Entries for August 2007

Articles

23
The Killers (live at the Sziget Festival, Budapest) Review Snapshot: The Killers close Budapest's 15th Sziget festival with a Sam's Town-heavy set and a Joy Division cover. The CLUAS Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full review: If there’s such a thing as being too good, The Killers are it. Called into action early on the last night of Sziget 2007 after Chris Cornell failed to show, the band never put a foot wrong in a 90 minute set. Brandon Flowers, in a Victorian looking black-white outfit that looked right he’d been out shopping, went right into 'Sam’s Town'. It didn’t help dapper Flowers and co that the only other English-language act to measure up to the whole evening on the main stage – after Cornell pulled out - was Juliette Lewis and her Licks, and that’s setting a low bar. Hanoi Rocks down on the HammerWorld stage deserved a slot more than Lewis and co, inexplicably still securing main stages on Europe&rsq... [Read on]
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23
Razorlight (live at the Sziget Festival, Budapest) Review Snapshot: A full bodied performance by Borrell and company who led the Brit contingent at the US-dominated rock segment of this year's Sziget in Budapest. The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: British bands and fans are colonizing many of Europe’s best festivals – note Spain’s Benicassim becoming an Alicante of its former colourful, multinational self. Thankfully Sziget has a massive pool of local talent to balance things out, and big US names. But the Rakes and Razorlight were well chosen Brit presence on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday respectively. A slice of what sounded like Edith Piaf wafted over the dry ice and the band appeared and then segued into the opening chords of 'In the Morning'. Appearing like a hairy, postmodern angel in a kitschy Darkness-like white leopard suit with a split front, Borrell had the goods and delivered them with some panache. A full b... [Read on]
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23
Fanfare Ciocarlia (live at the Sziget Festival, Budapest) Review Snapshot: Romania-based brass specialists Fanfare Ciocarlia invited some of Europe's best gypsy performers to join them in making make deleriously danceable music for a giant crowd at the Sziget main world music stage.  The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: Few festivals have the kind of luck that Sziget has, to be in the midst of such genius. From Romania, Fanfare Ciocarlia continues a tradition going back to the Ottoman Empire when gypsy bands picked up gigs and instruments from Ottoman armies retreating from Europe. Tonight Fanfare Ciocarlia's show opens with a trio of Flamenco-looking gypsy guitarists in cool, neat-fitting black sit in chairs by the front of the stage and cut their guitars into a flamenco tune, the lyrics in Catalan. It all looked far too clean and polished for Fanfare Ciocalia, known for their lack of self consciouness and pretension. And then the pot bellie... [Read on]
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23
Duke Special live in Portlaoise, Ireland Review Snapshot: The Duke returns to the town of a previous nightmare gig, but this time wins the audience over, not once, but twice, with successive concerts within hours of each other, and proves that he's the perfect gentleman, both on and off stage. The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: My six-year old daughter is one of Duke's youngest fans, so we brought her to see him live, and not only did she witness a great performance, she got to meet him, got the autograph and photo, and the T-Shirt literally. As part of The World Fleadh, Duke Special was back in Portlaoise to perform twice in one night, beginning with an intimate gig at the Dunamaise Theatre. He opened the show with 'Some Things Make Your Soul Free' and 'Closer To The Start' before telling the crowd how happy he was to be here as part of the World Fleadh. After the uptempo 'Brixton Leaves', some of the crowd wanted to k... [Read on]
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23
Sinead O'Connor live at the Sziget festival (Budapest) Review Snapshot: Solid renditions of her staple songs, but the wrong venue for Sinead O'Connor, who played after a jubilant Razorlight to a crowd more up for rock n 'roll than an artist The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full review: Sziget’s sound system, cranky earlier in the festival, wasn't helped by a strong breeze that seemed to carry patches of opening song Emperor's New Clothes to the nether regions of the venue. Sound quality aside, it was obvious from the start however that a large section of the crowd was undecided between O'Connor or burgers. Sinead O’Connor’s inclusion on the Sziget 2007 bill seemed ill judged, particularly since she was put on the main stage after Razorlight and before Faithless, neither of whom share fanbases with her. It didn’t help that she kept us waiting about half an hour over the announced start time. O'Connor engaged t... [Read on]
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22
World Fleadh Festival 2007 (Portlaoise)
