Glen Hansard – Vicar Street 18/12/12

Tonight I was at Glen Hansard in Vicar Street. Tickets were €30.00 (including booking fee). He played two nights in a row, both of which were sold out.

The support on the night came from ‘Seti The First’. As support acts go they were quite a strange choice.  There was no singing at all just the use of various instruments ranging from the cello to the drums. They were undoubtedly a very talented group but maybe not the best choice for a night like this as the crowd was pretty bored throughout. If they were playing to a different crowd maybe they would have received a better reaction but tonight they just fell flat.

Before I go any further I should make it clear that I am a huge Glen Hansard fan and I have been for years.  I managed to sneak into one of The Frames concerts in Carlow when I was about 16 (sorry about that lads) and have been obsessed with everything to do with them since.

This gig was the last night of a seven-month trip around Europe, some people may presume that the set would be routine with the band just happy to be home. When Glen Hansard is involved routine is never to be expected.

The night started off strong with songs from his new solo album ‘Rhythm and Repose’ which sound just as good live as they are on the album. With 12 people on stage divided between strings, brass percussion and keys the sound could not have been better. All of ‘The Frames’ are part of the 12 so the crowd expected a lot.

It wasn’t long before Mr. Hansard started with his anecdotes, something he has become famous for over the years. His story introducing the song ‘Philander’(video below) had the crowd giggling away like kids as he describes it as being “about the girl you discovered ‘your bits’ with”. ‘Love Don’t leave Me Waiting” is next up, the crowd goes crazy for the rendition of the Aretha Franklin hit RESPECT which is added in at the end. The first song not from the album was ‘Seven Day Mile’ (a personal favourite of mine).

The set carries on with Hansard telling the crowd how himself and his best friend Mic Cristopher used to sit in their flat and drink while listening to ‘Van Morrison’ and ‘The Doors’. We are treated to a Van Morison cover which included the ‘Pearl Jam’ song “Smile” as an outro. Being a huge Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder fan this was a huge treat.

I won’t go through every song in the set list (which can be seen below) individually as I would be here forever!

The night was special on more than one level. In the crowd were previous teachers from Hansard’s short time in Holy Spirit Ballymun Secondary School. After a brief conversation with a previous teacher he launched into ‘High Hope’.

Towards the end of the set all of ‘The Frames’ were on stage together and they set into fan favourites ‘Revelate’, ‘Star Star’ and ‘Pavement Tune’.

After returning to the stage for their encore Glen Hansard invites on his niece Amy to sing “The Gift” with him which was very impressive! Being the last night he made a sneaky request for a few pints to be brought on stage. After a tribute to Levon Helm of ‘The Band’ where they played Marvin Gaye ‘Baby Don’t Go’ the pints arrived and vanished down their necks just as quick! Seven months in the road obviously creates quite a thirst!

The fantastic Lisa Hannigan is invited on stage and accompanies Glen on the Academy Award Winning song ‘Falling Slowly’ much to the crowds delight.

In a touching tribute he dedicated ‘Fitzcaraldo’ to his old principle that gave him unprecedented support when he was in Holy Spirit School.

This was the official end to the set. In typical Glen Hansard fashion he decides to “have some fun”. With the set entering into its third hour (Springsteen eat your heart out) violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire impresses the audience and band members with a solo piece and a recitation of Irish folk song ‘Spencer The Rover’. After paying tribute to Mic Christopher by singing ‘SkyLarkin’ the unique Liam O Maonlaoi saunters on stage and gives a beautiful rendition of the Bob Dylan classic ‘Forever Young’. The night draws to a close with a cover of the little known Lenard Cohen song “Passing Through”. Stepping away from their microphones everyone sits on the front of the stage and starts to serenade the crowd without any help from amplifiers. This is where the magic really started.

At the end of the song all 15 people on stage form a line and march off stage, instruments in hand and walk into the crowd. The audience separate and allow the musicians to congregate in the center of Vicar Street. With the night feeling like a lock in at your local pub they all launched into an extended version of ‘Heyday’. As they all stroll off singing the chorus of the Mic Christopher hit the crowd assumes this is the end of the night only to be shocked again when they hit the stage one more time!

