Archive for September, 2009

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Bats- Greystones Theatre Sept 09

September 30, 2009

Finally, another all ages gig so I could bring the sons to one and thankfully it was Bats who I was really looking forward to seeing after listening to their album repeatedly over the last couple of weeks.

Trains were up first and have to say I was quite surprised- some very good tunes and a great vibe.  Some longish post-rock numbers with slight reverb and the keyboards added a good feel to them.  Not only were they good in the quiet moments but the jams really had some good timing which for post-rock is a must.  Definitely one to catch again.

Pushkin were up next and I would like to say they were good but there really wasn’t much of a vibe to them at all.  All instrumental and technically can’t fault them but I found the construct of the tunes to be rather repetitive which was lulling me off to sleep.

Bats were finally up and damn- they really have the same excellent edge live as they do on the cd.  Higgs Boson Particle, Gamma Ray Burst, and Credulous! Credulous! sounded fantastic and there was a great power behind them with all the guitars and the drums.  One surprise was the lead singer’s voice- not just catchy in his regular singing voice but he sang quite a bit of the higher registers work as well as all the screaming- impressive.  Even the oldest son who had gone off in a huff at one stage came back for the tunes which is saying something.  Wish the set could have been longer but it was pretty sweet for its length.

Unquestionably a group to catch and if you’re debating about it just have a listen to Higgs Boson Particle below to give you the final push!

While I am at it, you can also stream the entire album over at Sputnik and it’s definitely a cd for your collection so snag it at Road Records, Tower, or online here.  Even better, get it from them at one of their gigs- quite a few coming up so keep an eye out for them!

Have to give a shout out to the Richter Collective guys there as well- sound as a pound and definitely looking forward to catching more groups from their stable again.

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Nodzzz- Upstairs @ Whelans Sept 09

September 30, 2009

Another night at Upstairs @ Whelans for some new-ish groups and as seems to be case these days some surprises…not all good though.

The Mighty Atomics were up first with their 50’s style tunes which kind of veered into rockabilly which just isn’t for me.  One gig goer was certainly enjoying himself with his jerky twitchy dancing- I didn’t know you could turn an epileptic fit on and off like that though.

So Cow were then up and what whisperings I had heard about them being good were very quickly dissipated.  Even with missing the first couple of tunes the set just seemed to go from bad to worse.  A ‘drummer’ who was air drumming and a recording of the drum track playing, cheesy jokes that went down like lead and then at the end having a Big ‘Somebody’ (sorry can’t remember name) come up on stage for the last tune was a mis-step.  Was like watching a parody to be honest and maybe in the realms of Spinal Tap you could consider this set good- real world though it was not.

Nodzzz were finally up and have to say that they were the only redeeming part of the night.  Their tunes were certainly brief and sometimes I think they spent more time with banter in-between the tunes themselves.  Some of the banter was quite funny though- cold suffering, Primark shoe bedecked band with a dislike of Oakland, CA but at least they were engaging with the crowd.   Have to say that their tunes are very catchy even given their brevity- some like little nuggets which exist on their own but it would have been nice to hear them expanded just a tad.  They were kind of teasing with you since just as you were getting into them they ended and some longer tunes would really have had a great vibe.

And breaking down anonymity again with other bloggers- I said a quick hello to Ruan, Ian and Last.fm’er Fiona.  See a couple of them at so many gigs it kind of felt rude not to say hello!

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Joe Gideon & The Shark- Crawdaddy Sept 2009

September 29, 2009

A free night and no determined plan as to which gig to catch…being on a guest list did help so thanks State.ie!

Actually arrived late in the hopes of missing The Mighty Steph– no offence to him since he does have a good voice but I have seen him far too many times for comfort at this stage.  Alas, things were running late so caught most of his set again.  Couple of new tunes, mostly old tunes…no new words to describe him so enough said.

Had a listen to a couple of Gemma Ray tunes the previous night and when she came out on stage I thought she was at odds to her sound- dressed in an immaculate white dress with a little flower pattern in the middle does not bring to mind somebody with a moody dark reverb sound!  Twas a nice dress though and with her hair up she had a stage presence which was certainly augmented by her voice- maybe not as catchy as I had hoped but she still belted out some good tunes.  She had a two microphone setup and I think it worked best when she was using the one with the reverb sound- really lended an ethereal quality to her voice and enhanced the distorted sound of her guitar.  In the last tune she had some looping which I thought was particularly effective so a shame it wasn’t used more often during the set.

