Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Midwinter Xmas Xtravaganza!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for our Christmas show in Dolans. We had a ball at the Midwinter Xmas Xtravaganza on the 21st. Mulled wine and mince pies aplenty, there was indeed much merriment and singing had by all!

Thanks to Peter Delaney for playing a great set, Richie and Noel of Blackwater Salmon, Daire McCoy (Mullingar's finest) and of course the Blakes of the BPLO for pitching in more than their fair share of Christmas cheer. Stealing the show on the night were the extremely tasty mince pies and mulled wine (aplenty), of course made from a top secret age-old family recipe, and many thanks to Mum and Dad for providing this crucial ingredient!

Finally I need to proffer up much respect for Colin and Paul, one half of Walter Mitty and The Realists who provided the rhythm section for The Elective Orchestra, with more or less no rehearsal. Legends. And they don't mind playing cheesy Christmas songs, which always helps.
If you'd like to read the LEG write-up, and pretty much our first full feature, you can read the MySpace blog here, and by the by, the very fancy online edition is well worth checking out if you can't get your hands on the real thing.

On Stephen's night, we played a support set to The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, our sister Limerick orchestra, and in true incestuous style swapped and shared members galore. It was another great night, also proceeded by more drinks into the wee hours. The only true piss-up this festive season, I have to admit. If bumping into the Brother's O'Suilleabhain on the Dock Road doesn't result in a party, well there's no justice in the world. Great laugh, if a little hazy!

Oh yes, and Happy New Year!! 2009, shit boys.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In ancient times . . .

I don't care if its blatently obvious what time I'm online posting blogs at. We played Stonehenge by Spinal Tap tonight. Oh so badly but we did it. Yes we did.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Being John Malkovich

Just watching it on FilmFour, I forgot what a fantastic flick it is. The real trick in all of it is that you completely forget that John Malkovich is acting in the movie, which is probably why it works so well. Of course ironically, he needed to put in a really good performance to pull it off. Irony indeed. I'm also a big fan of Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (if only for this video and tune), though Adaptation kinda rubbed me up the wrong way. Still waiting for Charlie Kaufman to top Malkovich though.

According to IMdB; John Malkovich was approached about this film several times and loved the script, but he and his production crew felt that another actor would fit the role better. Malkovich offered to help produce the film, and aid Spike Jonze in any way, but refused to star in it. Eventually after a couple of years Malkovich's will was worn down and he agreed to star in the film.

I love that his best friend is Charlie Sheen too, and the line "Lesbian witches, fucking genius".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I want . . .

to go to see Cathy Davey/Adrian Crowley/Vertigo Smyth in Dolans Warehouse. What a line-up.

But no, oh no, that'd be too much fun for Nick. I have to work instead. The goose is getting fat and all that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back to bassics with the BPLO

Threw a random Monday in Dublin into the mix this week, and made good use of it too!

Sat in on bass guitar with The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra for a Today FM live session . It'll go out tomorrow (Wed) evening on Paul McLoone's show, 7-10pm on Today FM.

The BPLO's very excellent and aptly-titled single December is available for download from I know its not exactly a wrap-able Christmas gift, but sure don't tell anyone, and just add it to the "I know I should be buying presents for other people, but I really want this for myself" Xmas shopping list.

Don't forget, Limerick folk will have two opportunites to catch the BPLO in action this holiday season. They'll be making an appearance at our Midwinter Xmas Xtravaganza this Sunday 21st Dec, Upstairs in Dolans. They also have their own show on the 26th in the same venue, at which I'll be featuring on piano. I recommend coming to both those gigs, and all the BPLO and Elective Orchestra gigs from now until the end of TIME!!

Yesterday evening I also recorded a song for Balcony TV which will be aired on January 3rd, so be sure to tune in for that! I mean log on, tune in, whatever.

A Monday well spent.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gigs: Wed 10th Dec

Went to two gigs on Wednesday. Firstly, I was glad I dragged myself off the couch to go see Shane Barry and the Distractions in Baker Place. Though the set was somewhat short - due not least to the fact that there was something like six acts on the bill for the weekly ARTiculate Sessions - they were pretty fecking good. The tunes were great, 'Stop' being the highlight of the gig. They have a cool sound going on, and their album Radio Friction isn't half bad either. Nice stuff to lift ourselves out of the dreary winter/recession/midweek blues. They should be ones to watch come next summer.

The second gig consisted of the last 15min of The Dirty Epics set in Trinity Rooms, which played to a pretty packed raucous crowd in the main club. Shouty pop not really being my thing, fifteen minutes was just about enough. Some guy being oddly insulted at my refusal for him to try on my glasses and some chick planting all six inches of her high heels into my ankle, and that was enough of that. Long live the T Rooms!!

