As the return of Dublin city’s finest music festival Bulmers Forbidden Fruit returns to IMMA in Dublin 8, Nialler9 will be previewing the forthcoming attractions in a series of posts recommending acts and offering playlists to see at the festival. Here is a list of 10 homegrown Irish acts to see at Forbidden Fruit on the June Bank Holiday weekend.


AE Mak

Saturday, Bulmers Live Stage

AE Mak are an act that take pride in their live performances incorporating visuals, choreographed dance routines and a full live band to enhance their bright style of music. With releases so far this year such as the ‘Glow’ featuring synths, tribal beats and every soul-stirring vocals from Aoife Mc Cann the live element of this act is not to be missed, to fully experience the high energy ambience that they are capable of delivering.


Paul Alwright

Saturday, Bulmers Live Stage

Paul Alwright who previously went under the name Lethal Dialect released his highly anticipated debut album Hungry earlier this year which featured guest collaborations with fellow Irish artists Maverick Sabre and Damien Dempsy amongst others. The album tackles various subjects such as mental health, self-doubt and critical thought in a true honest tone. Off the back of his album launch in The Workman’s Club last earlier in the month which provided a passionate performance, his live show at Forbidden Fruit will be something to behold.



Sunday, Lighthouse Stage

Derry native DJ and producer Orla Dooley or Or:la has been making waves across Europe of late and this year seeing her with slots at Dekmantel, Melt, Kala, Pulsår and many more. Her live sets promise a lifting mix of techno, house and dubstep and more surprises. She is currently releasing music on her own label Deep Sea Frequency label which she curated in collaboration with Breakwave.


Fontaines D.C

Monday, Bulmers Live Stage

Fontaines D.C have had a busy 2018 so far making their KEXP and US debut earlier this month followed by a number of UK dates including two performances at the Great Escape. These boys bring an infectious energy to their live performances delivering their fresh take on punk-rock in a colloquial driven narrative. What better city to engage with this in than Dublin, the D.C does stand for Dublin City. Their latest double A-side ‘Chequeless Reckless’/’Boys In The Better Land’ dropped in February of this year.


Lilla Vargen

Monday, Bulmers Live Stage

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Lilla Vargen is an artist that projects soothing and soulful qualities. With stand out tracks such as ‘Downtown’ and ‘I Believe Me’ clocking up millions of hits on Spotify being proof that she is captivating attention with her music. With a Monday lineup packed full of high energy performance artists Lilla Vargen is your chance to gain some soul-soothing before the madness kicks in, plus her voice is truly something special.


R. Kitt

Sunday, Bulmers Live Stage

Dublin DJ, producer and member of the Dip DJ collective R Kitt had a busy year for releases in 2017 with four-track kaleidoscopic house Jigsaw EP on All City’s sublabel Pear and his ‘Down Down Down’ edit which came out on the Orange Tree Edits label. It appears that he is making catch up with himself in 2018 with just two months into this year he released his Tingle EP, an EP fused with a majestic ambience and catching electric energy. R Kitt encapsulates a strong energy during his live performances and encourages people move, so get ready to dance.


DJ Deece

Sunday, Bulmers Live Stage

Kildare native DJ Deece who is also known to many as Niall D’arcy is no stranger to the Irish DJ scene with this year already seeing him play an impressive stint of gigs around the country as well as sharing the stage with DJ Koze, Denis Sulta, Ejeca and a whole lot more. His sets bring a variety of electronic music genres with the one common dominator being floor-filling grooves to get you dancing from sunset to darkness.



Saturday, Bulmers Live Stage

Irish electronic duo Bebhinn Mc Donnell and Taylor Doyle or Sylk debuted with ‘Am I Alone’ last year. The pair bring a dark edgy and energetic energy to their live performances with a live light show and a stage presence that further adds to the ambience of their music. with releases this year such as ‘Girl’ they are an act that are showing a promising direction with their music.


