Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jape wins Choice Music Prize - On The Beat loses money

What a night! (Ow, my head)
Attended the Choice Music Awards last night in Vicar Street - and as has been well reported and discussed elsewhere, Jape (aka Richie Egan) was a hugely popular winner.
Interesting really, after the bregrudgery (replace with heated debate where necessary) about SEBP winning last year, but Richie is such a nice guy and his music is top class, so well done.

Interestingly - as my review of Ritual reveals below - when the album came out people were surprised at the direction Jape had gone, wayy more dancey etc, as The Monkey's In the Zoo.. was really a rather laid-back, lo-fi affair. There you have it.

Loads of the bands/pr/music industry/danny from the Script were at the after-show party but Richie's Da was the best craic - revealing to On the Beat that he had backed his son in the bookies to take home the prize! Nice if you can get it, I lost money on Halfset/Lisa Hannigan, thought I had it all sewn up!

The performances on the night were superb, notably Halfset (brilliant visuals), Mick Flannery (his second song, Wait Here, was jaw-droppingly good) and Fight Like Apes who basically went absolutely mental, particularly at the end of Battlestations, replete with cartwheels, epuipment damage and May Kay lobbing her Nord stand at Pockets. Fun.

Excellent, super-charged performance by Jeremy Hickey too (aka RSAG), Stick to your Line was super, although he went a bit mad at the end. Rescued it nicely though.

Messiah J put in a bit of a mixed performance, although Jean is Planning An Escape was top class.
All in all a great night, already looking forward to next year. See below for my review of Jape's Ritual, printed on its release in the Limerick Leader last year.

Ritual – Jape
I RECENTLY overheard two prominent Irish musicians having a conversation in a men’s toilet, both unaware I was eavesdropping. They were discussing Jape - aka Dubliner Richie Egan - with one having been to the Olympia the previous night to see him. The conversation went along the lines of "I’m not sure about his new stuff, it’s very dancey".
They were correct.

I have been a fan of Egan’s since I heard ‘Floating’, long before Jack White and the Raconteurs jumped on the bandwagon and started performing it at their shows. However, debut album The Monkeys In The Zoo Have More Fun Than Me, other than the pounding Floating, was simply too subdued after such a powerful opening.

This time around and following the interest generated by the Jape is Grape EP, Egan has taken a new and wonderful direction. I Was A Man, with its infectious guitar riff, is every bit as memorable as Floating, while Replays will have you in thrall at its falsetto harmonies and synth-heavy, catchy chorus.

Graveyard is a striking paean to sneaking a bit of fun in a graveyard with a former flame, while Streetwise is at the pinnacle of any electro-dance track released this year. Egan lays his soul bare on the beautiful and epic Nothing Lasts Forever - still refusing to let the tempo drop.

The only time that threatens to happen on the album is the quirky Phil Lynott - a sustained note in the verses seems like it will grate with the listener, but surprisingly does not. It is a moving dedication to the former Lizzy front man, clearly an influence on Egan who hails from the same area.
He recollects a half covered moon and a cover version of a Lizzy song, apparently this song wrote itself in ten minutes - "someday I’ll be a dead man who played the bass from Crumlin, like Phil Lynott".
A superb album. I for one am delighted Egan decided to go a bit more "dancey", despite the misgivings of others.

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