Thursday, July 25, 2013

Albums Worth Listening to in July 2013

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
The Boxer Rebellion – Promises
Pigeon Detectives - We Met at Sea
Grant Hart - The Argument
Richard Kapp - Talking to the People (Stream/buy here)
Halves - Boa Howl
As Always Suggestion very welcome

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The National live at the Marquee , Cork 28/06/2013 Review

I wouldn't put me down as a diehard National fan but their 2010 album 'High Violet' really hit a chord with me and would get a lot of rotation on the pod. Was delighted to hear them playing the Marquee as I hadn't got a chance to visit it yet and Cork is a great city to go out in. The band had just released their sixth studio album 'Trouble Will Find Me' a month before the gig and I had liked what I heard so far. The band were playing a massive amount of dates this summer and any festival worth there salt had them on the billing.

I arrived late as the warm up band from Brighton 'Tall Ships' were just ending, The big top looked great as you walked along the canal. As you entered the tent an inside waiting area was a wash with bars , merchandise stands and food outlets including a travel eddie rockets!
It was a festival atmosphere around as the crowd shuffled their way into the circus arena awaiting the headline act. For a sell out gig it wasn't as packed as I had imagined , I made my way to as close as I could and got a nice spot. The heat in the tent was something else as I took as much layers off as I could without getting arrested.

As we waited a black drop of live footage of the band backstage getting ready to walk on was being shown and they arrived out to a great reception. The backdrop was used throughout the night intertwined with live grainy footage of the band/crowd and previous stock film of trees and landscapes which really worked with the sounds.
I have to admit the sound for the first couple of songs struggled and the band didn't seem to be feeling it maybe their monitors were a mess too. After awhile the sound was stronger and the band were at full tilt and they were living up to the reputation of one of the best live acts on the scene at the moment.
Lead singer Matt Berninger would prowl the stage throughout the night like a man processed boxing his own fists , he seemed very subdued at the start of the gig but half way through he would be on his knees screaming chorus lines , no wonder he was subdued at the start he is clearly bolloxed from giving it socks for the last few night on tour. He certainly didn't disappoint in the second half of the show as it did seem like we got to sides to the band. The new material sounded great and the mix between old and new worked perfect and really got the die hards singing.
The best part of the night was the when they arrived back out for the encore and played another five tracks. Third song in 'Mr November' saw Matt jump into the crowd and walk around on hands and barriers and whatever would hold his weight. The band were in full swing when playing second last song of the night 'Terrible Love'. The last track was amazing as all the members assembled on the front of the stage acoustic and unplugged and no mics playing 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' . The crowd were exceptional and so polite you could hear a pin drop which is quite hard giving the size of the audience. The sing song was super and it ended a brilliant night, Cheers!

Set List:
I Should Live In Salt 
Don't Swallow the Cap 
Bloodbuzz Ohio 
Secret Meeting 
Sea of Love 
Afraid of Everyone 
Conversation 16 
Squalor Victoria 
I Need My Girl 
This is the Last Time 
All the Wine 
Slow Show 
Pink Rabbits 
About Today 
Fake Empire 
Mr. November 
Terrible Love 
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bruce Springsteen live at Thomond Park 16/07/2013 Review

I must admit I wasn't a huge fan of Bruce only in the last few years as I rediscovered some of his classic albums. I guess growing up having 'Born in the USA' on the radio every ten minutes put me off him and didn't listen to anything after that, I'm glad I got over that.

I have been told by everyone that his live show is one of the best in the world , I have been meaning to catch him for awhile now but ticket prices and the trip up to Dublin just didn't work out. Had him on my list of bands to see before I die for a long time (List here).
I was blown away to hear he was playing Limerick and jumped at the opportunity the day the tickets came out. My expectations were high and what I got was far beyond what people had said. What we were treated to last night was special and to have it in your own hometown adds to the occasion. According to early revellers Bruce arrived out at 5.00 for 20 minutes to play three acoustic tracks. Two from his album 'Greetings' , The Flood and on piano 'For You' and then checked out the many request cards being held up in the crowd and picked out 'Hearts of Stone'. So in total he played for four hours and ten minutes last night.

