Key Notes - an Irish music blog by Steven O'Rourke

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HWCH Festival Diary (Day 3)

Sep 15

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Monday, September 15, 2008  RssIcon

Key Notes reports on an entertaining, if wet, final day of HWCH 2008.

Sunday evening in Key Note Towers usually involves this blog lying on the couchNew Amusement - a cold beer in one hand and the remote control in the other - flicking between La Liga and American Football. As you can imagine, Mrs. Key Notes isn’t a big fan of Sunday’s as all hope of this blog finally putting that coving up or fixing the door on the washing machine is lost for another week. Therefore, standing in the freezing rain that enveloped Meeting House Square yesterday as Scottish band Larmousse played to just 15 people, almost a third of whom were Sons & Daughters, was positively exhilarating.

Alas, the same could not be said for Larmousse, whose meandering songs lack the necessary musicianship to keep an audience captivated (that’s a nicer way to say they were boring, very, very boring) and, towards the end of the set, Mrs. Key Notes was resorting to rude jokes to keep herself entertained. It was time to move on.

And move on we did, tough only as far as Eamon Dorans to get out of the rain. As a quick aside, Key Notes is of the opinion that Dorans has the potential to be one of Dublin’s best venues. However, when you serve drinks in warm and, worse still, unclean glasses it doesn’t matter how ’cool’ a facade you have. There is a very good reason why ‘Empty’ Dorans is generally the only bar in the Temple Bar area with room to breathe in.

Suitably grumpy, we made our way back to Meeting House Square to catch the double header of Armoured Bear and New Amusement. Key Notes was impressed with Armoured Bear and their quirky acoustic driven pop. However, if the lead singer mentioned the name of the band one more time (or, indeed, the fact they were from Cork), this blog could not have been held responsible for his actions. Key Notes understands that you have to promote yourself, but not at the risk of annoying your audience.

At the other end of the spectrum, by almost forgetting to tell everyone who they were, came New Amusement. A much larger (though still relatively small) crowd had assembled by this stage and included CLUAS’ very own Ian Wright. Unfortunately, Key Notes couldn’t stick around for the whole set as the rain just became too much. Seeking shelter, Mrs. Key Notes and I went to the Music Centre (Button Factory) where Mackerel the Cat was wearing a silly hat. A quick wave to Niamh Madden (or text as it happens) who will no doubt provide a full review later and we were off again to Academy 2 for Robotnik.

A man with a horse’s head, a rainbow umbrella, a miniature guitar, raincoats inside and a drummer wearing sunglasses (which always reminds Key Notes of It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses). It could only be Robotnik. Anna Murray was amongst the biggest audience Key Notes had seen over the course of the weekend and will attest to just how good this guy is. Songs about mortgages don’t sound appealing but when you start a fight with a man with a horse’s head it doesn’t matter that you’ve forgotten your capo and shortened your set because you can’t get your instruments to work. It was Key Notes favourite performance of the weekend.

As the rain continued to fall we (now being joined by two friends) made our way back to the Music Centre for Carly Sings. Despite being in possession of a beautiful voice, one that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, it just all seemed rather dull after the high energy Robotnik. Of course, it’s not her fault that a poor piece of scheduling left her as the penultimate act in the Music Centre on a night when a venue such as 4 Dame Lane would have been much more suitable.

The last performance of the evening was Autamata, whose Colours of Sound album is one of Key Notes favourite albums of the last few years. This blog was less than impressed with the live performance though but that may have been more to do with the audience. Isn’t it deliciously ironic that an artist who does away with all concept of scenes and genres is followed by such a scenester crowd? Or is that an ironic use of the word ironic? While Key Notes is at it, who dresses like that on a Sunday night; don’t you people have work tomorrow?

It’s late and Key Notes is beginning to sound like his dad. This blog is off to bed. However, before he does, Key Notes would like to add that while day three of HWCH 2008 combined the best bits of Friday (catching up with friends) and Saturday (some great performances), this blog worries about the festivals future, a topic that it will deal with in the coming days. Finally, a big thank you to Niamh, Anna & Ian for their time and effort over the course of the weekend. Key Notes, signing out.

Photo: Lindsey Foley

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3 comment(s) so far...


Re: HWCH Festival Diary (Day 3)

Hey Steve, sorry bout your bad xperience on Sunday in ol' 'Emptys'...we're having a few problems at the moment that we're trying to sort out...please bare with us... there really is no excuse for warm beer although yours was probably a free bottle of becks (im just guessing)... BUT we will continue to provide a platform for original live music 7 nights a week all the same AND try keep the glasses spotless.You didn't mention what band/s you and mrs key notes saw whilst you were taking shelter from the rain in our not so salubrious surroundings and although i missed it meself i was reliably informed that So Cow,The 202s and Sweet Jane were great with the highlight being The Vinny Club who ripped it up to a packed house at 1am.(yes that late!)Thanks too for your kind words on the potential of ED' of that same opinion too...see you next year at our 15th birthday in the much larger though still relatively small bar we love to call Eamonn Dorans... X d

By dermot doran on   Friday, September 19, 2008

Re: HWCH Festival Diary (Day 3)

Hi Dermot (assuming it is actually you and not someone with too much time on their hands),It was a bottle of Corona from the upstairs bar before HWCH had kicked off in ED's for the night. MRs Key Notes bailey's was served with the dirty glass. It's not my first bad experience of poor front of house service in ED either, though I understand you can't control your staff 24/7. That being said, my criticism was meant to be constructive (and it looks as if you've taken it that way) and I'm delighted you are making steps to improve the place (it shouldn't take much), 'cause it really does have some excellent potential. Good luck with your 15th Birthday next year, a year that will see CLUAS celebrating it's 10th.

By Steve on   Friday, September 19, 2008

Re: HWCH Festival Diary (Day 3)

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