The Proclaimers, Katie Melua & others live The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: A 1:00pm start on Sunday was always going to be tough on he opening act, and Nizlopi drew the short straw. To be fair to John & Luke, they put in a professional performance in front of a handful of people, who like me all just wanted to hear the ‘JCB Song’. Sandi Thom rocked the place with a cover of ‘Proud Mary’ while telling the crowed that it was her 26th Birthday the previous day. She saved the singles  ‘What If I’m Right’ and ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker’ till the end, but the only criticism that took the gloss off her performance, was her refusal to sign an autograph for two fans who’d made themselves visible to her afterwards. Despite been 20 feet away, she turned and walked the other way. Duhks were a lot more accessible, and as the evening wore on Flook and Carlos Nunez also performed on the main stage... [Read on]
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16
Australian roots activists return with their fourth long player. The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10 John Mayer, Roy Harper, Dave Matthews… how you react to that list pretty much determines whether the John Butler Trio are your bag or not. The John Butler Trio are led by Mr Butler himself. Native of North America, he moved to Australia at age 10. Grand National is the band’s third album and he is credited almost single-handedly with making roots music fashionable down under - roots music being an umbrella term covering  a kind of looping, groovy brand of rock replete with wah-wah guitar solos, banjos, lap-steel and vaguely political lyrics. He preaches peace (man) and has the dreadlocks to show he takes it all very seriously. The opening track (and lead off single in Australia) is the highlight of the album. Better Than is funky, melodic and soars over the rest of the tunes on the album in that it does not sound forced. It is driven by an insistent ba... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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15
CLUAS Verdict:  5 out of 10 A brave but, alas, futile, attempt at greatness; Everything Last Winter is the debut album from Fields. The goal of Fields and their producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers) seems to have been to make Everything Last Winter a multi-textured indie pop record that gave the listener a new experience each time. However, the more one listens, the more one becomes frustrated with the bands attempts to shoehorn the ghost of Nick Drake and the soul of Fleetwood Mac into the same song. Put simply; there is just too much happening on this record to make it an enjoyable multiple-listening experience. The difficulties faced by the listeners can be summed up in two songs. Both If You Fail We All Fail and Feathers, being the two most obvious attempts at combining the bodily fulid swapping intimacy of the bands earlier work and their new mega-stadium filling rock pretensions, start brightly enough. However, the cacophony of sound... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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09
Live at the Awer IDP Camp, Gulu, Uganda  (July 2007) Review Snapshot: This gig was nothing like any I have ever been to before. I’ve been scratching my head trying to come up with a frame of reference, and all I’ve drawn are blanks. Was this a great gig? Well though was nothing like Toots & The Maytals in Vicar St, it was a different type of good. It was one of the most memorable gigs I have ever been to, the atmosphere was amazing, (the music more often than not wasn’t!), hell, it was probably a once in a lifetime experience. The CLUAS Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full review: We had arrived in Gulu two days previously, hot, sweaty and sore after a seemingly never ending bus ride from Kampala, a journey broken only by infrequent stops either to allow half the bus time to piss against its back tyre, or chain smoke in petrol stations. Gulu itself is a relatively small town in the north of Uganda, and for the last 20 years it has been large... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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09
The Aftermath live in the Stables, Mullingar Review Snapshot: Walking away relatively unscathed from a serious road accident the previous week, Mullingar’s finest The Aftermath return for a triumphant hometown gig in The Stables. The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: Before tonight’s main act The Aftermath, Pete Courtney seems like the calm before the storm. There is a delicate touch to his music, a subtle sophistication that is most evident in his upcoming new single ‘Instinct’, which gets an airing tonight. It is a beautiful piece of gentle melancholy, so good it even quietens the more talkative elements of the audience. No mean feat. In a country brimming over with soporific acoustic troubadours, Courtney stands out. The Aftermath know how to put on a show. On limited resources, they endeavour to make this gig both visually and aurally appealing. With their equipment festooned with glowing fairy-lights and a back projection showing... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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