Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Freestyle Dancing To The Smiths.

This is one of the best things I have seen on YouTube for a long time and I think very worthy of a mention. Mylia Noir a student from Berlin has recently posted some freestyle dancing videos to songs of The Smiths and Morrissey. Hopefully there will be more to come if the demand increases. A new generation of Smiths and Morrissey fans are certainly out there and I think this will help carry the torch.
This is her video for 'What Difference Does It Make' also check out her YouTube channel to see her dance routine to 'Still Ill' and 'November Spawned A Monster' all equally brilliant.


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Frank And Walters 25th Anniversary Concert At Cork's Opera House. October 25th 2014.

Paul Linehan lead vocals and bass.
One of Ireland's truly greatest bands The Frank And Walters were celebrating in style last Saturday night at home in their native Cork city. It was the band's 25th anniversary and the venue was a packed, sold out show in The Opera House located in the heart of town.
Preceding their performance tonight all four band members along with several hundred fans assembled at Grand Parade and marched to the concert venue to the sound of  The Barrack Street Band. Support onstage came from The Minutes and Rubyhorse but it was clear that everyone there just wanted to see their heroes The Franks.
Twenty five years is a long time in one's life and for many including myself there are a lot of great memories of The Frank And Walters music. I was lucky enough back in the 1990's to get promo cassette tapes of bands from record labels such as Setanta Records. I remember one time in particular receiving a floppy vinyl promo of the band back in the very early days. I also remember seeing them play support to The Wedding Present in Limerick's Savoy Theater over 20 years ago. 
Tonight was more of a reassurance of their brilliance than a trip through nostalgia as they kicked off their set with 'Tony Corcoran' and delighted the crowd again and again by playing almost everything important from their back catalogue. 'After All', 'Fashion Crisis Hit's New York', 'Colours', 'Michael', 'How Can I Exist' were just some of the highlights.  Between each song the chanting from the crowd 'we are, we are the frank and walters......' could be heard throughout the venue.
It was evident tonight that there is a huge loyal following to The Frank And Walters and probably most people assembled there have been fans from the beginning. Their music has an honesty and as much relevance to me and many others of our generation as The Smiths or The Cure or Joy Division ever had. This is a band who has survived and that's what is the most important, they never sold out to become obnoxiously overpaid rockstars but they have provided many of us with the soundtrack of our lives. May they continue to do so and we will look forward to their next album which will be a welcome release in 2015. It was a delight to see them being appreciated and celebrated in such a fine way last weekend and I will stand by my opinion that they are Ireland's greatest band.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Neil Young And Crazy Horse Live At The Marquee Cork 10/07/2014.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse

It has been a very busy few months indeed on the concert scene, so much so I have attended more shows than I have had time to blog about. One of the stand out gigs of the summer was seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse last July, this time at the Marquee in Cork. Bass player Billy Talbot and founding member of Crazy Horse unfortunately could not attend this current European tour due to health issues. Rick Rosas however, who many times toured with Neil Young on previous outings  was a well chosen replacement and Dorene Carter and YaDonna Wes were another addition on backing vocals. Ralph Molina  (drums) and Frank "Poncho" Sampredo (lead guitar) completed tonight's line up.

Drawing from an incredibly long career, the set kicked off with a rousing version of 'Love And Only Love' from the album 'Ragged Glory' released back in 1990. I often consider that album as one of their greatest moments for it's rawness and originality and one that has certainly stood the test of time. 'Days That Used To Be' another stand out song from 'Ragged Glory' was also on the set list tonight, I had not checked up previous set lists from this tour because I wanted it all to be a surprise.

Despite some negative reviews of last year's performance at the RDS in Dublin, due to sound difficulties and set list choices, Neil Young and Crazy Horse could not have disappointed  even the harshest of critics this night in Cork. A pin could be heard drop during Young's solo rendition of 'Heart Of Gold' or 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart', the sound quality impeccable.
Also a new song called 'Who's Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth' was debuted on this tour hinting at yet more new recorded material on it's way very soon, 
During a killer version of 'Rockin' In The Free World', many people in the crowd showing solidarity for Palestine held up banners with 'Please Don't Play Apartheid Israel' written clearly for the band to see.  Neil Young and Crazy Horse were due to play Tel Aviv on July 17th ( just a week after this Irish date) however it was thankfully cancelled very shortly beforehand. One would like to think that Neil Young spotted these banners in Cork that night and rightfully changed his mind.
That beautiful balmy summers night last July will stay in my mind forever, Neil Young, long may you run.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cambridge Folk Festival 2014. July 31st- August 1st. The first 2 days.