Limerick baby fined for littering

Meant to post this a while back, just cleaning up the newspapers lying around the house.
From the front page of the Limerick Leader: Limerick baby fined for littering.
I'm sorry if this sounds bigoted or snobby or whatever, but God bless poor Chanelle - a littering fine is the least of her worries, for God's sake the 8-month-old is wearing earrings. That's pretty close to child abuse if you ask me (I'm well aware of course that no-one has). Babies are little people, not little dolls.

Ruby Sessions

Blog neglect strikes again . . . oh no!
Anyhoo, last Tues we played the Ruby Sessions, upstairs in Doyles pub opposite Trinity College in Dublin's fair city. It was a great night, always a pleasure to play the Ruby Sessions, such a nice crowd, great room and sound folk running the show.
Thanks to all our 'fans' who turned up, and bought our new EP (only available at gigs so far). Happy listening!

Next stop Dolans Upstairs on the Winter Solstice (that's the 21st on the old Gregorian)!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Last Belltable Session of 2008

Last night was the last in this years Belltable Sessions. On the bill were Richie McCoy (kindly stepping in last minute to fill the line-up after Armoured Bear unfortunately had to cancel), David Hope - the big man from Shannon, brothers O'Suilleabhain - size2shoes and Windings. photo by Alan Owens
Thanks to all who played last night and over the first six months of Belltable Sessions. We look forward to keeping the sessions going into 2009.
Check out for more info.

All in a day's work . . .

What a weekend!

Friday night was a work night. We were playing a private party in Sandyford, a seriously swanky VIP bash with posh table dressings, very tasty wine and one of the fanciest 'marquees' I've ever seen. There was ballet as the first part of the after-dinner entertainment, and then us; The Controversial Allstars. After debating exactly which Christmas songs to do, how and when, we ploughed on with our usual set of soul, blues and rock and/or roll.

Halfway through the set, it emerged that among the VIP clientele at the party was one particular VVIP, noneother than Chris De Burgh, the haughtily eyebrowed man himself! He got up to sing with us, and before I knew it, I was in cheese-covered pop ballad bliss performing Lady In Red with the One And Only. Fucking hell it was hilarious. I can check that one off the list.

You may not understand the fascination if you're not privy to certain practises among a particularly sick and twisted gang of mates who take delight in singing Lady in Red at parties and various get-togethers. I think the joy is based around finding that line of complete cheesey crap where people are looking at you thinking you're completely weird losers and the point where you can't help but roar with gay abandon "I hardly know/this beauty by my side". I like to find that line between cheese and class, and then shit all over it, if I may be so crude.

I suppose at the root of it, there's no holding down a good melody. Even if you really really should.

Now don't get me wrong, the man himself is a hairy little hobbit, and about as uncool as mouldy cheddar, but I'd love to have seen my face for the first few verses of the tune. Happy as a pig in shit, playing Lady in Red with Chris De Burgh. Oh yes.

So, for posterity, in the name of all things cheesey, for every eyebrow that's gone unnoticed, and of course lest we forget, for fathers of hot daughters everywhere, I give you Lady in Red.

*in case you were wondering, yes he even whispered the 'I love you' bit at the end. What a pro.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thomond to house old has-beens

A new nursing home is to be built on the grounds of the Thomond Park development in Limerick City, the IRFU and Limerick City Council announced today.
The news comes amid speculation that the venue owners are seeking to aid the Limerick Regeneration Programme by populating the area with retiring, aging rockers. Concert promoters Aiken are working closely with the IRFU to procure as many old-aged has-beens from the music industry as possible, to launch the project on an international scale. Booking such luminaries as Elton John and Rod Stewart to play welcome concerts during the clients "orientation week" will put Thomond Woods, the proposed retirement home, on the global map.

"I mean the old todgers already love this country, with all the hills and glades for lovely walks and whatnot," says Aiken Promotions CEO Peter Aiken. "They all think they're turning into Yeats or something when they retire here, sure Ronnie Woods is known to wander the woods of Wicklow for days on end looking for fairies."

While both Elton John, who shot to fame after inventing the piano in 1934, and Rod Stewart, who claims to have coined the phrase 'E minor" with his classic hit "Maggie May", have confirmed residencies in the nursing home, due for completion in late 2009, fellow rocker Keith Richards has also expressed interest. The Rolling Stone is even rumoured to have pledged to donate a forest of coconut trees for the grounds of the "facility". Richards' passion for the plant is well documented after it was revealed he broke a collarbone falling from a palm tree while attempting to make love to the unripened coconut fruit, two years ago in Fiji.

The management executive for the new development are quick to quell concerns of any such outlandish behaviour.

"Thomond Woods will be no different from any other private nursing home," says Dr. Rupert Skifflehorn, who is due to head up the administration as Head Warden. "We simply won't be tolerating any activity that is deemed contrary to the best interests of the clients, or is indeed illegal. Of course, some lifestyle choices will be exempted as part of the inmates flambuoyant profession," the Top Screw said, making use of the inverted commas jesture for the words 'lifestyle' and 'inmates'.

