8

SUNDAY

On paper, the next-big-thing predictions for Irish vocalist Gemma Hayes seem clinched. With breathy vocals over Joni Mitchell-like strumming and a My Bloody Valentine-style wall of electric guitar, as well as production by Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips impresario Dave Fridmann, this Tipperary-born siren’s full-length debut should be a sure thing. However, with a few promising exceptions, Night on My Side is pretty but bland, full of derivative alt-pop and coffeehouse songwriting that calls up Hayes’ idiosyncratic influences more than the performer herself. But this Nick Drake enthusiast is young, and her luscious, stirring phrasing on said exceptions—”Tear N My Side” and “Making Waves” in particular—is striking enough to suggest she may someday live up to the hype. Hayes plays with the Josh Ritter Band at 9 p.m. at Iota Club & Cafe, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $10. (703) 522-8340. (Steve Kiviat)