conor O’Brien.
Following the last set of the night from Le Galaxie, who gave it all to tell us ‘Put the Chain On’, SOAK was announced as the winner of the Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year for 2015.U2’s Adam Clayton presented Bridie aka Soak with her award.
The Derry songwriter received a cheque for €10,000, a prize which has been provided by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) – as well as a specially-commissioned award.
RTE 2 Television will broadcast a one-hour highlights programme of the Choice Music Prize on Saturday 12 March at 11pm. You can also listen back on the Today FM Player under the Paul McLoone Show podcast.