Joe Gideon & The Shark (aka Gideon Joel Seifert and younger sister Viva Seifert) were up and again I had only heard a couple of their tunes the night before so not much expectation and plenty of surprises.  The main vocals came from Joe and were along the lines of spoken word which to be honest isn’t really my cup of tea…and it didn’t help that his regular speaking voice reminds me of Steve Coogan which once in your head is a difficult thought to dispel.

What kept my attention on stage though was the flair from The Shark- completely arresting and I simply could not keep my eyes off of her!  She is unquestionably attractive but that wasn’t what kept my eyes there- her ability to play every instrument around her:  the drums in front, the keyboard at the side, the xylophone on the other side…and whatever else was in reach of her sticks was astounding.  At one stage she had her foot on the bass drum, one hand on the keyboard and the other on the xylophone while singing and looping at the same time!  Her looping in particular made for one hell of a sound which not only augmented Joe but sometimes stole his thunder- delicious layers of her backing vocals, drums and synth all rolled into one great vibe.   I was not surprised when looking at their history then that she competed at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 92 as a rhythmic gymnast.

It didn’t end there though- when she played she was quite dramatic with the hair flics, the poses with her arms held aloft and and most of all…her SMILES!  Simply infectious and it looked like she was having such a blast up there making the music for the tunes that she was lost in herself.

Alas I had to run before the set finished as the last bus home was beckoning- it was probably just as well that the track they were playing at that moment was a little less intense for The Shark so it made it that bit easier on me.

So overall, if you have a chance to catch Gemma Ray- Do.  If you have a chance to catch Joe Gideon & The Shark- then that is a definite must!

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William E. Whitmore- Whelans Sept 09

September 29, 2009

The one thing I love about listening to music and going to gigs is my ability to still be surprised.  William E. Whitmore would not be the first artist that I would think of to throw on the hi-fi but his live performance has left me utterly floored and this night in Whelans turned out to be the best gigs I have been to in a while!

Before going on too much about William,  SquAreHeAd was up first in an acoustic set.  Arrived after he had kicked in but caught most of his tunes and they were quite good- he was a bit nervous though and he seemed to be racing through them.  Still a little rough around the edges for his solo work but one to watch I think.  Just as an aside it might be an idea if he has a different name for his solo work so you will know if it’s just him or the band!

William E. Whitmore was up a short time after, whiskey in hand.  I should state now before any Pioneers in the audience faint that there was a lot of drink flowing at this gig- not just on and off the stage but between the stage as well!  It wasn’t just the drink that was flowing either- William’s personality was over-flowing and his exuberance was infectious- my god did he connect with the crowd and after the gig you nearly felt like you had found a new friend.

His first three tunes were between the guitar and banjo and with a strong gravelly voice that you could literal down an oak tree with- between the beats on the side of the guitar and his foot stomping he was his own percussion section as well.  He did have a drummer with him though and Whiskey Texas came on for some great subtle beats on quite a few tunes before disappearing and reappearing at intervals.  In regards to the actual tunes themselves,  I wouldn’t usually be a lyrics man as it’s the tonality of his voice that drew me in but lyrically he can tell a great story with the music tying everything together.

When it comes to stories though it’s not just the one in the tune, as I said before he was engaging with the crowd and there is no way to remember all the stories he told in-between the tunes.  Some were extremely funny though and one before the Johnny Law tune about touring with the Pogues and coming across a drunk guy passed out in his dressing room (not Shane McGowan as he pointed out!) who turned out to be a cop was a memorable one!  He was also very good about shaking hands with the crowd during the breaks as well as taking the jibes from them…at one stage a woman asked him to strip but all she got in return was one shoe taken off.

As I mentioned, alcohol was flowing and with these stories quite often came some more pints of Guinness from the crowd for him and his drummer…during one break one intrepid (read drunk) fellow brought up his girlfriend for some  Baby Guinness shots with William and I lost track how many shots of whiskey were brought up for him.  It wasn’t one way though and at one stage Whiskey Texas brought out a bottle of Jameson, William took a swig and then handed it out to the crowd for them to finish!  Shame that I was driving that night.

He finished the main part of his set with not just a rousing tune but with one hell of a story before it about digging holes, black powder and bowling balls…the fun you can have when you live out in the middle of nowhere!  The tune itself was Dirt and sung in an Arlo Guthrie style it was an excellent closer.  Of course the crowd were not going to be pleased with just that and he came back on for a quite a few more tunes before heading off for good.  All in all I think he played for about 2 1/2 hours and you could see his exhaustion at that stage so you couldn’t ask for much more than that!