Local Fine Gael councillor Gareth O'Hooloohoolahan, was among the first to come out in support of the proposed plan. "I think its exactly what Limerick needs, and if our party was in government, it's something we would have done a long time ago."

The completed facility will have state of the art facilities including tennis courts, bowling alley, full health spa including a swimming pool, and a chapel.

Among the other stars who expressed interest in Thomond are Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, TV action legend Chuck Norris and our very own Phil Coulter, who are all nearing the diaper-wearing 'where am I?' phase of their careers, and would look to avail of the nursing home's world class health care.

One celebrity who showed little enthusiasm for the project is human-cyborg comedienne Joan Rivers, who was in Ireland promoting her "I'm A Bitch Who's Been Married Lots - It's Funny" world tour. While details of the impressive resident cosmetic surgery team appealed to the star, she confessed a distaste for the other named clients.

"Ugh, Elton John and Rod Stewart? I'd rather schmutz my own kaboose than live with them, not to mention seeing them in concert. Yeesh."

Perhaps in the case, the bitch is right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Belltable Sessions this Sunday

Howdy, been neglecting the blog a bit of late, I find I'm much better at it early in the week. I elect to do better!

Anyway, silly season has officially started, Christmas songs are officially on the setlist, and its go go go until the New Year. For starters, check out this month's Belltable Session. It's gonna be a good one!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

West Indie Hour Playlist 30 Nov

  1. Stop - Delorentos
  2. Weighted Love - Vesta Varro
  3. Sweet Kisses - Duke Special
  4. This Is What You Do - Gemma Hayes
  5. The Time Is Now - Moloko
  6. Brewing Up A Storm - The Stunning
  7. Fee Da Da Dee - The Guggenheim Grotto
  8. No Heart Today - Cathy Davey
  9. Colony - Damien Dempsey
  10. Creature Fear/Team - Bon Iver
  11. Say It To Me Now - The Swell Season
  12. Splishy Splashy - Lisa Hannigan

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gigs this week

Holy shit there's some amount of great gigs on in Limerick this week. Dolans should offer a weekly pass.

Wed - 26 Nov
Duke Special
Thurs - 27 Nov
Fri - 28 Nov
Director w/Walter Mitty & The Realists (warehouse)
Jinx Lennon (upstairs)
The Swell Season - (Daghdha Space)
Sat - 29 Nov
Vesta Varro w/Walter Mitty & The Realists (busy lads)
Ronan Stone (Bakers)
Sun - 30 Nov

Gemma Hayes w/Vertigo Smyth

Limerick Journalist Makes Dreams Come True

Monday, November 24, 2008

Classic - I told ya!

Yeah so I ended up staying up myself, and it was so worth it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Silver Streak on TV tonight!

If you're pulling a late one tonight, or perhaps ITCEC you mightn't have work in the morning, or you might be a student or an insomniac . . . even if you're none of this, you should stay up to check out this movie. Its a classic. Channel 4, 2.10am
*ITCEC - In The Current Economic Climate. I'm trying to coin the acronym.

New Advertising Low

You perhaps shouldn't watch this, because its so shockingly disgustingly horribly shit, and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. Is it any wonder Kerry's driven to drink?

West Indie Hour Playlist 23 Nov 08

  1. Running - Fred
  2. Butterfly - David Hope
  3. Light In The Dark - size2shoes
  4. Patience - Damien Dempsey
  5. Sweet Sweet Kisses - Duke Special
  6. There Is A Time - Luka Bloom
  7. Out Of Our Hands - Gemma Hayes
  8. When You're Mind's Made Up - The Swell Season
  9. Fake Empire - The National
  10. Bad Skin Day - BellX1
  11. If You Want To - Armoured Bear
  12. Lillie - Lisa Hannigan

West Limerick 102 Flag Day!

Today was a flag day for West Limerick 102FM in Newcastle West, so Caroline Cuddy and myself were wrapped up in our all-weather finest and stationed outside Dooley's Supervalu to raise a few shilings for the local radio station. When not having chats and exchanging fashion tips, it was great to meet some of the listeners face to face, it was funny to see those inquisitive faces when they asked our names, waiting to see if we looked like they thought we should. I remember when I first saw a picture of Aidan Leonard after listening to years of his breakfast show on 2FM and I was shocked, he had black hair and a moustache! You should never meet you're heroes, you'll only be disappointed.
Anyway, thanks to all who contributed and stopped to say
hello and have a bit of a chat. It was great fun! Don't forget you can always listen live at Particularly to The West Indie Hour, 7pm Sundays!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

