Thekla | 17th October

Lisa Hannigan‘s third album At Swim is her darkest yet, plunging depths she never even flirted with before, somewhat thanks to the help of producer Aaron Dessner of The National, the masters of such uplifting misery.

Starting solo with two gorgeous tracks from 2011’s Passenger LP though, it’s a significantly brighter introduction to a show that doesn’t indulge in At Swim‘s darkness as much as maybe expected. After a beginning of significantly older tracks, a block of songs from At Swim take up the middle of the set, and show it to be the singer’s most intriguing album yet, even if brightened up in a live setting.

Hannigan has already announced a headline show at London’s cavernous Roundhouse for 2017, and there’s the sense inside Thekla tonight that this might be the last time to catch her in such a cosy room. As with almost every show at the venue, there’s an onstage marvel at playing a gig on a boat, but Hannigan’s seems more genuine than most, and while the songs remain brilliant, it’s her continuing enthusiasm that makes her such an exciting prospect on stage (and off it – she stays behind at the merch desk for a good hour after the set finishes to sign records, bags, and whatever else is presented to her). A malfunctioning guitar cable is met with giggles and an instrumental interlude from her ever-brilliant band, every mishap taken in their stride.

Stamping feet demanding an encore threaten to throw everyone overboard, with ‘Lo’ proving a thunderous finish to the gig – a night in which ups and downs and imperfections made the show, and Lisa Hannigan, all the more endearing.

Watch Lisa Hannigan’s video for ‘Fall’ below.