A beautiful rendition of ‘The Auld Triangle’ brings a close to one of the most sensational concerts I have ever been to. At 1:10am the final notes are played and the night is over. The weary crowd leaves Vicar Street knowing that they have just witnessed one of the great gigs of the year. A four hour set comprising of more than 30 songs for just €30.00 is amazing value for money. If Hansard is ever playing near you I cant recommend going to see him enough.

Setlist;

You Will Become

Talking With The Wolves

Philander

Lover Don’t Leave Me Waiting (R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin Outro)

Seven Day Mile

Low Rising Sun

When Your Mind’s Made Up

Bird Of Sorrow

Leave

Lay Me Down (Ring Of Fire –Johnny Cash outro)

Astral Weeks (Van Morrison Cover) w/ Pearl Jam – Smile outro

High Hopes

Unknown

Santa Maria

Revelate

Star Star w/ Twinkle Twinkle + Pure Imagination reprise

Pavement Tune

Song Of Good Hope

ENCORE

The Gift accompanied by Amy Hansard

Baby Don’t Do It (Marvin Gaye Cover)

A Sail (Lisa Hannigan)

Falling Slowly accompanied by Lisa Hannigan

Fitzcaraldo

ENCORE TWO

Colm Maclomaire Violin Solo

Spencer The Rover (Irish Folk Song)

Sky Larkin (Mic Christopher Cover)

Forever Young accompanied by Liam O Maonlaoi

Passing Through (Lenard Cohen Cover)

Heyday (Mic Christopher Cover)

Auld Triangle (Irish Folk Song)

For more information on Glen Hansard have a look here

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The Xx – The Olympia 7/12/12

Tonight I had tickets to see The Xx on their first of two nights in The Olympia Theater. Both nights were sold out well in advance as tickets started from only €29.50 (including booking fee). I have been a huge fan of The Xx for the last few years and managed to see their set at Electric Picnic 2012, which really blew me away. To say I was looking forward to the night is an understatement.

The support on the night came from the ridiculously impressive Irish musician Mmoths (pronounced as ‘mots’). For any of you that don’t know Mmoths is the brainchild of Kildare man Jack Colleran. Mmoths is well known around Ireland and also internationally, having supported acts as big as Aphex Twin. After a hugely popular set at Electric Picnic 2012 it is no surprise that such a large crowd is anticipating his arrival on stage at The Olympia.

On the night Jack is joined on stage by a bassist/guitarist whose name sadly eludes me and the ridiculously impressive drummer Conor Conroy (also of Two Charming Men).

With the three of them set up they launch into their first song. The crowd is obviously aware of who is in front of them as they are very attentive. The set is very impressive as Jack really shows how much he has grown since he first became well known at the age of just 18.

The Mmoths support slot is made even more memorable thanks to the brilliant drumming of Conor Conroy who finds no problem in switching from electronic pads to a more traditional drum kit, sometimes changing mid track. The bassist/guitarist is also very worthy of a mention as he seamlessly swaps between instruments.

Jack Colleran is left on stage alone twice during the opening set. This is when it becomes clear why he is so popular. His passion for creating and mixing beats is fantastic and has the packed crowd begging for more as the set comes to a close. The only draw back is that there is no microphone for him to talk to the crowd other than that it is a great opener to the night. The stand out track of the night is the haunting THNX(video below). Mmoths obviously made a very good impression as The Xx invited them as support on their tour of the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.

A large veil covers the stage as The Xx walk on to rapturous applause from the sold out crowd. Visuals are projected onto it as they launch into ‘Angles’ and mid way through the song it drops to the ground revealing the shit cool trio. With no breaks between songs the crowd is treated to ‘Heart Skipped A Beat’ and ‘Friction’. Jamie turns the microphone around to the crowd and lets them sing the last chorus of the song.

I noticed pretty early on that a second veil was at the back of the stage. Every few minutes it would rise a few inches. It wasn’t until towards the end of the night that it became clear what it was for.

