Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This Thursday night The Wailers return to Limerick following a superb gig earlier in the year, plus a towering performance on the main stage at Electric Picnic in September.
Centred around Aston “Family Man” Barrett - reckoned to be one of the world’s finest bass players - this is the seminal Wailers line-up, not to be confused with other imitations.
Barrett and his deceased brother Carly, along with Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh made up The Wailers, and Barrett is continuing to perpetuate that mantle 40 years later.
Family Man and lead singer Elan Atias form the main axis of the current Wailers line-up, Atias sounding uncannily like Marley when the band visited Dolan’s in February and performed the seminal ‘Exodus’ album in full, Time magazine’s album of the 20th Century.
Atias was recruited in 1997 by former Wailers’ guitarist Al Anderson, who, together with Junior Marvin, also perform as the Wailers, but are described as a “rogue” band by Atias.
“There’s this rogue band that’s been going around saying they’re ‘The Original Wailers’ and they’re basically a cover band (with) guitarists that used to be in the band.
They’re going around saying they’re us, which is pretty funny,” Atias said in a recent interview. While Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh left the band in 1973, Family Man was ever present with Marley up to his death, to the point that he sued Marley's estate a couple of years ago, citing a right to royalties he was promised but never got.
He was unsuccessful in that bid, but together with new heir Atias, is preparing to release a new album under the Wailers title, featuring previously unused recordings by his drummer brother, Carly, discovered after his death.
“Family had a bunch of tapes of drum tracks made by his brother, Carly, before he died, “ said Atias.
“We started all these new tracks from them and then Family would lay down the bass and everybody would do their stuff.
“The whole idea is to bring the tracks to contemporary artists and other big artists from different genres to add their own vibes and write new lyrics to sing on top of this classic, Wailers-sounding material.”
The Wailers play in Dolan's Warehouse this Thursday night, doors 9pm. Support on the night comes from the local Roots Factory crew - get down early, bbq will kick the night off..
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Swell Season
THE ACCOMPANYING press notes with this album reveal it as documenting a time of “great change, tumult and progression”.
Given that Oscar winning duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova reached such highs and bottomed out to a point where their relationship buckled under the strain of its intensity, that might just be the understatement of the year.
Interestingly the duo remain friends and have produced a delightful record that echoes elements of that strain and break-up but does not focus on it, produced by Peter Katis, who has worked with The National and Interpol, an ideal background, one feels, for this project.
This is, for all intents and purposes, a Frames record, the likes of which we haven’t heard since seminal offerings Dance the Devil and For The Birds; with the addition of Irglova’s effortlessly gorgeous vocals and warmth, the perfect foil to Hansard’s sometime glum nature.
The delightful ‘In These Arms’ is an early highlight, the Czech ingénue’s piano twisting delicately and intricately among the Frames (almost all of them are here, so why not refer to them as such) moody brand of Irish rock.
‘The Rain’ is superb; Colm MacCon Iomaire’s goosebump-inducing violin screeching in the background, the song building to a soaring finish that recent albums Burn The Maps and The Cost never reached for the Irish band.
Irglova takes over on ‘Fantasy Man’, a lovely ditty of a song that evokes her memorable walk through the streets in Once singing “If You Want Me”.
The highlights come thick and fast as the album progresses; the bassy, up tempo High Horses stopping abruptly on the line “we’ve gone as far as we can go”, violin holding the note in anticipation; the epic ‘I Have Loved You Wrong’ burnishing with emotion; the banjo-driven ‘Love That Conquers’ evocative of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s ever-so gently countrified offerings; the gloriously downbeat ‘Back Broke’ finishing the album - “back broke and happy; cause you’re nearer to me” - in wonderful style.
A wonderful album, probably - and unfortunately - made better by the heartbreak suffered in its making. Fabulous.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
LIKE MANY people, when I saw the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Nine guys, all from Chicago, touting battered brass instruments - tubas, trombones, trumpets - swaying and swinging as they performed their unique brand of tight, highly composed hip-hop/jazz instrumentalism.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Pink - real name Alecia Beth Moore - has sold in the region of 30 million albums worldwide and is the first act to be confirmed for next summer’s gigs in the €40m stadium.
The American singer will bring her theatrical ‘Funhouse Summer Carnival’ show to Limerick’s Thomond Park on Saturday, June 20 2010.