Earlier this month I had the great privilege of finally getting to one of the oldest and most renowned festivals in Britain, The Cambridge Folk Festival. This year saw the celebration of 50 years of the event which made it even all the more special. Located at Cherry Hinton Hall, this festival offers more than just music, it's a whole concept of summer celebration, family outing and appreciation of true English culture at its finest. The 14,000 strong crowd consisted of literally every age group from infants to senior citizens, just one of the unique attributes to this fest, no one is considered too young or too old to attend.
Pokey LaFarge

Thursday evening's entertainment kicked  off steadily despite the heavy rain that poured down for a short period earlier. As we entered Cherry Hinton it was as if the spirit of the crowd had pushed away the ominous clouds overhead. Pretty soon the sun was shining down again and the place was officially in festival mode. The highlight of the evening was Pokey LaFarge's performance at stage 2, his brand of old style Americana certainly lifting the spirits inside the crammed to the brim tent. He and his band would again perform on the main stage the following day to even more enthusiasm. In fact the record store at the festival completely sold out of his albums over the weekend,  such was his success. I must also mention that it was a pleasure to see such a great array of CD's and Vinyl available there for sale. I of course couldn't resist buying a bunch of albums as a memento of this mighty weekend.

Friday and the second day of the festival was a beautiful sunny day, encouraging much of the crowd to file out in their deckchairs for a long run of wonderful music. My choice of refreshment for the day was the official festival ale which flowed beautifully by the pint.
Our first band experience this day was seeing Hazmat Modine on stage 1, a group I had not heard of before but proved to be a worthwhile choice. Based in New York, their brand of music is a mix of world fusion, jazz and reggae. 'Bahamut' their 2006 released album is a very worthwhile listen to get a feel of what this band are about, I would highly recommend it.

Hazmat Modine

Fisherman's Friends from Cornwall by now a favourite choice of this festival, lined out later in the evening on stage 1 to great applause. Essentially an a cappella group, their humorous sea shanties and tales of drinking and carousing had smiles going all around, a perfect addition to the day.  

Fisherman's Friends

Richard Thompson is a man I have waited for a very  long time to see play live and today was the day. A true British songwriting legend of our time, his entirely solo acoustic set was a fine pick of some of his greatest moments from his long career. 'Down Where The Drunkards Roll', 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight', and '1952 Vincent Black Lightning' to my joy were some of the choices. Thompson's 12 string acoustic skills had a packed out audience enthralled into silence from the minute he hit the stage. On retrospect his performance was probably my favourite of the weekend.

Richard Thompson 
Sinead O Connor would be second last this evening to play at the main stage, again a highly anticipated choice by many people attending. Her voice was in perfect pitch throughout, the set included such songs from the vaults as 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and 'The Emperor's New Clothes' along with the new material.
Recently I have found a new respect for Sinead since her refusal to perform in apartheid Israel despite being offered 10 times her usual fee. 

Sinead O Connor

Afro Celt Sound System 

Afro Celt Sound System closed the night's proceedings on the main stage with a dynamically theatrical presence. Their fusion of traditional Irish with African rhythms was concieved over 20 years ago from an idea by guitarist Simon Emmerson. Their debut album 'Volume 1 Sound Magic' was released in 1996 to huge acclaim on Peter Gabriel's Real World record label. Visually their stage show is nothing short of stunning with traditional African costume and instruments. With an imaginative merging of music cultures combined, the Afro Celt's have created something certainly original. If I were to have one criticism of the band however it would be of their sometimes over use of electronic instruments. All in all though I was very pleased to have finally seen them on stage as they have been on my list for a long time.
The first 2 days of this festival had already exceeded expectations, there were 2 more days to go and it was getting better....