The crowd goes crazy when the first chords of hit song ‘Crystailsed’(video below) are played. Romy Madley Croft and Jamie Smith and Oliver Sim have the crowd swaying back and forth througout. The man in charge of every beat you hear is Jamie Smith and he is flawless as always as he moves from one set up to the next. The use of a steel drum during ‘Reunion’ is a treat for the ears!

With the Olympia shaking and the crowd enjoying themselves Romy and Oliver stalk each other across the stage looking more like lovers than band members. The lights pulse in time with the music and final track ‘Infinity’ is amazing. The second veil that I mentioned earlier was now rising steadily and as the crescendo of the song hit the crowd it was obvious that there was a giant X behind it which lights up adding to the already impressive stage show.

Image

The trio leave the stage and return shortly after a three song encore which included Intro, Tides and Stars. The encore did not match the tempo of the rest of the set and felt a little flat. Nonetheless it was a great night and I am very envious of anyone that is going to the second show tonight! I managed to get my hands on the set-list from the stage after the gig which made my night.

For more on up and coming producer Mmoths have a look here.

For more on The Xx have a look at their website.

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NeedToBreathe – The Academy 6/12/12

I swear from now on I am going to make plans in advance of a concert! I won tickets on Radio Nova tonight for the NeedToBreathe gig in The Academy. Tickets for the gig were priced at €16 (including booking fee). After racing into Abbey Street I arrived just as they walked on stage. Although I did miss out on the support act.

NeedToBreathe played a sold out show in Academy 2 only a few months ago. Tonight they return to the slightly bigger venue upstairs. Again playing to a sold out crowd. I will admit that before tonight I did not know that much of their songs. That did not stop me from really really enjoying the night though!

For those of you that have never heard of them before NeedToBreathe are an American rock band from South Carolina. With four albums under their belt to date they are very accomplished in America and regularly sell out arenas far bigger than the Academy. It’s very rare that we get the opportunity to see a band of this caliber in a venue so intimate for such a small price. The band is made up of Bear Rinehart, Bo Rineheart, Seth Bolt and touring members Josh Lovelace and Randall Harris.

Despite having a relatively small capacity the crowd in the Academy is one of the best I have ever been a part of. From the second the band arrive on stage everyone is obsessed with the 5 guys in front of them. The set list is full of really great songs. ‘The Outsider’ (which includes a BANJO solo of all things), ‘Keep Your Eyes Open’ (video below) and ‘More Time’ really stand out.

Half way through the lead singer Bear Rineheart slows the fast moving set down to talk to the crowd. He tell us that the Dublin gig is their last one of the year and asks us to forgive them if the night seems ‘a little self indulgent’ as they just want to ‘enjoy themselves’. One of the best reactions of the night comes when guitarist Bo Rinehart bursts into a cover of Johnny Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’.

With their set over the band leave the stage and of course arrive back on 2 minutes later. Usually I am very negative about encores but this one was different. Bear walks on stage alone with just his guitar and after talking to the crowd briefly he asks for silence and starts to play ‘Difference Maker’. I know it is very cliché and lazy for a reviewer to say that the entire crowd was silent but there is no other way to describe it. The only noise that could be heard was the humming of the fridges behind the bar. Half way through the 6minute ballad the rest of the band joins him on stage. Five men, two guitars and one microphone make for a really special moment. For me the highlight of the night came when they all stepped away from the microphone and delivered the last chorus acapella with just the faint guitar to accompany them. The combined strength of their voices easily fills the room and I got that feeling that they could easily fill one twice the size.

The set in total is about 90minutes. I only have one problem with the night and that is that I wish I had known their songs more so I could enjoy the night as much as every body else in the crowd did! I will defiantly have my tickets in advance the next time these guys come to to town.

NeedToBreathe

NeedToBreathe on stage at The Academy

Huge thanks to Radio Nova for the tickets. From now on I am going to be prepared I promise!

For more information on NeedToBreathe have a look at their website.

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Kodaline – The Button Factory 2/12/12

With tickets for tonight’s gig at €13.00 (including booking fee) it is little surprise that Kodaline sold out The Button Factory. Support on the night came from the talented and charismatic Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James and the young English singer Lewis Watson who is enjoying a lot of international recognition lately. It was great value for a concert.

