The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Rev Jules'

23

 

 

When I started the Sound Waves Blog three years ago, my intention was to explore music, surfing and their interrelationship with each other at a time when Ireland's own surf culture was on the brink of exploding into the mainstream. Looking back on some of the topics dealt with over those years,I'm surprised at the diversity of the material covered and the number of musicians spotlighted in the postings; many of whom are equally at home on daytime radio as they are on alternative rock shows. In a nutshell, surf culture has become so absorbed into the mainstream of Irish popular culture in the last year or so that it has become increasingly hard to find something distinctive about Irish surf culture that is worth highlighting; perhaps the best example of this absorbtion into the wider culture is Ross O'Carroll Kelly's hilarious take off of the AIB Surf Adverts in the Irish Times.

One question I did not grapple with on the blog however was why did surfing get so big in Ireland at this point in history and why were Irish surfers being increasingly drawn from the ranks of lawyers, accountants, and the financial services ? Sure, the increased wealth of the Irish played a part, surfing only developed originally in Hawaii because the natural wealth of the islands was so great that the Hawaiians discovered the concept of free time away from work, but more than that I think that surfing might have offered an escape for people away from an increasingly frenetic and corrupt corporate culture in Irish professional life; perhaps surfing represented to the frazzled professional some cold water Eden where mobile phones could not go. Who knows?

If I was to choose the tipping point for the changes that I have documented in this blog then that point would be Jack Johnson's 2006 concert in the Point Depot. For myself however, this wave of change closed out in another live music event, the 2009 Cois Fharraige, in Kilkee. Returning home after those concerts, I felt that the time had come for new directions. Personally, I was tired of being an interloper on the West coast, putting up with the seemingly endless driving, lousy food, over priced digs and the increasingly crowded and unfriendly line ups. I got back to Dublin, sold off my surf boards and with the money purchased myself a 12 foot Hawaiian shaped stand up paddle board. Now I spend every available spare moment on the water just minutes from my home, rather than hours in my car, and I get on with my life instead of putting it on hold.

See you in the water.

Jules Jackson

 

 


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08

If there has been one technological development that has changed forever the way that surfers hunt for waves, it is the internet. Of the many web based applications that have assisted in the search for stoke, a few have achieved eminence, namely Google Earth, Wind Guru and Magic Seaweed. Indeed, Google Earth even begat the now famous Surfing Magazine Google Earth Challenge.

Many a surfer has become bleary eyed staring at the screen of a laptop or PC, gazing at these websites in an attempt to answer the eternal question, "Where do I head to in order to find waves?". The only problem being that once on the road it was hard to update your information on changing conditions, without ringing a pal with immediate access to an internet connected computer.

That all changed with the release of the i-phone, which not only allows you to browse your favourite wave prediction websites on the go but also allows you to download i-phone tailored versions of same. So important has this little technological wonder become to the surfing community that it has become indispensible in a way that wetsuits and surf boards [which can be hired locally] are not; you can even buy the damn thing it's own hoodie. Go figure.


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16

Artist: Noah & The Whale

Song: Blue Skies

Album: The First Days of Spring


Artist: The Hold Steady

Song: Stay Positive

Album: Stay Positive

 

Artist: Doves

Song: Winter Skies

Album: Kingdom of Rust

 

Artist: The Blizzards

Song: First Girl to Leave Town

Album: A Public Display of Affection

 

Artist: Laura Izibor

Song: Shine

Album: Truth to be Told

 

Artist: The Zutons

Song: Hello Conscience

Album: Tired of Hanging Around

 

Artist: Stereo MCs

Song: Black Gold

Album: Double Bubble

 

[Image Credit: 'Walking on Water', shot by Rev Jules, Co. Clare 13th September 2009]

 


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15

Live in Kilkee, Co. Clare, 13th September 2009

Review Snapshot: Due to a tyre puncture on the way back from a surf session in neighbouring Doonbeg, yours truly was unavoidably delayed en route to the evening festivities in Kilkee, arriving in the Big Top just in time to see Stereo MCs walk on stage. Whew!

