Entries for May 2008

Articles

30
Times New Viking (live in Andrew's Lane Theatre, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Times New Viking played to small crowd on a Monday night. They gave it everything though. They were trashy, noisy and superb. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Times New Viking released their third album 'Rip It Off' to much fanfare in blogs and, most importantly, Pitchfork. Being signed to Matador had not caused them to change their sound away from their lofi home-recording beginnings on the Stillbreeze label. Instead 'Rip It Off' is like early Pavement going punkier. It's so noisy that it almost gives you a headache. Importantly though, it sounds great. So, on Monday night they brought their noise to Ireland. It was my first time in the new Andrew's Lane Theatre. It is a decent well designed venue, even if the artwork on the wall makes the place seem as though it's screaming out to be accepted by the Dublin 'scene'. The gig started... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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28
Midnight Juggernauts (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Midnight Juggernauts shocked the crowd's systems with overwhelming spacey sounds that were smothered with starry synth and disco beats. In short, amazing. But support group Late of The Pier upstaged them: their flamboyant, dramatic dancing set the night up for more than just yer usual gig... The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: When you wake up with a creak in your neck from dancing, you know that last night's gig was good. The evening began with a small boy at the foot of the stage, dressed in what can only be described as a batwinged jacket fashioned out of golden tinfoil. The boy (okay, he may have been about nineteen...) approached my friend LJ, announced 'I have a maraca', shook said maraca, and then jumped onto the stage like some kind of wonderboy athlete on stilts. It was then that I realised the boy (dare I say, young lad?) was part of the act - he started playing one of the ... [Read on]
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28
Jens Lekman (live in The Village, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Jens Lekman returned to Ireland to play the last date on his tour. An excellent gig from one of indie pop’s greatest performers. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Last December, Jens Lekman played to an adoring crowd in Whelan’s. It was just him and his percussionist, with a cameo from Owen Pallett (better known as Final Fantasy). That gig stands out for me as the best live experience of 2007. It finished with Lekman and Pallett playing a final 5 songs in the alley way beside Whelan’s. On Sunday night, he returned. This time he played next door at The Village. The place was crowded and there was an air of expectancy. Obviously, word had spread even further due to both his last performance, and his spectacular latest album, ‘Night Falls Over Kortedala’. As promised, he brought a full band this time. He opened with “I’m Leaving You Because I Don&r... [Read on]
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23
A review of the album 'Moment of Forever' by Willie Nelson   Review Snapshot: The last wise man of country music delivers the goods yet again. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Johnny is gone; Waylon is gone, only Willie is left. It’s hard to conceive now, given his superstardom, but Willie Nelson spent 15 years in Nashville trying in vain to get a hit record before throwing in his hat and returning to Texas where he finally started to create music that was not only true to his own creative vision but also connected with the album buying public. According to Robert Oermann and Douglas Green, part of Willie’s early difficulty was that his offbeat, eccentric, jazz influenced phrasing was at cross purposes with then dominant Nashville sound pioneered by Chet Atkins. The flipside of this however is that, as a result, Willie Nelson has never been solely a country music artist but rather an American music artist ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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22
Broken Social Scene (live in Vicar Street) Review Snapshot: Broken Social Scene played a long set at over two hours - the result was euphoric and full, but there was a bit of a lull for a couple of tracks. There was also the issue of the small man in front of me, whose Guinness farts threatened to ruin the overall sensory experience.  The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: I'm 5'4". At some venues I end up standing tiptoed to get a glimpse of a head-banging blurred face onstage. The result? Painful soles and a poor visual experience. At Vicar Street though, no matter where a 5'4" girl stands, she still manages to be able to see everyone on stage. The Broken Social Scene gig was my second at Vicar St. and the venue is proving to be kind on the ears and eyes - I had a perfect view of the full band. The night began with Charles Spearin’s Happiness Project - a quirky, fun introduction to Broken Social Scene. Charles played intervie... [Read on]
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21