First up on stage was the young Dubliner Gavin James who recently supported Marina & the Diamonds in The Olympia. At just 20 years old Gavin seems well used to the music scene and his ability to hit a wide range of notes is evidence of his emerging talent. Within minutes of walking on stage he has anyone who isn’t standing at the bar eating out of his hands! Being a solo artist there is always the risk that he will be lost on a stage but his strong vocals and melodic guitar playing really stand out.

His infectiously catchy song “Say Hello” (Video Below) see’s the crowd really getting into his music. During his short set he informs the crowd about his new EP called ‘Say Hello’ (which I happily bought). His set comes to an end with Gavin asking the crowd to sing along to his final song.  This was a bold move for the first act of the night! It says a lot for him that almost everyone in the crowd was singing towards the end. I will be keeping an eye on Gavin James over the next few months and with a headline slot in Whelans coming up he is sure to go from strength to strength.

Next up was Lewis Watson who is joined on stage by a drummer and a bassist/keyboardist. The young singer has supported Kodaline on their English dates and also has upcoming gigs in Australia supporting fellow British musician Birdy. The set starts off well with the crowd paying attention to the trio. For the third song Lewis is left on stage alone and preforms a cover of English band Bombay Bicycle Club’s song ‘Lamplight. This is the song that gained Lewis fame in the first place. In 2010 he uploaded his cover of the song to YouTube, which started his rise to fame. To close the set Lewis and his band continue the trend of crowd interaction when they eventually have the majority of the audience clapping along to their final song.

Lewis James

Lewis James and Band at The Button Factory

His new EP ‘Another Four Sad Songs’ is really worth a listen. This will not be the last you hear of Lewis Watson.

It eventually came time for the headline act of the night to grace us with their presence. Their debut EP ‘The Kodaline” only has 4 tracks on it so I was slightly worried that it would be a short and sweet set. Thankfully this wasn’t the case.

They opened with the song ‘Lose Your Mind’ which is much heavier live than it is on the EP. This was a great set opener and really had the crowd waiting for more. Well-known songs ‘Pray’ and ‘Perfect World’ came next. The harmonies that they used on all of these songs were fantastic and really show how polished a band they are.

The Button Factory was full of professional cameras on the night. It became clear why when lead singer Steve Garrigan informs the audience that they are recording the night for an upcoming project. He also tells us about a new eagerly awaited album that is due out in March 2013. The four-piece then launch into their new material which sends any fears of a short set out the door.

The new songs ‘High Hopes’, ‘Love Like This’ and ‘One Day’ are all brilliant and leave everyone present really anticipating the new EP. It also shows us the progression that they are making as a band. A mandolin and harmonica are new additions to the bands arsenal and really make the new songs stand out from the old ones.

Kodaline

Kodaline at The Button Factory

With almost 1million views on their YouTube video for ‘All I Want’(Video Below) and its appearance on American TV show Greys Anatomy its no wonder that this song gets the biggest reception of the night. With the crowd holding cameras in the air the band launch into their biggest hit to date. The lights, the perfect sound in the Button Factory and the crowd all mix perfectly to create a spine tingling moment where everybody in the place is singing in unison. As the last note fades out the band leave, only to come back on 2 minutes later for an encore.

The encore is as special as the set that came before it. All 4 members of the band get the crowd snapping their fingers along with them in time to a beat. With just a guitar they launch into an almost acapella version on the Sam Cooke classic “Bring It On Home”. If you had any doubt about the voices of Kodaline listen to this cover and it will change your mind. The night ended with their song ‘The Answer’ being sung with impressive passion.

With tickets only €13 it was well worth it to see 3 brilliant acts that are only going to get bigger as times goes by.

For more information on Gavin James have a look here

More information on Lewis Watson can be found on his website

Information on Kodaline can be found on their website and Facebook page

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Purity Ring – The Button Factory 28/11/12

The latest gig I attended was Purity Ring in the Button Factory where the ticket’s were €17.50. If you have read previous blog posts you know that I have a habit of acquiring concert tickets at very short notice! Tonight was no exception. With 30 minutes before the first act came on stage I collected them. Without #TicketFairy on twitter there is no way I would have made tonight’s concert so I am extremely grateful.

