Dublin folk band Lankum made their first visit to Brighton on Friday night, with a large crowd seemingly eager to welcome the weekend by whooping and hollering along to some lively jigs and reels.

They had to wait. The BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners opened with the as- grave -as-it-sounds What Will We Do When We Have No Money, with Ian Lynch’s juddering uilleann pipe drone providing a backdrop for Radie Peat’s gutsy, soaring vocal.

The group showed they could all sing, with passionate harmonies evident on a cover of The Pogues’ Old Main Drag, before an assortment of traditional and original songs. The group’s own Granite Gaze was a highlight – a fierce examination of the Irish state’s attitude to women’s rights, made pertinent by the country’s upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Lankum specialise in lengthy, atmospheric pieces. The Sheep Stealer began slowly with haunting scrapes on Cormac McDiarmida’s fiddle, before morphing into a chilling song, and finally a downbeat, hypnotic polka. There’s a certain audacity in committing a good 10 minutes to this sort of thing in a live show – but the result was rewarding.

And the night was far from solemn. The group revealed that a book by Festival director David Shrigley was their toilet reading of choice, and the set was punctuated with shorter, more cheerful songs, including the entertainingly lewd Little Tommy Tucker. And with set closer The Old Man From Over The Sea building to its thrilling instrumental conclusion, the audience finally had something to whoop along to.