End of week catch-up

So, on Thurs night I popped into Dolans to catch a brief look at Ham Sandwich upstairs while The Saw Doctors were driving the crowds crazy down in the Warehouse. Could here them screaming out N-17 from the smoking section upstairs! Sounded like a great laugh, but alas I'm laying relatively low these days, so no madness for Nick!
Friday was the last day of painting the bedroom (and being covered in Dulux) and after a quick band meeting, popped (again) to Dolans for the Out On A Limb 5th Birthday bash. It was cool to stay Upstairs in Dolans for a late bar with some great tunes. Caught some of Windings live, looking forward to their Belltable Sessions appearance in a couple of weeks, in fact here's the flyer:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Went to see Oliver Stone's 'W.' tonight. It wasn't nearly up to par for Oliver Stone, unusually linear and quite simply shot and put together. There was some talk that it was a bit of a rush job to have it finished before the election, and there is certainly some evidence for that. It lacked any of the pizazz you'd expect, but was however quite interesting for those behind-the-scenes war room cabinet meetings. Kind of strangely stale and flat compared to, for example, The West Wing (which I've never watched properly), but it was interesting to see those characters that caused so much shit and disaster for the world-at-large to be represented on the big screen.
Some dodgy vocal performances (okay Thandie Newton looked uncannily like Condoleezza Rice, but what's the deal with her voice?!) threatened to turn the whole thing into the pantomime, and while its quite sympathetic to Bush, it felt like it really simplified everything too much. I refuse to believe he didn't have many more people as well as Carl Rove telling him exactly how and why he was corrupting the US - his thoughts could not possibly have been as noble as 'doing the job'. The father/son thing was done better in Alexander.
Also, I kind of think Josh Brolin through no fault of his own just doesn't look dumb enough. He has too much charisma to play a convincing moron, though his efforts are pretty good. It was always something I found fascinating about Bush, just the look in his eyes bely a deeper stupidity. In fact, you can nearly see the rabbit in there working the controls.
W. isn't exactly ground-shaking Hollywood fare (this from the same man who gave us the momumental epic Any Given Sunday), but more of an interesting companion piece to a thoroughly enjoyable election season. Oh yes and a disasterous White House administration.

It was also funny how Stone and writer Stanley Weiser managed to fit in all the classic Bushisms over the course of the movie, sometimes painfully so. (Though you may miss the 'misunderestimated' one). Of course, this is why we love him.

Well Done Munster!

photo -
Well, Munster did extremely well against the All Blacks last night. Though the second half was a fairly messy affair at the best of times, and of course conceding the winning try in the last four minutes was never going to be easy, but fucking hell it was a great match. They were looking fairly shit-hot at times.
Its not very often you see both teams getting stuck in like that, and Munster really held their cool on such a momentus occasion. Very enjoyable match! And as for the army bringing the ball in by helicopter? So classy.

Thomond Park looked savage, it'll look even better when this fella's in there -
Elton John - Thomond Park June 2009

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Changeling - Snore!

Is it just me, or does this movie look really really shit? Oscar-assured performance and all . . . sounds more like TV3 "I want my baby back!" fare.

While we're on it, I wasn't overly enamoured with Million Dollar Baby, Clint's other big Oscar winner. That was quite boring also. Unforgiven and Mystic River were pretty good though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

music I'm enjoying

Very much enjoying Fred's album Go God Go. Have missed loads of chance to see them live, gonna have to make it to Dolans on 27 Nov!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

West Indie Hour Playlist 16 Nov 08

Gonna upload my playlist every week from here on.
The West Indie Hour - 7pm on West Limerick 102.
Listen live at

  1. Gobbeldigook - Sigur Ros
  2. Megaphone Man - Messiah J & The Expert
  3. Ghost For You - Doug Sheridan
  4. Heroes or Ghosts - The Coronas
  5. Come With A Friend - Director
  6. N 17 - The Saw Doctors
  7. Fee Da Da Dee - The Guggenheim Grotto
  8. Sucker Punch - Walter Mitty & The Realists
  9. Be Good or Be Gone - Fionn Regan
  10. Use Me - Ronan Stone
  11. Lump Sum - Bon Iver
  12. Pyre - The Driftwood Manor
  13. Blue Shoes - Colm Mac Con Iomaire
  14. All I Want - The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday: Out of Nowhere

Got a last minute call to play a support slot to Paul Heaton (of Beautiful South fame) in Dolans. Sure beats painting the bedroom!
So chuffed that I ended up having something to do of a shitty November Friday night, I then went to see Messiah J & The Expert in The Trinity Rooms, and they were absolutely savage. Put on a kick-ass show, even at the start when the crowd was lacking, completely owned it.
Don't want to do a whole "Irish rap/hip-hop" thing, so won't say any more, but you may be hearing from me again on the MJEX subject, I think they're fucking ace!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bakers Tonight

I'm playing a solo set at the ARTiculate Sessions tonight in Bakers.
Gonna try one or two new tunes, and the usual loop magic and instrument hopping.
Hope to see u there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Herbie Hancock

Last minute jaunt down to Cork to catch Herbie Hancock in the Savoy. He's an absolute legend. Great band, great tunes, great jamming. I WANT one of those keyboard guitars or keytars!I only know the Headhunters album really well and his latest album of Joni Mitchell covers is straight-to-the-restaurant-playlist type stuff, but fucking hell when he plays a powerful solo piano improv with some major dramatics, and after rapturous applause simply drops into Canteloupe, you know you're in the prescence of a master. And so fucking cool.
Should also be noted, as the main man noted in his introduction - he's not used to introducing harmonica players - but just at the start of the solo, I was thinking to myself, harmonica? there's not much that can be done on a harmonica. Yeah, that was funny cause the harmonica dude was savage.