Tonight’s gig was my first time attending a concert in the Button Factory. It is better known as a popular student nightclub so I was a bit skeptical about it hosting a concert like this. The stage was rather interesting as it was set up with bee-hive like lights which I will talk more about later.

The first act on stage were Canadian percussive heavy, electro trio Doldrums. Billed as Canada’s next break out band, 23 year old Airick Woodhead and his two band members have a lot to live up to. For any of you that don’t know Doldrums is the brainchild of Woodhead. His new album Lesser Evil was recorded almost entirely on a friend’s laptop (which he later broke). The friend was no other than the Canadian electronic experimentalist Claire Boucher aka ‘Grimes’ who is enjoying plenty of international success lately.

This was their first ever-Irish show and they seemed excited to be on stage. They are a very tight outfit. This allows them to switch seamlessly from song to song creating a very fluid and enjoyable set. The large crowd in front of the stage was testament to this.  The only break in the set comes when Airick addresses the crowd. Towards the end of their first Irish gig the room is literally shaking from the deep bass. With their set finished the three guys come down into the crowd and relax with the fans before the night continues.

Next up were headline act of the night Purity Ring. The band consists of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (instrumentals). Making music since 2010 their 2012 debut album ‘Shrines” is one of the best albums of the year in my opinion.

Purity Ring

Purity Ring on stage at the Button Factory

The set got off to a very good start and the crowd was really enjoying it. Once they played the song “Fineshrine” (video below) the mobile phones came out to try and record Purity Ring’s biggest hit to date. The beehive lights on stage were linked to beats that Corin Roddick was playing on his custom built ‘tree-shaped’ instrument. This added a whole new feel to the night as it immersed the crowd even more into the set.

In such a small venue it wouldn’t be uncommon for the vocals to be drowned out. Thankfully this was not the case in the Button Factory. This is thanks to the brilliant work of whoever is on the mix desk. I was directly behind him and he spent the night keeping all levels in check so that the sound was not muddled. The only downside to the night was the length of the set. It was over far to quick. To be fair to them they only have one album so it would be impossible to have a 90minute set. If you haven’t heard of Purity Ring before I would really recommend checking them out. I have a feeling that we will be hearing a lot more from this Canadian duo in the next few years.

For more information on Doldrums have a look at their Facebook Page.

For more information on Purity Ring have a look here.

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Alabama Shakes – The Olympia 14/11/12

I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the Alabama Shakes gig in The Olympia tonight. Tickets for the show were priced at €25.00 so it’s no wonder the night was a total sell out. There seemed to be a slight hiccup with the “Doors Opening” time. The ticket said 7:30 but the official word was 7pm. A lot of people obviously did not hear the news, as the venue seemed to take an age to fill up!

Thankfully I was one of the lucky few that turned up at 7pm. As a result I was given a ‘pit band’. Front row at a concert for the second time in a week. I can’t complain! The Olympia is without doubt my favourite venue in Dublin and has been so for as long as I can remember. The look, and feel of the place make every gig feel special.

First up tonight was the young American singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc(video of his song Part One: The End below). He walked on stage guitar in hand. Alongside him was his friend and touring accomplice who would be playing slide-guitar for the set. Sadly the crowd was almost non-existent at this stage. To his credit that did not stop the talented guitarist from delivering an impressive set.

For the final few songs Dylan invited out Ben Tanner who is touring with Alabama Shakes playing keyboards. This extra dimension should of added a lot to the set but sadly the volume levels on both keyboard and slide-guitar were to high meaning his vocals were inaudible. Taking time out from his set to talk to the crowd he declares his love for The Olympia, informing us that it is one of the “most beautiful venues ” he has ever played in.

The crowd, which has grown considerably since the start of the set, is delighted to hear that his last song will be a cover of the Al Green hit ‘Lets Stay Together’. The slide-guitar solo in the middle of the song gives this classic a whole new feel. All in all it felt like a slightly lackluster opening act.