Aiken Promotions confirmed to the Limerick Leader that the self styled rock chick will perform a huge outdoor show in Thomond Park next June, and while a spokesperson denied that there were other acts already booked for next summer, the Limerick Leader understands that up to four dates have been provisionally booked in the stadium, which memorably played host to Elton John and Rod Stewart this year.
Pink will play three open air shows in Ireland next summer, with shows at Belfast’s King’s Hall Complex and Dublin’s RDS preceding the Thomond Park gigs. T
he news will come as a considerable boost to the local economy, as a recent survey conducted by BDO Simpson Xavier on behalf of Munster Rugby determined that the Elton John concert generated €9.9 million for the local economy, with 13 local hotels reporting 100 per cent occupancy. It is believed that the Rod Stewart concert had a similar impact.
While Aiken and Thomond Park undoubtedly played safe with the first series of gigs, they are aiming for a younger market with the selection of Pink, who has sold a massive number of tickets worldwide, including 58 sold out arena shows in Australia and several sold out shows in Ireland this year.
The Pennsylvania-born performer released her first album “Can't Take Me Home” in 2000, while 2002’s follow-up Missundaztood sold an estimated 13 million copies worldwide. Her present album “Funhouse” has also clocked up massive sales around the world, with lead single “So What” taking Pink to her first Billboard number one American chart success.
Tickets for the concert will go on sale from Ticketmaster outlets and Empire Music on O’Connell Street next Friday, October 23, at 9am.
General admission tickets will be priced at €58.30, while seated tickets will be available for €63.20.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The “Just Writing My Name” graffiti jam - the first international graffiti event to take place in Ireland - attracted 20 artists from across Europe who showcased their abilities on special wooden boards erected for the occasion.
A large crowd gathered for the event, which was held on October 3 last. Two of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, Klark Kent and Cantwo, were among those who attended the event, which was hosted by the O’Connell Street-based graffiti shop South Central LK and Montana Cans, a European spray-paint supplier.
Nick Bromfield, local musician and graffiti artist, who helped organise the event, said the resulting works were “world standard art” and expressed his delight at how successfully the event was run.
He explained that the individual pieces were “very bright, very colourful” and that the style was important.
"In graffiti terms it is called writing - a lot of letter styles that would be very distinctive, every artist has a different style,” explained Nick.
The pieces will now be installed in the Church Gallery, on LSAD’s Clare Street campus, a move that local Councillor Tom Shortt - who supported the festival - said was “significant”.
“I am happy to see the works going into an exhibition so people will have a second chance to see the work and see the finished products,” explained Cllr Shortt.
“Hopefully this will continue the debate about youth culture and maybe get people interested and get a designated and dedicated space to this type of art. It is a significant project and important that it came to Limerick and shows that culturally, there is great activity and vitality in the city.”
The Labour councillor dismissed recent calls by a fellow councillor that banning spray paint was a way to combat so-called random graffiti.
“I know the problems, I have condemned random graffiti and tried to steer it into a positive, structured situation and this is the way forward. Banning these products is not the way forward and is oppressive; we should liberate young people by supporting them,” he added.
The graffiti exhibition will open on Monday, October 19 next at 7.30pm and run until Friday, October 23.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I ATTENDED the opening night of the latest Limerick Theatre Hub venture last night, Don Juan In Hell, by GB Shaw and directed by Killaloe man Duncan Molly.
The piece boasts both superb staging and performances - particularly Limerick man Darragh Bradshaw's impressive (statuesque?) puppetry performance.
There is some serious, meaty subject matter in here, but a delightful witty strand permeates the philosophical debate that takes place, primarily between Don Juan and the Devil.
It would be superb if local audiences came out and supported this play, which runs in the Belltable until October 24.
See preview article below.
LIMERICK THEATRE audiences will be transported to “hell and back again” this week as the entertaining and much anticipated ‘Don Juan In Hell’ opens in the Belltable on Wednesday night.
The piece, the latest in the Limerick Theatre Hub venture, deals with infamous literary character Don Juan and his travails in hell - and is based on the play written by famous Irish author George Bernard Shaw.
It promises to be a hilarious and visually arresting piece, given the ambitious set design and puppetry, created by Limerick man Darragh Bradshaw.
Killaloe man Duncan Molloy directs a cracking cast of actors including Martin McGuire - well-known from his work on The Tudors and The Clinic - as well as Fair City regulars Nathan Gordon and Eilish O’Donnell.