**rant warning** - the only complaint was these two old bags who came in about twenty minutes into the gig, pushed their way by me into a space that wasn't there, and one of them proceeded to close her eyes and girate her hips, rocking all over the place like, well, a spas. we were standing very close to the front, and this stupid bitch was making a right tit of herself. I mean I know you're old (mid 50's) and you like jazz but that doesn't give you free rein to act like a complete tosser. she tried to clap along to a tune that Herbie introduced as having seventeen beats in the bar, and was flopping around like she was trying to relive some long lost student days or something. I was thinking at the time, the only way you could be excused for that kind of shit is if you were on acid, and the wonderful prospect of being on acid at a Herbie Hancock gig notwithstanding, it was too depressing to think that she was tripping. at her age, it was just too pathetic, pissed me off no end. AND to boot, her hippie friend at one point stepped directly in front of me completely blocking my view, leaning her head in and peering around, as if there was something more to see. unbelievable idiots.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Belltable Session Tonight

The Driftwood Manor
Brendan Markham
Audrey Ryan
Seamus Fogarty

Doors 8pm, first act 8.3o.
Tickets €10

See u there!

Fleet Foxes (2 of 2): Dublin

Training it to Dublin, just not arsed to drive this time, roll on Iarnrod Eireann!
Did The Irish Times crossword in about 20 min apart from the one clue ["Of spherical, with flattened top and bottom" 6 letters, do you know it?] and was pretty chuffed with myself. I don't time myself or anything, and I'm not sure if that's good, but I was surprised to get so much done having only started it after Kildare.
A quick stroll around town, the obligatory look into Music Maker and Tower Records, a pint in the Shebeen Chic, then Enchiladas and Margaritas in Acapulco on George's Street - yum!
I was more or less keeping my mouth shut when people asked me about the London gig before we saw them in Vicar St, didn't want to pre-empt or spoil anything around the dodgy banter talk. Apparently it wasn't an issue for my mates anyway. In fairness, how could it ever be, playing to a Dublin crowd in Vicar St? They were even better than Shepherds Bush in my opinion, and Robin Pecknold going solo unplugged was pretty cool.
Ironically, I feel have to take responsibility for some of the strange but funny 'Obama being part Enya' talk. I was talking to Robin outside before the gig and we were chatting about London's gig, and I mentioned that they were talking quite a lot of politics. I then pointed out that Barack Obama has family in Moneygall. In fact I think I may have edged closer to claiming that he was Irish. They ran with it onstage, and it turned out being pretty funny, but I couldn't help feeling that I may have added fuel to the strange banter fire. No-one else really seemed too perturbed by it, so that was good.
All in all their music is amazing, and I would go to see them live again. It's strange to say, but they could probably do with taking themselves a little bit more seriously, I think their live shows would be all the more special with a bit of drama rather than chitchat. That said, twice in one week and still hooked.
[Of spherical, with flattened top and bottom - Oblate]

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fleet Foxes (1 of 2): London

Had a great day in London yesterday. Had bacon and eggs in a neat little 'Caf' down the road in Clapham. They had a picture on the wall of the titular dude from The Mummy movies, eating bacon and eggs I suspect. Waited for a bus for about ten minutes only to discover I was on the wrong side of the road. Got the tube up to Camden and strolled around, not in the mood (or the pocket) for shopping, even when the dude selling bowler hats dropped his price considerably when I walked away - sometimes you just couldn't be arsed haggling, or shopping.
Made it back to the gaff with enough time to hook up with Dave, get a few beers in and head to Shepherds Bush for pre-gig pints. Met Paula and had some good eats in a really cool pub across the green, then into the gig!
photo from
It was a bit of a funny gig, I think mainly because it was in a huge theatre and we were seated up on the second circle. We did sit at the front row, and as Dave put it, it was like peeking over a wall to look down at the gig. After being utterly bored by J Tillman, and dismayed that we weren't allowed outside for a smoke until after Fleet Foxes went on stage (which basically meant no smokes), we had a few pints in the bar while a nice Aussie couple promised to keep our seats (and some other wanker beside me said he 'couldn't promise anything').