Some serious stamina for a man of sixty three , he raises the bar on live performers and gives everything he has while he is on stage. His shirt went from dry to pools of sweat by the end of the night as he danced around the stage loving every minute. His interaction with crowd is exemplary as he shook hands and high fived as many as he could. The die hards who had been queuing for two nights for a good spot (1 guy apparently out there since last Thursday) had signs holding up requests and Bruce was loving it. Picking out a handful that took his fancy and showing them to the band 'Were doing this ok , I think its in B or maybe A' . He was handed a pint of beer at one stage from the crowd which he downed in one and another member of the crowd handed a huge Irish passport which opened up to reveal all Bruce's details and passport picture, a brilliant gift! One sign being held by a kid named Ross requested he sang with him and that it was his birthday and sure enough he got his wish. Check it out here.

He managed to get in some local references congratulating the Limerick hurlers on winning the Munster Final at the weekend. (Which the city is still on a high over, We were only waiting 17 years).
He also dedicated 'My Hometown' to local horse jockey JT McNamara who was badly injured in a race recently in Cheltenham. Another dedication went to Trayvon Martin, the florida teen shot dead last year with the track 'American Skin'.

The atmosphere was electric throughout the ground and it was just one big party, The weather played a big part as we are having one of the best summers in history. Bruce mentioned its nice to have a similar evenings heat like New Jersey. The mammoth set included the full album of 'Born to Run' and some fan favourites. I don't think anyone left disappointed with the song choices. The set was book ended with 'This little light of Mine' which by the end of the night had the crowd screaming it back to him.  What a night!!! Cheers Bruce , Please come back!

Set List:
This Little Light of Mine 
American Land 
Death to My Hometown 
Hungry Heart 
Spirit in the Night 
Ain't Too Proud to Beg  (The Temptations cover)
American Skin (41 Shots) 
The Promised Land 
Wrecking Ball 
We Take Care of Our Own 
Jack of All Trades 
The River 

Thunder Road 
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 
Born to Run 
She's the One 
Meeting Across the River 

Waitin' on a Sunny Day 
The Rising 
Land of Hope and Dreams

My Hometown 
Born in the U.S.A. 
Glory Days 
Bobby Jean 
Drive All Night 
Dancing in the Dark 
Shout  (The Isley Brothers cover)

This Little Light of Mine


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

John Blek & The Rats live at the Greyhound Bar, Kilkee 05/07/13 Review

Wonderful night of music took place in the excellent outdoor wooden marquee venue, Its great to see the Greyhound Bar supporting original bands and they have been booking some great names over the past year and a full schedule of live bands for the summer months. Tonight saw the emerging talent of cork band 'John Blek and the Rats' take to the seaside stage.
I had a personally hand in tonight's proceedings as limerick band 'Randolf & The Crokers' warmed up the nicely packed room. If you read the blog you will know by now I play harmonica with the lads. Our set went down great with the locals and the superb weather all day had plenty of sun chasers down for the weekend too. We were delighted with the response from the crowd after the gig and the owners seems to like our stuff asking us back for a headline slot on the 26th of July.
Next up were the main act for the night , the six piece huddled onto the small stage and play a blistering set showcasing tracks from their brand new debut album 'Leave Your Love at the Door' . The album has been on constantly at home and is a real Irish gem of a record. Fans of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals will find great solace in the alt country warmth of the album. Lead singer John O'Conner's voice is very similar to that of Conor Oberst of 'Bright Eyes' and works really well with harmonies coming from Anna Mitchell. The constant twang of the slide guitar is a joy throughout the album thanks to the brilliant David Murphy. The crowd loved the gig and they had them up dancing and singing along. For an idea of their sound check out some of my videos below.The band are currently playing a string of dates around the country, be sure to check them out if you can and go buy their amazing album. Check them out here