I am sure he will be back to Dublin sometime soon and if you get a chance to see him- DO and you will definitely not regret it!

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Tartufi

September 25, 2009

Just a quick one for that Friday afternoon buzz- Tartufi won’t exactly be tripping off the tongue but your ears will be mesmerized so be careful of tripping all the same!

Some damn catchy tunes with falsetto vocals, harmonies, driving percussion and excellent instrumentation with quite an array of different sounds.   Have a listen below and you will not be disappointed!

Not that much information around for them but it looks like they will be touring in the UK and Europe in late October/early November and I am hoping they will be hitting these shores since this would definitely be group to catch live!

Tartufi – Fear Of Tall Giraffes, Fear Of Some Birds

Fleet Week

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An Abject Plea From The Demented

September 25, 2009

No, not a new band name although it does have a ring to it!

Just a plea to those out there that have seen 500 Days Of Summer and who would recognize tunes.

After the breakup, there is a piece of cello music played that has been haunting me with its familiarity.  It’s like a lovers caress, fleeting in its touch and yet the memory remains…but in this case the damn memory can’t think of the name of the tune!

Yeah, probably too much emotion for one little piece of music but I cannot find it anywhere and it certainly isn’t on the soundtrack.  So this is just a little plea to those who have seen it…or if you are going to see it, just stay till the end of the credits and let me know!

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Dirty Projectors And tUnE yArDs- Whelans Sept 09

September 23, 2009

I hadn’t initially intended on going to this gig since I wasn’t convinced of Dirty Projectors last album Bitte Orce and thought it was a bit too subtle for my liking.  Once I heard that tUnE yArDs was going to support I quickly changed my mind since I really wanted to catch her after hearing a couple of her tunes.

Before I get to the music, the important question of course is about the spelling of the name- tUnE-yArDs is on the cd, tUnE yArDs is the way that you will sometimes see it, and if you look at the majority of the web it’s tUnE YaRdS!  All that for just a name but even Last.fm is confused since her cd won’t scrobble the tracks.   Name aside, it looks like it could be the moniker for Merrill Garbus or a band name since there is another member now on the guitar.

When Merril first came out on stage, she looked very unassuming and almost like any office worker with the exception of two white lines painted on her cheeks.  Once she started singing those unassuming qualities were straight out the window and her eclectic performance came forward at full force.   She started off with setting up her loops on the drum and vocals but after a short while she really hit her stride with screaming vocals and outright yelling at points.  Some in the crowd did snigger a bit with her intensity but I had a feeling it was more of a nervous laugh to dispel the thought that she was going to leap out at them!  She had some excellent tracks though- full of tribal beats and vocals and the looping really does make them.  One thing I love about live performances with loopers is them setting everything up- one thing that is always missing on the cd tracks.  She didn’t play the track Sunlight as I had hoped she would but I am sure she/they will be around again soon enough.

Dirty Projectors were up next and with not knowing too many of their tunes or indeed how the band setup, I recognised the tune Two Doves by the rather lovely voiced Angel.  Just the two of them for the opener and then the rest of the band came out for the remainder of the set.

Quite a few good tunes followed but I have to say that the ones with the focal point on the  lead singer Dave Longstreth were the weaker of them and its only when the spotlight was on the girls or their harmonies that the tunes shone.    Not sure of the name of the track but the 3rd tune of the night had Amber and Haley doing some sort of syncopated singing that was just fantastic and definitely ear-grabbing. (From a comment over at OTRIan stated it was arpeggios that were being sung for this tune).

A couple of rather long tunes followed but I thought they did meander quite a bit with his vocals and the soft backing sounds from the girls.  I was quite surprised that in some of them there were jams which seemed pointless and rather than notching up the energy it only served as a reason to play simple chords louder.  After these tunes they played Stillness Is The Move and Temecula Sunrise which I did enjoy but at this stage disinterest had set in so it was difficult to keep the focus on them.   The crowd did seem to appreciate them though even it there weren’t that many people moving to the the tunes.

Another two long tunes before they finished and when they came back on for the two song encore, thankfully they played the catchy song Knotty Pine from the Dark Was The Knight compilation.  Amber really has an excellent voice so I would hope that in future albums we hear a bit more of it.

So an unbalanced night with a great set from tUnE yArDs and a so so set from the Dirty Projectors- unfortunately I have to stand by my original opinion of them and if they had been playing at Electric Picnic I certainly would have moved on.