Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Guest post – more Dingle Bells: Tony Clayton-Lea at Other Voices

We sent Tony Clayton-Lea to Dingle to see some bands at the Other Voices gigs-for-TV hooley, but he seems to be tucking into the grub with as much relish and considering getting a tattoo. For more on this, we join …

Tue, Dec 8, 2009, 15:08


We sent Tony Clayton-Lea to Dingle to see some bands at the Other Voices gigs-for-TV hooley, but he seems to be tucking into the grub with as much relish and considering getting a tattoo. For more on this, we join our grub-and-tats correspondant in Co Kerry…

Two words: Antlers, amazing. They were interviewed in The Ticket recently by Jim, so we should know the score on the album, “Hospice”, by now. What we were not aware of, however, is how blindingly brilliant they are on stage. When we shared a bus from Farranfore airport with the Brooklyn band a couple of days ago, we could only put their silence down to too much travelling in too little time. Surly? Well, yes, frankly we thought so.

But at St James Church, they made up for lost-in-thought with lost-in-music. Other Voices presenter Annie Mac gave the band the proverbial Dundrum thumbs up as the gobsmacked audience soaked up the music’s mix of bile, tragedy and excitement.

The rest of the line-up varied from the unusually bland (Bell X1 – er, what went wrong chaps?) to the incredible (Villagers – the new songs are gobsmackingly fine) and the surprising (a good gig from Magic Numbers – didn’t see that one coming).

It isn’t all about the music, though. While we’re not into turning OTR into a foodie blog (sure why not, yer man Doorley took the Mail’s cash and did a runner – Ed), can we just mention that the Best Lamb Stew On A Freezing Day Award goes to Adam’s Bar & Restaurant, on Main Street. Don’t ask just me – Brothers Movement and Lost Brothers (yeah, makes you chuckle, doesn’t it?) were also there lunching.

Best bar? Well, so far it’s the quite brilliantly named Foxy John’s (Main Street), which manages the not inconsiderable feat of being not just a bar but also a hardware store. So, if you’re looking for a bag of nails, a hammer, drill bits and a pint of plain, you know where to go. Oh – just be very, very careful you know what’s what when you ask for some nuts.

Weird gig of the day? Imelda May yelping out rockabilly in a local pizza joint.

It was, I have to admit, the best tattooed arm I have EVER seen. Not that I’m a student of whatever the science of tattoos is called (your starter for ten), but, you know, when you see something that piques an interest in an area you have previously had no interest in – well, for the enquiring mind that’s got to be a plus, right?

Anyway, we were sitting down with Brad from North Carolina band Megafaun in Ashes (On The Record award winners for Best Fish Pie In the Dingle Peninsula) when he rolled up the left arm sleeve of his jersey. There were three tattoos on his arm, none of which matched the kind of trash-tats (TM TCL) you normally see adorning the skin of Papa Roach fans.

The first was the inked signature of his grandfather, who had died some years previously. Grandads are cool, so hats off to Brad.

The second tattoo was of the members of The Band, except one figure wasn’t inked in. Why is one figure not inked in, we asked. Well, answered Brad, the figure not inked in is Robbie Robertson. And why, we asked, isn’t Robbie Robertson inked in? “Because I don’t like him.” Riiigghhttt…

The third tattoo, however, took the proverbial biscuit and snapped it into two pieces. It was a foot-long section of 1970s electronic circuitry (old school digital components such as capicitors, resistors, diodes, and so on) that formed part of the notation of a John Cage sound installation. I don’t know about you, but the last time I saw something like that was on the torso of Michael Schofield in Prison Break.

Dingle Bells: interesting geezers, THE most unusual but personally involving tattoos, chunky fish pies, and a set from Megafaun in St James Church that was north of astonishing. Oh – and what has to be the quote of the year from the Church of Ireland reverend who scuttled up to Oisin Leech from the rather good Lost Brothers in the reception of Benner’s Hotel after their gig: “I’ve just got two things to say to you: firstly, Jesus loves you, and secondly, never over embellish a song arrangement.”

Other Voices – it just keeps on getting better and better.