Bruce Springsteen (live in Los Angeles) Review Snapshot: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street are on a roll and have gotten more intense and passionate as their tour has progressed. They continue to examine our bleak recent past, but are heralding some light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel hope for the future. Dublin is in for a rock and roll revival beyond compare. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: This is a follow up to a review of Springsteen’s show in October 2007. I was lucky enough to see the E Street band again, on their second go-round through the LA area. The show has changed a bit and is worthy of an update, as it is headed your way. Springsteen has (mostly) kept the key sequences in the show, i.e. the "5 pack" that ends the main set (Devil's Arcade/The Rising/Last To Die/Long Walk Home/Badlands), but has hugely mixed up the rest of the set, adding songs of joy and songs of anger with a renewed vigor. It has been suggested that he is ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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16
Battles (live in Vicar St, Dublin) Review Snapshot: More boring than bawlah. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: Last night, apparently, Vicar St. was the place to be; three bands, a sell out show, and more people than I’ve ever seen packed into this venue. The Red Neck Manifesto took to the stage shortly after nine o’clock, an expectant crowd wound up… and waited. The Manifesto are a hard band to pin point, they play a super tight no nonsense style of instrumental indie jazz that is easy to appreciate, but apparently a good deal harder to enjoy. I can’t explain why - all the ingredients are there - but it just ain’t funky. Somehow, amidst all the finesse, between the precise licks and subtle changes, life is lost. The gig, and the tunes, never kick off, never pull in the audience, never really get under your skin and make you wanna get up offa your thing. A packed venue, a crowd in the mood to party, an electric, expe... [Read on]
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15
A review of the album Pleasant Squares by Robotnik Review Snapshot:  Pleasant Square is a sonic walkabout that takes in influences as diverse as Radiohead and The Flaming Lips without ever losing its own sense of identity or purpose.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It must be very difficult being a musician and having a wide range of influences and yet being forced to stick to one particular genre for a record just so people like myself can put you away in a nice little box marked 'sounds like...'.  Not so for Robotnik, known to the passport office as 27 year old Dubliner Chris Morrin.  On his debut album, Pleasant Square, Robotnik has managed to take all those influences, merge them together and produce a work that is as unique as it is enjoyable. From the ambient beginnings of the Flaming Lips like Test 16:9 , through to the Weezer-esque harmonies of Puddlestarter, this album is an atmospheric ac... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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14
The Swell Season (live in the Uptown Theater, Kansas) Review Snapshot: The music was great, the stories were not. Glen and The Frames were as remarkable as ever in their performance and still have what it takes to wow new audiences. Marketa added texture and a breath of fresh air to to the proceedings. Unfortunately Glen's involved stories and self indulgent ramblings detracted from what was otherwise a stellar Frames performance. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: I’m a long-time Frames fan, I admit it. I first saw them in Dolans in Limerick, circa 1995, during my halcyon college days. I’ve interviewed Glen and Colm and been to my fair share of Frames gigs in the intervening years. My slavish following has waned in recent times, so it was an unusual pleasure to find myself in Kansas City, Missouri on a Monday night with tickets to see Glen and Marketa, aka The Swell Season. Upon walking into the Uptown Theater in Kans... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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14
A review of the album 'The Age Of The Understatement' by The Last Shadow Puppets Review Snapshot: So here's Alex Turner's side project: a fairly unoriginal Scott Walker pastiche, with Duran Duran-esque lyrics. Of course, this must be down to that bloody Miles Kane, right? The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: Comparing The Last Shadow Puppets with The Raconteurs is obvious, but it's still worth our while: Both Jack White and Alex Turner have won extravagant acclaim in their day-job groups (The White Stripes and The Arctic Monkeys respectively) for little other than flogging retro-rock to nostalgic middle-aged music hacks and twentysomethings who are prematurely nostalgic and middle-aged. However, White's side-project made the daring leap from '70s rock to... '60s rock, that of The Small Faces and George's songs on 'Rubber Soul' and 'Revolver'. And what do you know? Turner's time machine has followe... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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