Dylan LeBlanc

Dylan LeBlanc @ The Olympia

With the Olympia finally starting to feel ‘Sold Out’ Alabama Shakes walk on to a deafening welcome from the crowd. Without hesitation they launch into their set. The first few songs include fan favourites ‘Hold On’(video below) and ‘Hang Loose’ and they really get the place moving. Lead singer and guitarist Britney Howard’s energetic guitar playing results in a broken guitar string half way through the song ‘I Found You’. She still manages to play the intense end to the song and once the last note runs out the guitar tech is on with a replacement before scuttling off to the side of the stage for a quick restring and re-tune.

The five individual personalities of the band members could not be anymore contrasting! Heath Fogg (guitar), Zac Cockrell (the bear like bassist) and Ben Tanner (keyboards) are laid back. Where as Britney and drummer Steve Johnson are intense and push their instruments to the limits.

The set moves along at pace until Britney takes a break to give the crowd an in insight to the track ‘Boys & Girls’. With her sweet southern accent it is a pleasure to hear her speak. Following on from this she delivers an emotional rendition of the song much to the crowds delight.

Toward the end of their set they dive into some old fashion rock and roll sounding tracks and again Britney manages to break a guitar string. The guitar tech is really earning his money tonight. They leave the stage to a standing ovation from the entire crowd. Nobody is leaving as everyone awaits the inevitable encore.

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes @ The Olympia

Strolling back on stage we are treated to an unreleased new song from a forthcoming album. The new track sounds as good as all the others on the night and everyone present is no doubt eagerly awaiting the new album. The very final song of the night is a sort of freestyle where lyrics are concerned. Britney sings of her love of Ireland, its Castles, its sheep and more importantly our “weird black sausage (pudding)”. The set comes to a close and all five members leave the stage panting and dripping with sweat after a very well delivered show.

Having previously seen Alabama Shakes at Electric Picnic I had a rough idea what to expect but I was really surprised with how strong an act they were indoors. They will no doubt be back on these shores again and I would not hesitate to recommend seeing them! They seem to consistently put on a good show.
Have a look at Dylan LeBlanc’s website for more information on the young singer.

The Alabama Shakes site will give you everything you need to know about the band.

Were you at the gig? If so what did you make of it? Have you seen either of these acts before?

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Bon Iver – The o2 Dublin 12/11/12

Tonight I was at the Bon Iver gig in The o2 Dublin.  The show was pretty much sold out and with tickets at  €36.50 it’s not hard to see why. I have been a fan of Bon Iver for a long time. I regularly listen to their albums but it is only when you see them in concert that you can truly appreciate how talented they are and how impressive and technical the songs are. I was lucky enough to get a standing ticket also managed to get incredibly close to the stage.

The Staves were support on the night. Having played a successful set at this years Electric Picnic festival they seemed delighted to be back in Ireland. The British band is made up of three extremely talented sisters, Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor. Having played together since childhood they play effortlessly as a group.

The Staves

The Staves @ The o2 Dublin

Walking onto the stage with a guitar and Ukulele between the three of them they give a quick introduction and start into their set. The jaws of a lot of the crowd drop as the trio’s voices fill the o2. The 3-part harmonies of their songs are amazing and take a lot of people by surprise. After their first few songs their witty personalities are obvious. They start off by thanking Bon Iver for supporting THEM and share some other jokes before announcing that this concert marks the official launch of their new album Dead & Born & Grow. After that album plug they are back to playing music. They invite Bon Iver’s violinist Rob Moose on stage to accompany them and he is a welcome addition. The song “Tongue Behind My Teeth” (video below)sounds great live with the violin. The stand out moment of their set is when all three girls gather around one microphone and deliver an acapella masterclass.

During their set they also inform us that they will be back for a headline gig of their own on November 25th in Whelan’s (tickets available here). With endorsements like that of the lead singer from Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) it will surely be a sell out. He described The Staves perfectly when he proclaimed “three people that can sing like that together come along only once in a hundred years.” The Staves leave the stage to a well deserved round of applause from an appreciative crowd.

After some sound checks and a stage reshuffle the house lights dim again and the crowd erupts as the main act for the night arrive I was shocked to see 9 of them walk on! But after the first song it was crystal clear whey it is such a large band. The amount of instruments that they play is unbelievable! I also quickly gave up trying to count how many guitar changes there were. On one occasion a band member switched from electric to acoustic mid song!

The set-list for the night was fantastic. If I had been afforded the opportunity  to write it myself I couldn’t have improved it. The highlight for me was when Justin Vernon was left on stage by himself. He spoke to the crowd at length and then invited The Staves back out to provide backing vocals to the track “Re:Stacks”. What ensued was a spine tingling few minutes. The crowd was totally silent throughout the entire song. The backing vocals from The Staves really added a new element to an already fantastic track. Another song that deserves a mention is “Holocene”(video below). The crowd again falls silent for its entirety showing how much respect they have for the band. The song that got the biggest reaction on the night was of course “Skinny Love.” Once Vernon reached for the steel guitar the crowd knew it was coming. A song that receives as much radio play as Skinny Love has, runs the risk of overplay, but there is no doubting its strength and impact as a live song.

The set came to a close and the band sauntered off only to come back on again 5 minutes later to play a 3-song encore. By the time this encore was over it was 11:00pm and I presumed that was the end of the show. (11pm being the curfew in the 02). I could not have been more wrong.  Shortly after leaving again time they came back out, much to the shock and delight of the crowd and launched into a second encore of “The Wolves Act I & II”. This 5-minute anthem was a perfect way to end the night and to end the tour.

All 9 members of the band seemed quite emotional at the end. It was only later that I realised that this show could in fact be the last by Bon Iver for a very long time as they are now seemingly on hiatus. If this is true then there was no better way to go out!

Justin Vernon

Bon Iver @ The o2 Dublin

I would really recommend checking out The Staves. Their gig in Whelans is sure to be brilliant.

The Bon Iver website has more information about the band.

Were you at this gig? Is this the end of Bon Iver? Let me know what you think.

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Movember Post

With Movember (or No Shave November depending on where you are from) now in full swing it is only fair to pay homage to musicians past and present that bore the tache! Below are videos of 5 of the most famous Mo’s in the business.

5) Prince – Purple Rain

The man of many hits and names starts us off. With over 30 albums under his belt I had a lot to pick from. In the end I chose Purple Rain (mainly because of that guitar solo)

4) Tallest Man On Earth – The Gardener

The Swedish singer songwriter is no stranger to Ireland. His song ‘The Gardener’ was one of my highlights from his recent gig here. Have a look at the review I wrote.

3) Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

The guitar legend was an easy choice. Prince’s solo might be good but could he play it with his teeth like Jimi does in this video for Hey Joe.

2) Phil Lynott – Old Town

Irishman Phil Lynott is number two on the list. One of my favourite musicians ever I couldn’t leave him out.

1) Queen – Freddie Murcury

Honestly could anybody else really be number one? One of the most famous soup strainers ever!

Movember is a really worthy charity. I am sure a lot of the people reading this have been affected by cancer in some form or another. So if you can, please donate or sport the tache for the month to raise awareness (ladies included of course). A good friend of mine has set up her own mo’page in an attempt to raise money so if you would like to support some people here is the link.

What famous Mo’s did I leave out? Let me know!

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Little Green Cars – Whelans 8/11/12

Tonight was a complete last minute decision that involved me being offered a ticket less than an hour before the first act took to the stage. Before tonight I had been a big fan of ‘Little Green Cars’ and the name ‘Gypsies On The Autobahn’ sounded familiar to me. But I had never heard of ‘Bleeding Heart Pigeons’ before.

The gig took place in Whelans, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite venues. After we found a spot to rest our drinks we awaited the first band. I will have to admit that I expected little from a band with a name like ‘Bleeding Heart Pigeons’ but I was very wrong.

They came on stage quietly and with just a “Hello” to the crowd the very young looking band launched into their first song. Strangely enough for an opening act they had the attention of a lot of the audience. What struck me as they played was how tight and in sync they were for such a young group. They are made up of Micheál Keating (Vocals, Guitar), Brendan McInerney (Drums) and Cathal Histon (Synth, Sampling, Percussion and Vocals). As a band it sounded as though they took their inspiration from a lot of different artists. Throughout their short set I heard comparisons to Vampire Weekend, Interpol and Bloc Party. All three members sound like very talented musicians but particular compliment has to be paid to the drummer who manages to alternate between his kit and the synthesizer with ease. Their impressive set comes to an end with a very well deserved round of applause from the attentive crowd.

