Tuesday 9 December 2014

Happy Holidays

Men, Women and Children

Don't mind Donald Clarke's silly review of Jason Reitman's  Men, Women and Children in The Oirish Tomes. It's a well worth seeing treatment of the impact of contemporary tech on contemporary lives.


Sunday 16 November 2014

Susan Sontag: A Biography by Daniel Schreiber

My review of Daniel Schreiber's 'Susan Sontag: A Biography' was in The Sunday Independent, last Sunday. Longer essay style review to follow in next month's Dublin Review of Books.


Tuesday 23 September 2014

Popular Problems by Leonard Cohen

The new Leonard Cohen album, Popular Problems, now that I like. It ain't available free on iTunes, but still worth getting your hands on. Thanks to my man at Sony, Darren Reinhardt, for sending it on, along with the two new Hendrix legacy reissues, The Cry Of Love and Rainbow Bridge.


Sunday 21 September 2014

Songs Of Innocence

So I finally worked up the courage to listen to that new album 

U2 so kindly gave me for free. It's not very good, is it? I mean, 

some bits of some songs are ok, but there aren't any actual 

songs on it as such. And that took five years? Over produced 

to hell as well, as far as i can tell from the shitty digital sound. 

thought of Neil Young's lines, from 'Crime In The City':

The artist looked at the producer

The producer sat back

He said, What we have got here

Is a perfect track

But we don't have a vocal

And we don't have a song

If we could get these things accomplished

Nothin' else could go wrong.

So he balanced the ashtray

As he picked up the phone

And said, Send me a songwriter

Who's drifted far from home

And make sure that he's hungry

Make sure he's alone

Send me a cheeseburger

And a new Rolling Stone.


Good non-review in The Quietus:

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Human Capital

"You gambled on the downfall of this country. You won."

I caught this morning at a press show a new Italian film, 'Human Capital'. A nice slice of contemporary Italian life, with a multiple p.o.v. structure. Apart from anything else, so good to hear the language spoken again, starved of it as I am when I'm not there.


Sunday 14 September 2014

Dublin AfroBeat Ensemble - The Sugar Club, Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Dublin AfroBeat Ensemble performing at The Sugar Club last Saturday, September 6th, after a showing of the excellent new documentary on Fela Kuti, Finding Fela. With Gary McMahon...

Saturday 30 August 2014

Steve Earle, National Concert Hall, Wednesday July 27th

Steve Earle solo at The National Concert Hall, last Wednesday night. Photo opportunities were limited. Could I just say that, aside from classical concerts (which I don’t attend very often) the NCH must be one of the worst venues in Dublin, for any other genre of music, and especially for ‘rock’n’roll’. Between the photo police, and the drink police, and the general sterile, air-sucked-out-of-it atmosphere, it’s a less than ideal place for laying a groove down, or enjoying it. That said, Steve played well, and I dare say everyone went home happy. Oh, and it seems he’s getting divorced – again!

Monday 11 August 2014

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino at The Button Factory, August 11th, 2014

From Salento, in Puglia, the very heel of Italy, one of my favourite places in the world. A fantastic night, their music a mix of all the influences you find in Puglia: Arabic drones and percussion, Greek buzuki melodies, Italian romantic ballad. Brilliant musicians, the night culminated in a stage invasion by Dublin-resident Puglinese dancing girls, and two spontaneous encores (after the one official encore). Like many traditional and folk musics, much of this material has its origins in healing rituals and dance. If you're anywhere near Kilkenny, catch them at the Arts Festival there tomorrow night.

Mick Turner at Whelan's, Friday, August 8th.

Mick Turner doing a set without his friends in The Dirty Three, Warren Ellis and Jim White. Colourful and inventive, even if you miss the bottom end.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Bombino, Twister Pepper, Thursday, July 17th, 2014

This was, simply, one of the best gigs I've been to in a long time. Imagine a younger, faster, more energetic Tinariwen, and you've got Bombino. I danced all night at the front of the stage. The guy is a virtuoso, and his backing band are cracking, and they were all so into it. I hear hints of Hendrix, shades of Santana. I love the way the instrumental breaks just increase the tempo. Go, Bombino!

PS Cool support from Ben Prevo and his band.

PPS Yes, the Mauritanian bass player is wearing gloves. Roy Wood of Wizard, eat your heart out.

Cat Power, Olympia, Wednesday July 16th, 2014

Cat Power at The Olmypia last Wednesday. No one could deny that Chan Marshall is talented, and I like her records, but she just wound up irritating me during this show. She kept apologising for everything, complaining about technical difficulties, complaining about the sound being too bright, complaining about her wet hair in her face. The last time I saw her, in the old Tripod during the torn for The Greatest, she was with a band. This time she was solo. In my opinion, she benefits from the discipline of group playing. Usually when you say someone played for over two and a half hours, it's a positive statement, full of appreciation and approval. But here she just wore out her welcome, and everything started to sound to same after a while, with little light or shade or colour. Granted, it was a hot night, and the theatre was an uncomfortable place to be (a little more space between rows of seats would be greatly appreciated, Olympia management). But she didn't have to add to it by being so uncomfortable on stage. I left before the end. I'll stick with the records and CDs in future.

One crappy photo of Cat, as I forgot my camera at home:

Saturday 12 July 2014

Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Marquee, Cork, July 10th 2014

Setlist of Neil Young and Crazy Horse at The Marquee, Cork, last night. Strange gig, as it started off in full flight Crazy Horse garage rock fashion, but morphed into something more varied, as some of the folky and country stuff was included, with even a three song solo acoustic interlude in the middle. I was left wondering if this was a concession to the presence of Rick Rolas on bass, standing in for Billy Talbot, who is recovering from a stroke. Some of the choices seemed like songs Rolas would be more likely to know and feel comfortable playing. Or maybe this speculation isn't the reason for the eclectic nature of the show at all. Maybe Neil feels he should give the punters a bit more of what (some of them) want, after some hostile reaction to last year's Crazy Horse tour. Or maybe not even that. Frank Sampadero confined to rhythm duties for most of the night, with Neil taking almost all lead lines.

Love and only love
Going home
Days that used to be
After the goldrush
Love to burn
Separate ways
Only love can break your heart
Don't cry no tears
Blow in' in the wind
Red Sun
Heart of gold
Psychedelic Pill
Rockin in the free world
Who's gonna stand up for mother earth?


Roll another number for the road

And a selection of photos of varying quality: