11 things I learned since last Wednesday at 7.25pm
(1) Will Lenny be visiting Ireland every summer from now on? This time out, in common with so many returning acts from the last couple of summers, Lenny went indoors and took over The O2 for a few nights last …
(1) Will Lenny be visiting Ireland every summer from now on? This time out, in common with so many returning acts from the last couple of summers, Lenny went indoors and took over The O2 for a few nights last week. While last year’s shows in the open air in Kilmainham were event gigs in every sense, there was a lot less fuss surrounding these shows and Lenny himself seemed a lot more relaxed about things. He leapt around the stage like a young lad, threw himself to his knees a lot like a jilted Romeo and did some sterling versions of the classics. Yes, it was a little sterile in places – that line about “there is a crack in everything” doesn’t really apply to this band who’ve erased “spontaneity” from their lexicon – but it’s still a thrill to see a master like him at work.
(2) As has become the norm at The O2, as more and more punters make their way to the revamped venue for the first time, there was lots of oohing and aahing at the place. In terms of enormous arenas, it really is the business. Best of all, as a letter-writer to the paper alluded on Friday last, you can’t blame the venue for the poxy sound any more. A poor sound can be laid squarely at the feet of a poor soundman or a tour (or promoter) cutting costs.
(3) Interestingly, the further back you went in Galway’s Big Top at the Bon Iver gig, the better the show seemed to sound. It was Justin Vernon and co’s first ever show in Galway and the atmosphere was a little frenzied to say the least. Yep, that many people here know all about him and “For Emma, Forever Ago” now and yep, even better, that many people were prepared to listen with rapt attention to every single song. The only downer for me was that there were no new songs in what was, it has to be said, a rocking set. The only downer for Vernon, revisiting Galway after a spell a couple of years ago in the city selling mobile phones on Eyre Square, was that venerable eaterie the Snackbox is no longer on Shop Street. Hey, maybe he could, like, write a song about that?
(4) Afterwards, I hit the decks at the Roisin Dubh’s Strange Brew club night, back to back with the bold Gugai, the dude who fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition by having 3,000 Galwegians bow down to him earlier on (you can see it and other Galway Arts Fest clips on GAF TV). It really was one hell of a night as people went buckwild to a selection of buckwild tunes – and it’s probably like that every week. Galway loves Tyondai Braxton, Casiokids, Animal Collective, Harlem Shakes, Battles, Shit Robot, Modest Mouse, Lionel Richie, Local Natives, Lemonade, Florence & The Machine (twice), Holy Ghost, Lynn Collins, Redneck Manifesto and – for that nearly-end-of-night tune – Bon Iver. Respect to Gugai and Kevin for inviting me to the wild, wild west and thanks everyone who turned out at the Roisin and all those who came up to say hello.
(5) Foodie tip for punters going to the Galway Races: the chorizo-in-sherry tapas at Cava on Dominick Street. Yum-yum. And yeah, they’re better than chips at Ballybrit.
(6) Here are the dates for your diaries for the next couple of Banters. On August 15, Banter #2 is “The A-Z of DIY” with Dylan Haskins (Hideaway House, Exchange Dublin) and Niall McGurk (Hope Promotions) talking about alternative all-age gig spaces in Ireland and the politics of doing gigs in gaffs, church halls and community centres. There will also be a screening of Dylan’s “Roll Up Your Sleeves” documentary (which is now out on DVD). On September 27, it’s Banter #3, “Final Scratch, Me Arse”, starring Irish clubland veterans Paul Webb and Tonie Walsh shooting the breeze about the very early days of Irish clubland. Both Paul and Tonie will be DJ-ing at POGO afterwards. And on October 17, Banter #4 is “Meet the New Media Cats” with Una Mullally and Nialler9 poking around around in the Venn diagram between blogs, Twitter and the established media. All the above Banter events will be held at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) and admission is free. As room capacity is limited, please email your name to email@example.com with Banter #2 or #3 or #4 in the subject bar to guarantee your place
(7) The reviews are in for The Crab Hits Dublin 3 and it seems we’re talking hit, hit, hit, hit, hit! Mmmm, were the reviewers contractually obliged to mention the U2 cynics, critics and begrudgers? Seeing as the last show is tonight and the venue is only down the road, I may saunter down, buy a ticket and pop along. Or I may stay at home and calculate my taxes. Decisions, decisions…..
(9) Incoming: Dun Laoghaire’s Festival of World Cultures takes over the seaside town yet again on August 29 and 30 (down from three days to two days due to….well, what do you think?) with performances from Jane Birkin, Oumou Sangare, the Dhaod Gypsies of Rajasthan, Sain Zahoor, Dub Colossus, Kilfenona Ceile Band and many more. Good to see that the fest are still using my “family-friendly Glastonbury” line. Drat, I should have charged them for that.
(10) And then, there were four. That strange sound you heard over Thurles yesterday round about 3.30pm was the sound of Dublin’s hurling balloon bursting for another season. Chalk it down to the Dubs’ lack of big-game experience and the fact that they spent too much time arguing the toss over frees and other decisions. Limerick, to their credit, just got on with knocking over points and winning the game. Then, there was Waterford, nicking the game with seconds to spare from a Galway team who seemed to think all they had to do was turn up and make sure Joe Canning had shaved to make the semis. A brilliant, dogged, never-say-die performance from the Deises. Next up: Kilkenny v Waterford and Tipperary v Limerick. Anyone care to do some predictions? You’ll probably do better than the pundits at the weekend who were all Galway and Dublin FTW.
(11) Local Natives are coming! One of our favourite bands from SXSW 2009, Tune of the Week graduates and New Music picks play Dublin’s Academy 2 on September 29. Tickets are €13.50 and are now on sale. Here, once again, is what all the fuss is about