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:
Stereo MCs: Looking around at the young wans who were waving their hands in the air to dance anthems such as ‘Black Gold’ and ‘Step it Up’ it was sobering to realise that a good proportion of them probably weren’t
born when Stereo MCs released their first album. Once again the crisp, clean and loud sound mix that was a hallmark of this year’s festival proved a boon to the groovy tunes of a group who mix infectious beats with upfront, if stripped down, political statements. The only question was, why schedule them on the Sunday, when so many attendees were heading home for work on the Monday morning, instead of the Saturday night when they would have elevated an already party hearty crowd? Nonetheless, if you stayed around for them, you got yours.

The Zutons: In a nutshell, I loved this band, delivering a razor sharp performance, The Zutons ‘s unique sound nonetheless managed to channel elements of bands as diverse as the The Beatles and The E Street Band. Their note perfect, steam train rock and roll was the perfect end to what was a weekend of great music in a setting that has so much to offer, provided you don’t keep your arse parked on the grass with a pint in your hand. Yes, the Zutons duly played hits such as, ‘Valerie’, ‘Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?’ and, as a finale, a storming version of, ‘You Will You Won’t’, but to be honest the whole set was a highlight and, yes, Abi Harding was looking particularly fine in a red dress, but it was great to hear four great musicians just go out there and play their socks off, get the crowd involved and turn the Big Top into the sort of party that Bruce Springsteen rhapsodises about. Transcedent.

Rev Jules


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14

Bodhi: If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love. [Point Break, 1991]

Sound Waves is saddened to hear of the untimely death of Patrick Swayze, the Texas born actor, choreographer and dancer who made some of the most iconic  movies of the 1980s and 1990s and who, in the character of Bodhi, embodied a particular kind of surfing archetype; the zen master wave rider who takes a wrong turning in his life onto a road paved with darkness, a classic theme revisted in Tim Winton's recent novel, "Breath"

Although the character of Bodhi was a synthesis, the line of dialogue quoted above and the film's final scene on Bells Beach was clearly inspired by Mark Foo, the famous Hawaiian surfer who died in a freak accident at Mavericks and who was often quoted as saying, "If you want to ride the ultimate wave, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price"


Although sometimes derided for being melodramatic, 'Point Break' has endured in popular culture and Sound Waves has yet to meet a surfer who is unable to quote memorable lines from the movie. Given the outstanding physicality of Swayze's onscreen performances, it is a cruel irony that his death was caused by a disease that slowly robs patients of their physical well being long before claiming their lives.

Perhaps the most fitting tribute one can pay to this brilliant, yet underrated Hollywood Star is to remember him as he is in that final scene in 'Point Break' standing in his wet suit on the beach in the rain, preparing to paddle out into a giant wave which he knows will take his life in the briefest and most thrilling manner possible.

Australian cop: We'll get him when he comes back in!

Johnny Utah: He's not coming back.

 


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13

Cois Fharraige Day Two (live in Kilkee, Co. Clare)

Review Snapshot: There were thousands of people walking around Kilkee on Saturday sporting the latest in surf fashion but in the water at Lahinch, Spanish Point and Doonbeg you could count the surfers on two hands. Meanwhile back at the festival, The Hold Steady, Noah and The
Whale and Newton Faulkner served up some savage musical entertainment

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:
The Hold Steady
Looking like the cast of Seinfeld decided to form a band, the anxious nerd rock of The Hold Steady proved the perfect antidote to the mellow
sunlit vibes that have blessed the festival thus far, with ‘Stay Positive’ being a crowd highlight. The band’s hard chugging sound and neuroses laced lyrics were an unusual counterpoint to a festival that, thus far, has aimed for a balance between very serious rock and music that you can drink to. If you are the sort of person who curses the sunshine and stays indoors with a book by Albert Camus then this may just be your kind of band.

