Home Lifestyle Entertainment CMAT’s how it’s done, baby

CMAT’s how it’s done, baby

CMAT at Kentish Town Forum, Thursday 16 May

Review by Noel Mullen

The queue that snaked along the outside of the Kentish Town Forum and down an adjoining street told the story: CMAT is an Irish music phenomenon, who is only just getting started.

Like the Irish performers before her who have entertained on this hallowed stage for London Irish music fans, CMAT (real name Ciara Mary Alice Thompson) reflects the changing face of Ireland.

Where it was once the 1960s showbands that shook off the conservative shackles of Catholic Ireland, or the 1980s Celtic Punks that exemplified Irish national pride in the height of the Troubles, CMAT’s country- infused pop reflects the forward-thinking, liberal, inclusive Ireland, a country that fights for LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights.

She doesn’t hold back giving the crowd what they want, playing favourites like I Don’t Really Care About You early in the set.

She is on the move constantly across the stage with a wild elegance, making sure she leaves nothing in the tank. She puts all her energy into each song as if she were afraid hte electricity could cut out suddenly and she wanted to ensure if the nigth ended, it ended on a high.

A night of so many highlights: her cover of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush was extraordinary. And in a career full of highlights (her debut studio album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, was released in February 2022, entered the Irish Albums Chart at number one) she hailed the night as her best ever gig.

The audience, eating out of hte palm of her hand, danced the ‘Meath two-step’ while she performed I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby! While Ireland might have changed a lot since the showband days, it, like CMAT, is still very recognisably Irish (and proud as in the Celtic-punk days) and that’s why she is alreayd so beloved.

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