The gig was quite excellent, really cool to see them live at last. Of course they didn't disappoint, particularly enjoyed Sun It Rises straight into Ragged Wood. Top class versions of Quiet Houses, He Doesn't Know Why and haunting Heard Them Stirring keeping attention in the auditorium. Mykonos and English House from the previous EP also impressed. There was even a mention of the quite disastrous version of White Winter Hymnal on Jools Holland the night before, which was funny. Lead singer Robin Pecknold claimed that it was his fault and he 'fucked it up', but there were no such problems tonight, a spine-tingling performance.

I suppose the thing that jarred me was the banter with the crowd. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but to put it simply, it wasn't the kind of chat I expected from the band, considering the type of music they make. Admittedly it was quite a momentous day, and plenty of talk about Obama and 'hot' Sarah Palin were entertaining, but just didn't fit the music they were playing. There was something odd and unsettling about performing a soft and haunting folk tune such as Heard Them Stirring and immediately proceeding to stand around the stage with a kind of cabaret style banter. Not once did they think to enlighten us as to what the songs were about, not even the sniff of an amusing anecdote, more in line with 'so what's your guy like?' in reference to Gordon Brown. It was one stray comment away from 'So, how about that Man United team, huh?'

It's a strange complaint, but the music is still top notch. It just tainted the experience somewhat. I reckon I was right to have avoided YouTube clips or interviews. At least I'll always have that album to lock away with headphones on. Won't be rushing out to buy Fleet Foxes Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins

I stayed up as late as I could, saw McCain's concession speech, and somehow dozed off for Obama's victory speech, but the result was in. I think it's fecking great anyway. Was fairly nauseated by some of the early early election coverage, but of course I got quite into it. I watched all the debates, including the VP debate with that fucking clown Sarah Palin, and I really do believe Obama/Biden was a much better ticket.

Did you see the fancy-ass touch screen that CNN had to analyse some of the 'data'? And the dude from Black Eyed Peas being interviewed via Hologram?! Fucking hell Minority Report here we go. It was like
"Look at us, first; kick ass futuristic touch screen and hologram 3D imaging, next; elect black president."
It'll be self-drying jackets and hoverboards before we know it.
point of order - I remember clearly in 6th class ca. 1993 everyone was talking about how hoverboards were real and the only reason we hadn't seen them because a 'parents group' in the States had banned them. I remember I was the only kid in my class who knew that story was bullshit and they couldn't possibly exist, and I was ridiculed for my wisdom. Oh what a tortured childhood I had.

- So, where were you when Barack Obama was elected the first Black President of the USA?
- I was baked on Demery's sofa-bed in London

It's probably the best of the 'Where were you when X happened?' moments in my lifetime so far, the other two being Lady Di's death (yeah I know) and 9/11. Though I do remember seeing the first tower fall, in a crowd watching SkyNews in the window of a stockbrokers on Dawson St. Then the student bar in UCD waiting for World War III to start.
I'll take Obama anyday

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off we go!

Going to London tomorrow to see Fleet Foxes on Wed. Very excited! Also seeing them again in Dublin on Friday, also excited.
Just realised that I don't know anything about them, what they look like, haven't heard any interviews or watched any YouTube ckips or anything. I think the album is too good and I don't want to spoil it, in a strange kind of way. Know what I mean?
Gonna stay with my mate Demo (no its not some strange indie nickname, he's nothing to do with music) and probably going to drink plenty of beers and walk lots, and look very confident and natural when using the Tube. Just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and feeling inspired!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween=Scary! (as it should be)

As usual, I wait until the last minute to get all excited about the scariness of Halloween! Wooooo!
Spent a fortune (in pound shop or '€2 shop' terms) on last minute costumes, had a few mojitos and went down to Red Cross Hall to see 3epkano performing a live original soundtrack to The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari! Scary!

[3epkano's soundtrack was so much better than that shite]
It was really cool gig/film, and SCARY!! There was even a jump in it!
The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari is credited with being the first horror movie, and I even read a YouTube comment that said it was the first movie to feature "a twist at the end, like Fight Club" - yes, exactly like Fight Club you moron. (YouTube comments are the grazing ground for some real idio
Its my second time seeing
3epkano soundtrack a film, the first being Metropolis in the Dublin Film Festival last year, and that was fucking amazing.
ropolis is credited with being the first science fiction movie, as well as having some pretty cool concepts of the future and touching on some fairly crazy issues, for example, the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism (Wikipedia)
3epkano's Metropolis was one of the best cinema experiences and one of the best gig experiences I've ever had. Powerful stuff. So, much kudos to 3epkano! You should have a listen to their MySpace. I'd love to give it a go sometime - soundtracking silent film that is. Looks like fun.
Of course, after that highly cultural and enjoyable experience, we ended up getting fairly tanked in Mickey's (at one point I was taking a piss with The Phantom of the Opera and an eerily detailed Adolf Hitler on either side of me at the urinal). Back for more mojitos, cigars and late night begrudgery.
A fine All Hallows Eve.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ricky Gervais: give him a chance

Ricky Gervais: when he's talking to a bunch of menopausal wagons - not so funny. Fix him up with a couple of Irish gays - funny.

