10 things we learned this weekend
Tales from the weekend including Beyonce, Chris Dave, Mud, Pilgrim Hill, music festival foodies and much more
(1) The weekend started on a Thursday when Chris Dave and The Drumhedz rolled into town for an one-night-stand at a packed-to-the-gills Sugar Club. As a drummer, Dave has supplied the beats for a stellar list of artists including Adele, Maxwell, Robert Glasper, Beyonce, Lipe Fiasco, Erykah Badu and dozens more. Watching him throwing shapes and guiding the action with the Hedz, it became clear that what makes him such a valued collaborator was an uncanny ability to work many genres and styles into his canvas – just check how “Fred” took angles from Blondie and Michael Jackson, for instance. His band – Pino Palladino (bass), Isaiah Sharkey (electric guitar) and Kebbi Williams (sax/flute) – were more than up for working out the script alongside Dave and that distinctive drumkit (a lot of spirals). A night of superb stylistic pyrotechnics and a reminder that jazz’s future is thankfully still unwritten. Download Dave’s free mixtape here.
(2) It’s the time of the year when US networks axe tons of TV shows and all those big hypes from last autumn are binned. Shondra Rhimes, though, has no such problems – here’s the skinny on the show-runner behind Grey’s Anatomy and excellent newbie Scandal.
(3) If you only see one film this year about a Kerry farmer eeking out a living on a couple of dozen hilly acres, make sure it’s Pilgrim Hill. Gerard Barrett’s debut feature is a poignant portrait of rural life and isolation, a real world far removed from the urban patina which is supposed to represent Ireland in 2013. Joe Mullins is excellent as Jimmy Walsh, the small farmer working the land, caring for his infirm father and regretting that he never got away from the sheer drudgery like his peers. Barrett’s semi-documentary style suits the pace and tension as Pilgrim Hill works its way towards a inevitable and devastating conclusion. A strong, vivid, powerful work.
(4) She came, she saw, she changed her outfit at least half-a-dozen times during a two hour show. Beyonce’s latest visit to Dublin was extravagant in scope and scale, a smartly choreographed mish-mash of theatrical pomp, avant-garde awareness, Las Vegas pizzazz, pop thrills, hip-hop sass, flashy Watch the Throne-esque videos and perfectly tuned brand awareness. Knowles is acutely aware of her value in that latter regard (as Pepsi and H&M’s business affairs’ departments know well) and this eye-popping show, which was weirdly not plugging a new album, was as much about accentuating and amplifying that aspect of her portfolio as tipping the cap to Mariah, Janet and Whitney. The real showstoppers were the ace pop tunes like “Survivor” and “Halo” and “Single Ladies” and “Crazy In Love” and “Irreplaceable” and “Naughty Girl”.
(5) Stop the presses: Irish live music fans aren’t the only ones giving about high ticket prices and looking elsewhere for their festival kicks.
(6) Kids and the Deep South make for great cinematic splashes as Beasts of the Southern Wild showed last year. The colours may be more muted and starker in Jeff Nichols’ Mud, but the action is equally top-notch. Ellis and Neckbone are two kids (one sporting a Fugazi t-shirt which throws up some interesting satorial shorthand) who go on a Huckleberry Finn adventure and discover an abandoned boat marooned on a tree on an island. They’re not the only ones to come across the vessel and Matthew McConaughey’s Mud, a dude on the run from the law and assorted enemies also has designs on the boat. A friendship strikes up between Mud and the kids as he recruits them to help him get off the island, as the bad guys circle. The film could have done with a little judicious editing for length but it’s a fine, enthralling tale nonetheless.
(7) “Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of the foodie class and decline of the record industry. Are the two related?”
(8) We’re heading to the Great Escape this week for some top-drawer binge-gigging (and some panel moderating). Acts on our hitlist include Iyes, James Bay, Josef Salvat, Bipolar Sunshine, Brolin, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Chloe Howl, Jagwar Ma, Kimberly Anne, Parquet Courts, Ruen Brothers, Sinead Harnett and Skaters, but we’ve always room on our dancecard for more, so tips from this list welcome.
(10) Garda patrol: we really hope the guards in Naas read this and think “Jaysus, this could be a great idea to bring in for the aul’ Oxegen”