“What we are trying to do is not have it as a classical, ‘ye-olde’ play and instead try and look at it from a different point of view,” explained Duncan.
“It is not strictly an adaptation because we are not drastically changing the setting of it or anything, we are just trying to play around with it and have a bit of fun with it,” he added.
The premise of the story is that Don Juan has been dragged to hell by the his former lover’s father, who he killed in a duel.
When she in turn dies after a long and happy life, she awakens to the appalling realisation that she is also in hell, with Don Juan, who is by now great friends with her father, who likes to pop down occasionally from heaven. If it sounds like a romp, that is what Duncan had in mind.
“The idea is that if we all could do whatever we want it would be grand, but what's the point? If we are not going to get punished for doing bad, then why do good at all? It goes from there,” laughed Duncan.
“The main thing is, it is a bit of a laugh - Shaw is very, very funny, whether you read him on a page or aloud. So we are just trying to bring that out, have a few gags and a bit of a laugh on stage,” said Duncan.
Don Juan In Hell opens in the Belltable @ 36 Cecil Street this Wednesday at 8pm. It runs until October 24 and tickets are available on 061-319866.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
THIS album has been sitting on my desk for the past couple of weeks, just in my sight line, pleading with me to take it home and listen to its undoubted highlights.
The reason for my procrastination? Muse are simply a hard band to like.
They are without doubt one of the biggest bands in the world at this moment, their live shows unrivalled in terms of thrills and spills and sheer magnitude. On record however, they have struggled to replicate their massive sound to my satisfaction, with 2003’s Absolution the exception to the rule.
Interestingly, Muse seemed to have toned down the theatrics on this album, the woozy space rock of their earlier efforts replaced by a taut and fine direction.
Muse have gained a status as world leaders in epic, post-classical rock and fans will not be disappointed with this offering, but perhaps new fans might appreciate it more.
The arpeggio guitar treats on Resistance, the title track, are faintly reminiscent of Radiohead, at least until the very-Muse like piano kicks in and singer Matt Bellamy starts warbling. But there is a restraint here that is refreshing, the band abruptly breaking into territory more normally inhabited by the Who for the refrain - “it could be wrong, it could be wrong, it could never last”. Opener Uprising is admittedly less restrained, Battles like guitars and Dr. Who esque klaxon calls stuffed into its body.
The New Order synthesizer beat of Undisclosed Desires sees the band display a previously unheard harmonising and emotion, and it is impressive.
But the biggest eye-opener is the Queen sound on the opus United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage, a grandiose clarion call to arms.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Muse album without some form of overblown opus - the end of the album concluding with the three part Exogenesis Symphony - parts one, two and three, which can only be described as, a bit like Bellamy, totally barmy and almost existing in Star Wars territory (so much for restraint) but also absolutely superb.
Looks like Muse might have one more fan.
‘Rebuilt by Humans’
BEARDED, dreadlocked troubadour Newton Faulkner returns with ‘Rebuilt by Humans’, the follow-up - we are told by the sticker on the front cover - to the million selling 2007 debut Hand Built By Robots.
The success of that album owed much to Faulkner’s - real name Sam - interesting guitar playing abilities, live performances and, cynically, the presence of a admittedly rather decent cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop.
Watching Faulkner at the recent Cois Fharraige festival it is clear that, cycnism aside, this guy is a superb musician, capable of producing full band-like performances by himself.
The soft twinkling guitar ‘Intro’ opens the album and segues effortlessly into the super-cool ‘Badman’, an early highlight, Faulkner’s funky rhythm’s driving the song.
At first listen follower ‘I Took It Out On You’ seems to stray dangerously close to boyband, X-factor territory, but is rescued by Faulkner’s engaging, gravely vocals and well-crafted musicianship.
Faulkner clearly likes his interludes, the 30 second snatch of ‘Hello’ preceding the emotional ‘If This Is It’ - another close skirmish with Ronan Keating territory, which thankfully comes through the other side owing to the presence of heavy orchestration and Faulkner’s howling vocals.
Other highlights are the effortlessly impressive and dark, didgeridoo driven Resin On My Heart Strings, the jazzy Let’s Get Together, Faulkner sounding eerily like Tom Baxter and the delicate This Town.
