Entries for April 2008

Articles

30
Gemma Hayes (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Despite the distraction of events elsewhere, Hayes and her band of merry men were able to put on a really impressive gig that showcased the Tipperary native as one of Ireland's brightest talents. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Anyone who reads my Key Notes Blog will know that I wasn't too sure about reviewing this gig.  After all, a certain European Cup semi-final was taking place at the same time and was pulling at my heartstrings.  However, despite missing out on Manchester United's victory, I made the right call by attending tonight's gig. Initially I was worried that the gig might not be well attended as the crowd - most of whom decided to forgo Ann Scott's performance for the action at Old Trafford - were late getting in.  More fool them.  Scott is a competent performer with a haunting voice that was particularly impre... [Read on]
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28
Electric Eel Shock (live in Fibber Magees, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Electric Eel Shock provided one of those nights where you arrive with very little expectation and leave with sweat on your brow and a smile on your face. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It's not very often I have to be convinced to go to a gig but tonight was one such occasion.  Having spent the day toiling in the never-ending mountain of work that is my garden, the last thing I wanted to do was spend an evening in the company of, well, anyone.  However, as is her way, my wife convinced me otherwise and Electric Eel Shock went on to provide one of the most high-energy shows I've seen in quite a while, proving once again that my prettier half is always right. Opening the night was Acoustic Eel Shock, essentially Electric Eel Shock's drummer Tomoharu 'Gian' Ito on an acoustic guitar.  It only lasted a handful of songs and he sang in Japanese but i... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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25
Elbow 'Seldom Seen Kid'
A review of the album 'Seldom Seen Kid' by Elbow Review Snapshot: Top class intelligent rock pop – Elbow could never make you happy but they could afford you a better class of misery. That’s all changed – Guy Garvey buys a "Choose Life!" teeshirt and drinks from the well of contentment. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: I spent a miserable weekend in 2001 listening to "Asleep at the back", the Elbow debut. It did not float my boat – too claustrophobic, too twitchy, too forbidding, too foreboding. Elbow were trading unashamedly in unhappiness and over an entire album their blackness faded into an uneasy and unlovable grey. I bought into "Seldom seen kid", their latest, because of Richard Hawley’s involvement. He duets with Elbow’s Guy Garvey, the band’s frontman, in the jaunty "the fix", where, get this, Elbow do Funny, and - even better - Sinfully Funny. The filter ti... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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16
Concerto For Constantine (live in Whelan's, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Concerto For Constantine rocked out a packed Whelan's. Their live show was brilliant, both musically and visually. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Concerto For Constantine consists of JJ72’s Mark Greaney, Idlewild’s Gavin Fox and Binzer of The Frames and Bell X1 fame. JJ72 remain one of my favourite Irish bands of all time and regard ‘I To Sky’ as one of the finest Irish records this decade. Their protracted demise frustrated and disappointed me, but I was full of excitement when I heard about Greaney’s latest project. They have been gigging since November but tonight, Binzer’s birthday, was my first experience of them. The stage is set. Dressed in a uniform of black overcoats, jeans and boots, Gavin Fox and Mark Greaney take to the stage illuminated by flashing strobe lights. They burst straight into an electrifying set. They pla... [Read on]
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10
Lupe Fiasco (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: On the tails of his hotly received second album 'The Cool', Chicago's Lupe Fiasco hits Dublin to energetically deliver a repertoire of songs that have seen Jay Z describe him as a "breath of fresh air". The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: “I'll tell you what you should do, Dumb it down” - that's a line belted out by Lupe Fiasco from his song 'Dumb it Down' during his visit to Dublin's Tripod on Saturday night. And he's a man of his word, with a no-fuss stage set up of him, a microphone and a DJ providing backing tracks. Given the extravagant stage shows endorsed by his contemporaries Kanye West and Pharrell Williams – with whom Fiasco founded supergroup Rebel Child Soldier – the stripped down stage presence was disappointing at first sight. Having previously witnessed Kanye West's mixture of groundbreaking ... [Read on]
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10
A review of the album 'A Cork Wake Tale' by Chris Bathgate Review Snapshot: The latest offering from Michigan folk artist Chris Bathgate, ‘A Cork Wake Tale’ is a decent and rewarding listen. Similarities to Sufjan Stevens can be seen, but unfortunately his talent is not as great as his contemporary. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Chris Bathgate’s talent is certainly not going unnoticed in his homestate of Michigan where he won ‘Best Solo Artist’ by the Detroit Free Press. This album is his first UK release, and he has become the latest folk artist to be put on heavy rotation by BBC Radio 2. The album opens with ‘Serpentine’. This sublime track turns out to be the highlight of the record. It’s a beautifully simple piano led ballad. Its cyclical melody sucks you in and absorbs you. While ‘Serpentine’ may be the highlight of the album, the rest does not disappoint. It is an eclectic mi... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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02
CLUAS Verdict: 8 out of 10 Review Snapshot: As ever running that fine line between rock, pop, electronica, alternative, and general unclassifiable, Dublin’s Ciarán Smith has produced an album of tracks that are well-written, well produced, well orchestrated and well performed. What more could you want? Review: Out On A Limb is close to becoming my favourite record label, indie or otherwise, and OOAL0011 - in real words Crayonsmith’s White Wonder - is even more quickly becoming one of my favourite albums. Crayonsmith’s early and possibly more familiar lo-fi sound has expanded and developed into something totally original and new to the Irish market. Subtle snatches of melody, classic if sometimes unexpected harmonic twists, droning percussive synths and charming vocals so beautifully layered and produced that you can almost imagine them standing in rows in front of you: percussion, guitars and synths in rows up each side and Ciarán stand... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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02
The Duke Spirit (live in The Village, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Undaunted by less than perfect sound, the headliners delivered up to their reputation and a set that left the crowd panting, even if the supports failed to make an impression. The Cluas Verdict?  7 out of 10 Full Review: Each time I go to the Village, I find another reason to dislike it as a venue. Sometimes it’s the crowd; sometimes the painfully cool and smooth veneer, its attempts at looking like an underground venue while having fake-marbled, mirror-lined bathrooms. On Sunday it was the sound. While the Village has one of the better sound systems in the Dublin area venue circuit, the effect of this is too often ruined by having the volume turned up to 11: four or five instruments become smushed into one mashed-up whole with occasional words, high registers become toneless squeals and low registers become painful thumps. So while the crowd was big and enthusiastic enough to absorb the volume &nda... [Read on]
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