Noah & The Whale
The opportunity to see Noah and The Whale perform live versions of tracks from their new album, ‘The First Days of Spring’ which the Sunday Times has described as a ‘masterpiece’, was a bona fide must see for this reviewer but for anyone expecting a game of throw the inflatable chair around the crowd to ‘Five Years Time’ then this set would have been a bit of a surprise. The band walked onstage with the confident gait that musicians adopt when they realise they may have produced an album to match ‘Astral Weeks’ or ‘Transformer’ and then, dour to the point of uncommunicative, proceeded to play the highlights of, ‘The First Days of Spring’, their only nod to their audience being to tell us their name.

Given the emotional punch and musical delicacy of Noah and The Whale’s music, I’m not sure the party atmosphere of the Big Top at Kilkee was the best forum to for this performance, the audience only engaging with them to sing along with their hit single ‘Five Years Time [Sun, Sun, Sun], but for this reviewer at least ‘Blue Skies’ was a highlight and I can imagine people who spent the day drinking down by the beach later claiming that they were here for this gig, tough if you weren’t.

Newton Faulkner
Based on the love shown to the dreadlocked Faulkner when he appeared on stage, it looks like the Irish are going to do for him what they have previously done for Chris Rea, David Gray and Josh Ritter. Mixing new tracks from his new, as yet unreleased album ‘Rebuilt by Humans’,
with favourites from his hit debut ‘Hand built by Robots’, Faulkner was clearly playing to a crowd that knew and loved his work.

Supporting himself with a variety of unusual musical instruments such as a cassette tape player and a keyboard that he played with his feet,
Faulkner’s guitar style owes more to Bobby McFerrin and Stanley Jordan then it does the standard white bloke with an acoustic guitar. It is
also fortunate that Faulkner is an excellent showman, whipping the crowd up at one point with a routine in which he asked them to imagine
themselves as a crew of pirates suffering from rabies, on a ship headed to shore, to confront their arch enemies the barbarian hordes.  Having said that, Faulkner’s self penned material to date does not match the quality of his brilliant reworking of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ which affords him the perfect vehicle to showcase his musical abilities.

Rev Jules


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12

Day One of Cois Fharraige (live in Kilkee, Co. Clare)

Review Snapshot: A beautiful sunny day ended with a blistering set by epic rockers Doves, grooves from Laura Izibor and post punk larking around courtesy of The Blizzards).

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:
Laura Izibor
Presently touring with a crack American band, Izibor delivered a pumping set of beefed up versions of the highlights of her debut album. The live setting and the crisp, clear sound gave added power to crowd favourites, ‘From My heart To Yours’, ‘Carousel’ and ‘Yes, I’ll be Your Baby’, but it was a stonking version of ‘Shine’, transformed from a feel good summer tune to a grooving, funky anthem that best demonstrated Izibor’s ability to transfer her mellow, laid back soul into a live arena.

The Blizzards
Coming on stage bathed in purple light and accompanied by moody background music, the cheeky chappies of The Blizzards wasted no time in getting the party started right. Mixing tracks such ‘Silence is Violence’ and ‘Postcards’ [dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11] with a thumping cover version of ‘Black & Gold’, a tribute to The Specials and a sneaky riff on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, The Blizzards delivered a set that buoyed up the party attitude of the crowd without betraying their Ska/Punk roots.

Doves
I had never seen this band live before and was unprepared for the relentless, pounding sonic assault that they delivered. Indeed, so overpowering was their music that two songs in I realised that the thumping in my chest was not caused by my own heart but by the waves of sound coming from the speakers. In a nutshell, with live favourites including ‘Snowden’ and ‘The Last Broadcast’, Doves make music akin to a giant beating a whale to death with a tree trunk in a canyon. What
an utterly glorious epic racket.  An encore that climaxed with the band all playing percussion instruments together left me staggering out into the crisp, cold night feeling dazed, confused and exhilarated.

Rev Jules


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23

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0ZPTFfpO40


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23

 

http://www.themoth.org/listen


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Nuggets from our archive

2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).