Unfortunately the album is let down by ill-advised efforts like Lipstick Jungle and the fact that, at 19 tracks, it is simply too long and too near soppy, wind in the hair ballads for my liking. RATING 2/5
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Casting an ever so slightly green eye over the buzzing music scene in his home town, he subtly displays a slight hankering for the connections between the various acts in Limerick.
However, the strength of his band lies in the fact that he has assembled an international cast with members hailing from Italy to Sweden, leading to a dynamic and diverse sound that is ear-catching.
“Limerick is a place that has a really good music scene, I was almost envious that I didn't start the band here because there seems to be a lot of really good bands and there is a good connection between them,” says Emmet.
He cites the recent ‘Tonelist’ collection of local artists as proof of this “connection”.
“That sort of thing doesn't happen in Galway as much, in Limerick people seem to come out and support bands and I would love to be able to play at home more often,” he adds.
Formed in 2004 around the Tig Neachtain pub in Galway where the Newcastle West man found himself after a period of travel, Emmet Scanlan and What The Good Thought are a delightfully diverse five-piece featuring Alan Preims, percussionist from Italy, classical guitarist Peter Akerstrom from Sweden, Scottish cellist Nicola Geddes and Irish bass player Cathal Doherty. The group released debut album ‘Hands’ in March, a collection of evocative soundscapes filled with lush instrumentation.
Think Spanish guitar fused with light fingered tabla percussion, gorgeous cello parts infused with Scanlan’s Anthony Keidis-esque vocals. In a word, the international scope of this band has transformed and moulded Scanlan’s undoubtedly strong songs; think of One Day International and you wouldn’t be far off.
“I played in bands over the years with guys that I grew up with, but we all grew up listening to the same stuff - so the ideas were coming from more or less the same source,” says Scanlan.
“But all the lads in the band now, the type of music and artist that they would be into would be quite different from what I would ever have heard of and it has opened me up to new music and opened up a lot of ideas and styles, which is great.
“The formation of the band was all very much coincidence and when it seemed to be turning out that way I was delighted. I was working in a bar in Galway and I had been travelling for a year and writing songs, but I wanted to get an original band together to showcase the songs - I didn't know what I was doing really, except that I wanted to get a bunch of musicians together. I got to know these guys through working in the bar and bombarded them and that is how it all began,” he explains.
The result has been tours of the States with the Saw Doctors, invitations to the International Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis and positive reviews of their eclectic debut album.
This summer also saw the band play support to Femi Kuti in the Big Top in Galway and as part of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The band are now gearing up to play nearly 20 dates from here to Christmas and are hoping to record some new material for release early next year.
First, they play at the Belltable Sessions this Thursday night - a rare hometown gig for Emmet to get his teeth into.
“The idea of the Belltable sessions seems to suit our style, it will be nice because we have worked over the last while on having our set to cater to the environment we play in, so it is nice to be able to do both larger, louder venues and smaller, intimate venues. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Emmet Scanlan and What The Good Thought play the Belltable Sessions this Thursday night, with support from Kev Fox, Sí and Beautiful Rooms. Doors at 8pm.
‘You Can Make Sound’
AGAINST all the odds, Delorentos have produced a follow-up to 2007’s excellent debut, In Love With Detail. Following a ‘will-they, won’t-they’ shaky period in the life of the Dublin band, the quartet are set to release You Can Make Sound this Friday, amidst a quiet sigh of relief in several quarters.
The news that the band were to split at the beginning of the year was greeted with universal shock in Irish music circles, the Malahide band seen as one of the stronger outfits on the go.
The band, who were feted here and particularly abroad as the leading light among modern Irish rock bands, all jangly guitar hooks and killer choruses - declared that lead singer Ronan Yourell was to leave the band.
This followed a period where the band suffered record company setbacks and were, by their own admission, “burnt out”. However, before Yourell left, there was the matter of recording another album and playing some farewell gigs, and, as that progressed, he decided the output was too strong to walk away from.
It seems Irish super-producer Gareth Mannix was the glue that kept this band together, guiding them through a “cathartic process” and allowing them to re-discover their love for recording and playing music, and You Can Make Sound is the result.
Bassist Níal Conlan told this reporter that the album would contain more depth, reflect broader influences and concentrate more on structure as a result.
Although they have moved slightly from the more generic, 4X4 stadium rock that impressed on their debut, Delorentos have not gone and reinvented the wheel on this album, mining influences as broad as early Bloc Party, Editors and particularly, The Bravery.