Ricky Gervais: One Trick Pony

Ricky Gervais on ITV's Loose Women? Just watched the repeat after the pub. I swear, he's a one trick pony, it's not that funny, and he knows it. Waiting to embed the YouTube clip and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rounding off the weekend

Went to see Milosh and Chequerboard in Red Cross Hall tonight. It was certainly a lovely way to round off the weekend, and its looking like Red Cross Hall is gonna work out as a sweet new venue for all sorts!

Nice to have a pint with the gang after, get the politically correct lowdown on Toronto vs Vancouver and walk home. Lovely lovely.

Friday, October 24, 2008

DEAF 08 - Nurse with Wound

Went to the first night of DEAF tonight in Andrew's Lane Theatre. Had some confusion figuring out who exactly was onstage and what exactly we were supposed to be listening to when it was just some dude with two massive amps playing the same three chords on his guitar over and over. Oh wait, it was art I think. Soundart, the worst kind of art.

Nurse with Wound however wer
e pretty cool.
Apparently they've been around since the Seventies, and I guess the auld lads just command a bit more respect for it. Particularly when they lash into 'My Lovely Horse' out of nowhere (obviously that's going to go down well with this particular blogger), and proceed into what we were told was a "rock'n'roll jam".
I suppose you don't have to understand it all or be able to relate to it, or however you want to describe that relationship that a listener has with a piece of music, to enjoy it. And when the dudes onstage are so clearly making these sounds for their own enjoyment, without conceit or posturing, well it makes it even easier to enjoy. Throw in a bit of Father Ted and I'm in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two songs

Its amazing when you hear a song for the first time and you instantly think 'yes'. Something clicks and you know you're going to keep coming back to it, its like making a new friend!
(That's enough of that talk now)
Anyway, today's song is 'Lump Sum' on For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver.

Meanwhile the love affair continues with 'Ragged Wood' by Fleet Foxes . . .

Pivot/Halfset: Whelans

Up in the big smoke for a couple of days, popped into Whelans to see Pivot: ('Sigur Ros' favourite Aussie band'), who I have to say were at times pretty savage and at others pretty bewildering - in fact just as I write, suspicions are confirmed; their music is much more of a headphone-friendly affair than it plays live. Check it out

Halfset, however, impressed nicely with their support set. Look forward to listening to more of their new album and catching the full live show at some point - with harp and all apparently! 'Riversong' from their previous album Dramanalog is a favourite - listen to it here (

Monday, October 20, 2008

Albums I'm enjoying . . .

Lisa Hannigan - 'Sea Sew'

Last night I stood in on keyboard for the BPLO! It was great fun, I'm a big fan of the tunes, and felt very welcome as a keyboard deputy. But my God, could I have picked a quieter/more exposed first gig to join them on?! It was on in Limerick City Art Gallery and while the surroundings were gorgeous, it was one of those Belltable Sessions type intimate gigs, with the audience all ears! Eek!
As soon as I put on my piano necktie, though, it was all gravy.

Mugatu - invented the piano necktie

I wasn't well

My God I was very sick this week. Amid a lot of speculation, I was reminded that when we first boarded the plane back from Cuba, the air con wasn't working and it was honestly around 25 degrees celsius for the first 45 min of the flight. Perfect viral flu incubation temperatures. Presumably, 'cos that's what happened to me. Thanks Virgin Atlantic!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Universally Challenged

Time for my weekly fix of Monday night 'feel stupid' TV - University Challenge!

We used to have a dog, Bud, who would bark every time one of the teams buzzed as it sounded very similar to our doorbell. I loved that dog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

best trailer ever?

he's nothing if his timing isn't good (oliver stone that is)

god i hate the man . . . but if a good movie (and the new realisation of a savage tune) can't make him look sexy . . .

Best Trailer Ever?

This from the man who played the older brother to Sean Astin (aka Samwise Gamgee) in The Goonies?

"I'm gonna hit you so hard when you wake up your clothes are gonna be out of style."
Hollywood is nothing if not poetically just.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

B & The Honeyboys

Just in the door from another crackin' gig with bluesy rockers B & The Honeyboys in Baker Place!
Its great to get to jam it out on the keys, with such a great band, and original music to boot!
Be sure to check out their MySpace, and they have a nice set of gigs coming up to catch them live. Its well worth checking out!

Cuba - Holy Shit Wow!

Well, we had our two weeks in Cuba and holy shit it was fantastic. What a place! The music, the history, the buildings, the old cars, the cigars, the rum, the music (deserving at least another mention), the heat, the food . . . unbelieveable.

