Archive for the ‘Gigs’ Category

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Three Nights Of Sonic Bliss

October 28, 2009

One for the better late than never category…just a quick summary of groups over three nights a couple of weeks back.

First night: The Lower Deck
Slurps– A band right off the blocks and unfortunately it shows- the drummer tended to follow others timekeeping and lead vocals need some work.  They do have some good tunes but they really need a lot of practice playing together before they sound cohesive enough.

Bats– Bloody excellent again!  There really is such a great buzz from this group and so much better when you’re up close and can feel every note.  Even if all the band members not feeling great they worked through it and am sure these guys will be hitting bigger venues soon.

Upsilon Acrux– I would like to be able to comment on them but since The Lower Deck operates on a time zone outside of GMT they were only coming on after 11 and I had to leg it for the bus.  The 2 min soundcheck I heard sounded good and I heard good reports back!

Second night:  Twisted Pepper
Belljar– Some very good tunes with a shoegaze post-rock vibe and ones to catch if you can.

Butterfly Explosion– great tunes as always!  Some really strong post-rock numbers and an excellent vibe.  If I had to nitpick anything sometimes the lead vocals are a bit weak depending on the tune but on others damn fine.  Change of lineup over the last few years but they are all on form and I’m expecting some very good things indeed with their new album which will be coming out next year.

Third Night:  Whelans
C!ties– Wow! Very young guys but some damn fine post-rock tunes!  Everything hits the nail on the head- guitars and drums superb and a great performance.  Can’t wait to catch these guys again but to help with the wait, they have their ep as a free download on their MySpace site so make sure you snag it!

Enemies– First time catching yet another good group from Richter Collective.  Pretty damn fine post-rock tunes and great syncopation work drums and even guitars.  Another one to catch again!

ASIWYFA– Woo hoo- these guys do not know the meaning of subtle!  Slamming instrumentation for an in your face sound from the word go!  Post-rock at its finest and even though these guys tour like there is no tomorrow the energy they have on stage is astounding.  Especially love the tunes from their yet-to-be-released ep- S Is For Salamander and D Is For Django The Bastard are ones to listen out for!  Only downside of set, besides the fact it had to end, was a new tune Coming Through The Sun Without A Scratch which sounded a bit light for them.

Overall was a great three nights- of all the tunes that are currently available, I will stick up one of C!ties tunes for your listening pleasure!

C!ties- 15728

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HEALTH- The Village Oct 09

October 7, 2009

Night started with a bit of irony when I got a text from a friend to say that she wouldn’t make it to HEALTH since she was sick.  Turned out to be a great night though so irony aside it was a shame she missed them!

Arrived in time for some of the tunes from Irish lads Wounds and they had a some good ones with a hardcore edge.  Sometimes they were a bit theatrical with the two guitarists actually performing on the floor in front of the stage but it was good to see their youthful zeal by asking the crowd to hold one of them aloft for their last tune.  Good vibe though and I hope to see a full set from them at some stage.

Picture Plane was up next and what started fairly promising with a loop and some singing from him turned into a rather average performance of dance tunes.  It actually became unbearably boring at one stage so for the first time in a long time I actually went outside for a smoke…and I don’t smoke.  The upside being that I ran into a friend and friends of the sick friend so at least I have him to thank for that.

HEALTH were finally up and fuck me they might not be healthy for your hearing but damn did they get the heart racing!  Good to see that some of the gig goers had earplugs- while it’s too late for me I am certainly now a campaigner on protecting your hearing so for a group like HEALTH plugs are a must.

The stage setup was quite interesting with having a synth in front of each of the three guitarists on the floor so they could literally get down to business and hammer out some electro bliss and the lead also had quite a few pedals by him which he deftly used during the tunes.  What got my attention most of course was the extra drum in front so they could add some beats- really think it adds so much to the vibe of a live performance when any extra percussion is used.

They only played for about 45 mins but it was a blistering set with barely a break in between tunes- and I think they only had the break so that the drums heads could be tightened after the banging from the savage drummer!  The crowd were really into the vibe which was great to see and while I couldn’t differentiate between all of their tunes the easily recognisable Die Slow, Death +, Before Tigers and We Are Water were there along with most if not all of the new album Get Color.

Of them all I think We Are Water encapsulates their sound best…

We Are Water

Whether or not these are your type of tunes or not, these boys are talented and know how to put on a performance.  Definitely one to catch if you can!

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Local Natives- Academy2 Sept 09

October 7, 2009

I had only come across Local Natives the weekend before the gig so thankfully had checked MySpace to see that they were going to be playing Dublin in the next few days!  Luckily there were still tickets left for their gig but unfortunately it was in Academy2 which doesn’t have the best sound for multifaceted bands like this seeing how its setup mostly for electronic artists.

Good crowd when I arrived and caught a couple of tunes from the first support The Shoos– not much really to be said except that they are radio friendly.

A surprise was in store when the Funeral Suits came on- pretty much the same set they had the last time I saw them but it was good to hear them again.  As with the first time- its the tunes with the keyboard that really standout and the ones without are good but not spectacular.  Still looking forward to some new tunes by them.

Was surprised as well to hear Wintersleep on during the intermissions- always a good sign I think when the soundguy chooses some good tunes.  Another group to catch if you can…although I won’t be shelling out the money to see them as support for Editors.

Local Natives were up and what I liked from the start was the two drummer setup- one guy fulltime at the back on a full kit and a drum with cymbal setup at the front next to the keyboardist-sweet!  I always think that extra percussion can really make a live performance so much better and it was definitely the case here- they played a relatively short set of ten tunes but what tunes they were!

Not every one hit the spot but there were enough in there to showcase their harmonies, excellent percussion and an overall great vibe.  Highlights for me were Cards & Quarters, Wide, Stranger, and the crowd pleaser Airplane.  Above all though, Sun Hands was the standout and a great tune to end the gig with!    No encore and unfortunately I was too slow to get an EP as they sold out rather quickly- had a chat with them instead and their album will be released in Europe at the end of the month.  They are really sound guys and are definitely  a group to catch if you can!  Somehow I think we will be hearing a lot more about them in the months to come and seeing them back in Dublin fairly soon.

Full set list:

World
Camera
Warning Sign
Cards & Quarters
Wide
Cubism
Stranger
Airplanes
Who Knows
Sun Hands

As I don’t have the EP, have a listen to Sun Hands from the excellent Aquarium Drunkard session.

Sun Hands

Knut,

Yeah I can contact them- will have a look at their various sites to see who is best to contact.  Loney Dear might recognize my pic on MySpace which could be a good/bad thing after all the mails I sent asking them about their tours!  Wasn’t into them until I saw them live & they definitely had my attention then!  Will have a look at the form letter but may have to stray a bit since we will be suggesting they do the work together and won’t necessarily be picking their own collaborators.  Know they are touring with Asobi Seksu but don’t think they have the right sound for this- saw them live in Feb and more shoegaze…very loud as well since it was one of the bands around the time my tinnitus started!

Will look at contacts anyway this eve.

Tim

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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!