Next up was Gypsies On The Autobahn. This Dublin four piece is made up of James Smith, Dan Smith, Gary Quinn and Niall Mooney. The four walking hairstyles come on stage to a very strong reception. It’s obvious that the audience have heard of them before. The band, which have previously been featured on YouTube hit channel BalconyTv as well as a very impressive slot on Other Voices are no stranger to a stage. The combination of backing vocals from three of the band members really compliment the lead singer and they are obviously aware of this as they play to their strengths in a lot of their songs. Halfway through their set I remember that they are support to a headline act. After hearing them live I don’t think it will be long before they are headlining venues themselves.

After a brief shake up the stage is ready for ‘Little Green Cars’ to grace us with their presence. The house lights fade to black and the five-piece walk on. The band is made up of Steve Appleby, Fave O’Rourke, Adam O’Regan, Donagh Seaver O’Leary and Dylan Lynch. Their entrance is really something to savour. In total darkness they take their places on stage. With a totally silent crowd they break into their first song. Red light covers each member from the shoulders up creating a moment reminiscent to that from the Queen anthem ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. The second the final note of their opening song is reached the crowd erupts and the feeling that as an audience we are witnessing a special night of Irish music is unavoidable. The band fly through their set with the highlights being ‘Them’ and the well known song ‘The John Wayne’ (video below).

Walking past the statue at the bar in Whelans I got the feeling that I had just seen a great gig. It really showed the strength of Irish music today. After arriving slightly unfamiliar with their music I cant recommend checking out ‘Bleeding Heart Pigeons’ or ‘Gypsies On The Autobahn’ enough. If by now you don’t know who ‘Little Green Cars’ are go and check them out. You will not be disappointed.

Ticket Stub

Little Green Cars Ticket

Check out ‘Bleeding Heart Pigeons’ Facebook Page. They also have links to YouTube and SoundCloud so you can listen to their tracks.

More info on ‘Gypsies On The Autobhan’ can be found here.

Info on the amazing ‘Little Green Cars’ can be found here.

I know I am repeating myself but I really recommend looking up all the bands mentioned here.

Have you seen these bands before? What did you think?

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Django Django Album Review

Django Django are an English four-piece band made up of David Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace. The band formed in 2009 and in 2012, after releasing two singles, they delivered their self-titled album to the public. The album gained a lot of attention and was nominated for the Mercury Prize (eventually losing out to Alt-J )

I am pretty late to the Django Django party and have only properly started listening to the album in recent weeks. As with a lot of the music I listen to friends recommended them to me initially.

The 13-track album is quite short at just over 48 minutes but this really works for them as it makes it very easy to listen to in full. This is when you get the full appreciation of just how good this album is.

It all kicks off with an instrumental (slightly 8-bit sounding) track that mixes perfectly into the synth heavy ‘Hail Bop’. The harmonies on this song are seriously impressive and on first listen it set up my expectations for the whole album and I wasn’t disappointed.

I won’t give you a track-by-track break down of the album as I think a listener should make up his or her own mind. In saying that I can’t write about the album and not mention the song ‘Default‘(video below). It’s one of the first singles they released and a stand out track. The old school guitar vibe mixed with the futuristic sounding ‘robotesqe’ noises really make it unique. If you’re in doubt about this band at all listen to this song and I think it could change your mind. It’s infectious.

One of the things you will notice throughout ‘Django Django’ is the drum track in the background. Drummer David Maclean (who also produced the album) seems to take inspiration from everywhere and it is a pleasure to be able to listen to him.

With the Other Voices line-up having been announced recently any fans of the band will be happy to know they have been picked to play. Have fun trying to get tickets!!

Have a look at the Django Django website for more information on the band.

Keep a close eye on the Other Voices website for information on tickets.
What do you make of their first album? Did it deserve to win the Mercury Prize?

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