Several songs on this album sound uncannily like that New York band, notably the opener Sanctuary, Hallucinations and Leave Me Alone.
The catchy riffs on Secret, the first single released from the album, make it more of a Delorentos song, and you will be doing well not to be humming the chorus for days after hearing it.
There is a nice change of pace on You Say You’ll Never Love Her and Leave Me Alone, delicate, emotional songs both - the latter on which Yourell sings “it’s a little too late for us to change”.
We don’t agree, as these songs demonstrate, Delorentos can take the tempo down, a fear that presented itself after their first album, which was mostly pepped up on youthful exuberance. The engaging Editorial and Body Cold are somewhat let down by Let The Light Go Out and the ill-advised Soulmate, but the album finishes on a high with the piano-driven, harmony filled I Remember.
However, it is the penultimate track, which the album is named after, that impresses the most, the distinctive rhythm and effortless cool of You Can Make Sound reinforcing the notion that this is one of the best Irish bands around. Let’s hope they can stay together for album number three. www.myspace.com/delorentos
Download: Sanctuary, You Can Make Sound
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
The show will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the release of their debut single “Chime” and follows their headline slot at Electric Picnic last month, which was greeted with mixed reviews.
This reporter found their set a bit lifeless and montonous, the glorious 'Belfast' aside, which was as good as any moment from the weekend.
However, a legion of electro fans will await this much anticipated indoor gig in Tripod - which might well hit the heights of their many fabled live gigs from years gone by.
According to the lads this is not an exercise in nostalgia:
“It’s not an exercise in nostalgia at all, the time just seems right,” says Phil. “They came to us with the offer, and everything just seemed to fall into place. Also the timing seems good: 20 years of being together.”
“Audience reaction is part of the process,” Paul explains, “It really becomes like a friendly football match between you and the crowd. That was always one of our strong points - and for people to say that about an electronic band is a real honour, because it’s the one genre of music that’s normally crap live.
“We’ve got 15 years of active service, making songs,” Paul says. “If you boil that down to a 90-minute festival set you should get something thoroughly good from beginning to end. Let’s put some fun back into it.”
Tickets are €42.50/49.50 (inc. booking fee) and available from Ticketmaster and usual outlets. Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow.
Friday, October 2, 2009
A GROUP of Limerick bands are to come together for a gig in aid of the Gerard McDonnell Memorial Fund this Saturday.
Ger, the Kilcornan mountaineer who was the first Irishman to summit K2, died tragically on his descent a little over a year ago and his family and friends have set up the fund to assist the children of those Pakistani and Nepalese climbers who also lost their lives on K2: Jehan Baig, Karim Meherban, Jumik Bhote and Pasang Bhote.
In conjunction with The Mountain Fund charity, the fund will sponsor these children throughout their childhood years, helping with their education and medical care. Local musician Patrick O’Brien, of the band Last Days of Death Country, was a friend of the gregarious Ger and was keen to organise a gig in aid of the charity in his name.
Five well known bands from the Limerick scene have come together to play in Dolan’s Warehouse, and each have a connection with Ger.
“These are bands which would be known on the Limerick music scene,” said Patrick, adding that Ger was, himself, interested in music and had his own band in Alaska.
“I would have introduced Ger to these bands and he loved them,” Patrick added. “There is a very important connection with Ger in all of this. And I believe it will be a fantastic night. It will be music straight through from 9.30pm.”
Joining the excellent Last Days of Death Country are; Walter Mitty and the Realists, who have just locally released their superb debut album Green Light Go and are preparing to make their way to Canada, where they have a large following; Windings, featuring Steve Ryan of Giveamanakick fame, but now well established in their own right; local pop-rock band Supermodel Twins, of whom great things are expected when they release an album and Ennis based artist Vertigo Smyth, who won a prize at the Galway Film Fleadh for his song Comfort Me.
“It’s a fantastic lineup,” Patrick enthused, “and everything is going to the fund. Please help us help them, the children, and come support this great fund. Even if you can’t make it put it on your Bebo, Facebook, whatever websites to get the word out about it.”
The gig will take place in Dolan’s Warehouse this Saturday. Tickets cost €10 at the door or can be bought online. Donations can also be made to the fund by buying tickets. For full details on the fund go to www.mountainfund.org.