Cuban music is so much a part of the culture and everyday life, and fucking hell its all the better for it. I have to say, it really made me think about what playing music means to me. The auld lads playing savage tunes in every bar, restaurant, cafe, street corner (see dancing lady below) - its so cool, and the some amazing musicians. One Sunday afternoon in the Casa Del A Trova (like an arts house/music venue) there was a 'troubadour' lady singing with probably the best guitarist I've ever seen playing live. I was kind of caught off guard by them, they were outstanding and one or two songs were really moving - powerful I suppose. Like Hannah said, someone like Jools Holland would just pick up this lady and have her on his show, and that would be that. This is all on a quiet Sunday afternoon in Santiago de Cuba.My rucksack was bursting at the seams with bottles of rum and a couple of boxes of cigars on the flight home. I seemed to get through the mojitos at a much faster pace than the girls, dunno why probably just cos they're tasty out! Cohibas are definitely the best cigars, but you can get some equally fine brands for a bit cheaper, and if you're lucky can score a nice handy box for next to nothing. I think the trip may have started a lifelong obsession! Great - the last thing I need is another vice!

I suppose I'd have to mention the whole ideology of the Revolution and Cuban politics. I didn't realise how much of it was down old Che; the fact that he was Minister for Industry and president of the first Cuban National Bank, and so on. The ideology of the Revolution and in particular Che's "New Man" is particularly interesting, maybe even more so for "New Ireland" who in my opinion could do with a little less concern with material things. At the risk of sounding preachy or indeed hypocritical, I think happiness is more to do with health and culture than obnoxious 99 inch TV screens and urban SUVs

The suspicious sloganeering and some reports of general unhappiness with the government- mainly still stemming from the difficult 'Special Period' in the 90's after USSR's collapse - doesn't really detract from fact that the Revolution as an idea is extremely interesting. Communist Cuba as an idea is alive and well. If Westernisation and Capitalism does eventually find Cuba, and unfortunately its probably only a matter of time, well still, it'll be a sad day.

I can't wait to go back - the idea to just hop on a plane and half a day later be sitting in 30 degree heats drinking mojitos smoking cigars and listening to great music. Fuck yeah.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


So I'm kinda new to blogging, but so far I like what I see! There sure is a lot of stuff on that old internet there, makes the old noggin spin!

My band played the Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin last weekend, and met some cool people from you know, the biz. I really didn't realise the extent that people are involved in music, from every aspect, and how much blogging was a part of it. Also random shit like this:
pinched from the Planetary blog

Anyway, just wanted to say hi to anyone who we may have met at HWCH, it was a great spot to meet people and hear some great Irish bands. We could get used to that type of thing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

RTE: wtf?!

Just enjoying Kill Bill Vol II on RTE2, in the kind of way that you enjoy a second viewing of a movie on TV where you weren't particularly enamoured with paying the €8 (+double that on popcorn and drink) in the cinema for the initial experience. Its really quite good. I love the stop/start action to it, particularly the very cool girl on girl trailer fight scene.

When all of sudden, WHAT THE FUCK - back to Kill Bill in 30 min after the news update, and bullshit news report of Willie O'Dea punching/not punching some skanger in Limerick (and I'm from Limerick so I know one when I see one!)

I really thought RTE had grown out of this shit. For fuck's sake if Tarantino deliberated and saw fit to split the Kill Bill story into two parts, who is the RTE equivalent who sought to put the bloody news right in the middle. The pacing is delicate enough in Tarantino's last rateable film - Deathproof being an unmitigated bucket of shit.

Pisses me off. I'm off to practise the five point palm exploding heart technique.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Carswell's are moving up!

Great news!

I was egosurfing the other day and discovered a new relative!

She's Pastor Lawanda Carswell from Macon, Georgia in the
big US and A and guess what, "God has gifted her with tongues of fire and execution."

Delighted to know there's a Carswell spreading the Good word (or is it good Word, the whole religious capitalisation thing confuses me). Clearly the family resemblence is uncanny!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Waking Life

I suppose its fitting. I wanted to recommend a movie, so sat in front of the DVD collection to see what I could whole-heartedly stand beside as a great movie. My hand flinched to The Dude a few times, you know, some White-Russian-drinking bowling shenanigans, rugs really tying the room together and all that stuff. Of course classic and brilliant.

But then I spotted Richard Linklater's Waking Life. Good old RTE, it was another sterling choice random viewing, probably in the small hours of RTE2's stoner programming. But it made quite an impact at the time, and made it into the DVD library.
Its fitting because my first movie recommendation is about as far as a regular movie as you may be accustomed to. In fact, it can really only be put into the sub-set of a 'film'.
If you've ever wondered:
how you know you're not dreaming right now?
how can any of the choices you make actually make any difference in the world?does anyone else ever think some of the fucked up things that have ran through your head?
what the hell is it all about anyway?

I hope that clears it up anyway! Just watch the movie . . . er, film. Highly recommended. The soundtrack is also amazing.

[Waking Life, written and directed by Richard Linklater 2001]