Mount Alaska

Sunday, Bulmers Live Stage

Stephen Shannon and Cillian McDonnell who are former members of Halfset formed as electronic duo Mount Alaska last year. So far their releases such as ‘Outlier’ and ‘Radius’ have been fused with an ecstatic and euphoric energy. So far they have obtained support slots with the likes of Kiasmos and it has been noted theat live sets are enegry fueld not only by the music but form the duo themselves. Their music is uplifting, euphoric and emotive, I can picture the dreamy summer sky to go with it already.



Sunday, Bulmers Live Stage

Mullingar singer-songwriter Flynn is one of the newest recruits to Diffusion Lab. He made his debut just last month with the dancefloor filler track ‘Red Light’ and announced earlier in the year that his performance at Forbidden Fruit will be his first to feature his new live band, an interesting progression is on the cards for this artist.

Forbidden Fruit Tickets

Available from Ticketmaster.
Saturday Day Only (2nd) ON SALE NOW
1st Release – €64.50

Sunday Day Only (3rd) ON SALE NOW
1st Release – €64.50 (LIMITED REMAIN)

Monday Day Only (4th) ON SALE NOW
1st Release – €64.50

Two Day Weekend (Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd) ON SALE NOW
2nd Release – €119.00 (LIMITED REMAIN)

Three Day (Sat 2nd, Sun 3rd, Mon 4th) ON SALE NOW

1st Release – €162.50

For a list of stage times and Forbidden Fruit afterparty details go to this previous post.

Posted on May 28th, 2018


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Ballymena artist Lilla Vargen (the name means Little Wolf in Swedish) really came into her own last year with the songs ‘Hold On’ and a cover of Majical Cloudz’ ‘Downtown’.

For her first song of 2018, ‘Believe Me’ addresses a messed-up relationship that happened at the wrong time in her life but had a lasting effect on the songwriter. “I never really sung before until I sung about you,” she sings.

The song is a confident step forward for a developing artist. It was written in West Cork with Nick Rayner.

“It was inspired by a friendship that was quite complicated. I let that person down before and I was determined not to do it again. The only way I could explain myself, to let
them know I was ready to let my guard down, was to put my words down on paper, and post the letter.”

Lilla Vargen plays the Nialler9 and Feel Good Lost showcase at The Duke Of York at Output in Belfast on Thursday February 8th along with Mmode, Bad Bones and Molly Sterling.

Lilla Vargen tour dates

Feb 01: Kings Head Members Club, London (Mahogany Horizons)
Feb 08: Output, Belfast
Feb 09: Where’s The Music, Sweden

Posted on January 30th, 2018


Northern Irish singer-songwriter Lilla Vargen has shared a live video of ‘Hold On’, performed with Ryn Vail. The song was featured on Nialler9’s top Irish songs of 2017.

The video was recorded at Attic Studios in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal directed by Brendan Canty with cinematography by Colm Hogan and Roman Bugovski.

Posted on December 20th, 2017


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Northern Irish artist Lilla Vargen has this past few months, burst into life with her live performances and a debut single. It has been a most welcome activity as the song and shows have resonated and she’s not ready to stop there.

Majical Cloudz’s ‘Downtown’ is already a devastatingly effective song in the hand’s of the now defunct Canadian duo. Lilla Vargen’s version doesn’t change much of the original’s as it doesn’t need much work. Instead, she heightens the song’s backing arrangements and sings the song in her own way.

Lilla Vargen on Downtown:

“I think it’s one of the most honest love songs I have ever heard. When I listened to it first, I just understood it straight away. The simplicity of the song speaks volumes. I heard it again on that show The OA recently and I just sort of knew I wanted to cover it. I wasn’t sure how it would sound but when I got to the studio with Nick and we started to plan it out, it all came together really quickly.”

Lilla Vargen’s Hold On EP is out on Feel Good Lost on Friday and she plays our next Future Proof night on November 9th alongside Jafaris and Sleep Thieves.

Posted on October 26th, 2017

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Lilla Vargen is an Northern Irish artist who appeared with some interesting demos a couple of years ago and who played at Hard Working Class Heroes in 2015, but who has taken the time to develop her songwriting and music over the last while.

She plays HWCH once more this Friday at the Tara Building this weekend, and as such it’s the perfect time to share some music she’s been working on.

‘Hold On’ is an emotionally resonant song written as a caution to a close friend not to get too carried away in new love and produced by Nick Raynor.

‘Hold On’ released via Feel Good Lost – on Friday September 29, with her debut EP to follow soon after.

Posted on September 26th, 2017


This year’s Hard Working Class Heroes lineup of new bands is a tough one. Primarily because there are so many new bands to see for the first time and secondly, because the quality of those unseen is greater than in previous years. This year, the tracks on the Breaking Tunes profiles are well-produced and suggest that there are more bands and artists more clued in to How Music Works than ever.

So for three days, from Thursday to Saturday, HWCH returns to seven venues featuring 100 bands playing to music fans and industry delegates.  There are free daytime gigs, a convention in the Liberties featuring speed sessions, panels, talks and more. There’s a special Banter with Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper on the Sunday. There’s also a special Nialler9-curated afterparty with Dublin Theatre Festival in The Grand Social on Saturday night late with the debut live performance of R.S.A.G. and French producer Cosmo Vitelli as Teleoke.

Here are 20 new bands to see this weekend, I capped it at 6 bands per day. Some of last year’s picks are also playing the festival for further investigation so they weren’t featured here (Rusangano Family / Dear Desert  / Buffalo Woman and more).

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

1. Hare Squead


These Dublin rap soul pop dudes are just getting better.

Thursday October 1 – 10.15pm @ The Academy

It was only last year at the festival where Hare Squead really became known at their Meeting House Square gig. Since then, the Dublin trio have been expanding their sound of rap, R&B, soul and pop music with a full live band show that’s really starting to hit home and gel. With a couple of years more experience, these guys could be huge. On a similiar style-tip, Stay Gold in the same venue are a band following a similar path. 

2. 13


Years & Years style-pop

Thursday October 1 – 8.15pm @ The Academy

A new Kildare duo,  David “Monty” Montgomery and Conor Cuffe only formed less than a year ago but with a tropical dance track called Waiting hanging around, they are doing something decidedly more pop than a lot on this list and are worthy of further investigation.

3. Tiz McNamara


Cork/Liverpool singer-songwriter with atmosphere

Thursday Oct 1 – 8:50pm @ The Grand Social

With over 90,000 plays on Spotify for just two songs, the Cork-born, Liverpool-based singer-songwriter has the metrics on his side. It’s the songs that matter though and his most recent single ‘Take It In’ impresses with its production by Scandinavian duo Boxes that takes a singer-songwriter style in a more atmospheric direction.


4. Saint Sister


Self-proclaimed atmosfolk duo

Thursday Oct 1 – 9.20pm @ The Workman’s Club

Celtic-influenced harmony folk world or “atmosfolk” as Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre call it. Their debut EP is released next month and the music so far has had a pleasing ethereality to it with harmonies to the fore alongside harp tones.

5. Maud in Cahoots


Thursday Oct 1  – 10.50pm @ The Grand Social

The kind of sophisticated pop music that Maud In Cahoots make has a lot in common with Scandinavian pop music, The sisters Maud and Zoe Ní Riordáin and band have also showed some interesting initiative by placing their songs in a theatrical show context. The new single ‘Cure For The Crazy’ is their career best track.

6. Elephant


Dundalk singer-songwriter

Thursday Oct 1 – 7:30pm @ The Grand Social

Dundalk musician Shane Clarke’s sweet vocal tones are what makes his elemental guitar and keys music work so well, lending his songs a delicate disposition. A debut album is on the way shortly.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

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Posted on September 28th, 2015


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