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Articles: Gig Reviews

01
The Hold Steady (live in Dublin)
The Hold Steady (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Playing to audience of 30 something men, The Hold Steady deliver a set much appreciated by the many converted in the audeience. A band however lacking the urgency and depth to ever become a major force in rock music. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: The first thing that is noticeable upon entering The Academy tonight is the clientele. Without exaggeration, the crowd is made up of 90% men. The Hold Steady’s combination of classic and geek rock appealing, based on those in attendance tonight, more to the male 30 something demographic than any other, The band, who have forged a career by releasing consistently decent albums, struck up a genuine bond between band and audience from the off in The Academy. Even so, front man Craig Finn looked somewhat out of place. Reminiscent of a young Elvis Costello, his on-stage dancing borders on embarrassing-uncle-at-a-60th territory whilst si... [Read on]
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27
Imelda May (live in Dublin)
Imelda May (live in The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland) Review Snapshot: For such a small woman, Imelda May has a huge presence, controlling not only the stage but the crowds sense of control as well, with everyone losing control alongside her. The queen of Rockabilly has returned to her home town and no sense of grandeur following her rise to the top  is going to pull this girl from her roots. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Coming back to Dublin after a year of commercial success with critical praise and international stardom, one could fear that Imelda May could have lost sight of where it all began. She hasn’t. Catching the first of four end of the year shows in the Olympia Theatre, a venue I have called once before a place of faded grandeur, where better to let your hair down and revel in your success.   May comes out on the stage showing off what she’s known best for, her style, charisma, an insurmountab... [Read on]
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27
The Pogues (live in Sheffield)
The Pogues (live in The O2 Academy, Sheffield) Review Snapshot:  'They sang us songs from times long-gone / though we knew that we’d be seeing them again' – a fiddled lyrical quote from The Pogues romping rendition of Sally MacLennane. One that highlights the cloud of uncertainty over the authenticity of this year’s fantastic farewell performance by Shane MacGowan and his merry men. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Fabled festive farewell or not, this was a grand performance from The Pogues in a season which they dominate. The agonising wait until they take to the floor is warmed by choruses of Body of an American recited by the eager crowd.  When the doddery Shane MacGowan finally blunders onto stage he’s greeted with a hero’s reception and passionate chants of ‘Shano’ despite appearing as if he has been unceremoniously awoken or directed away from the backstage bar. Is that a sl... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, UK
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21
Two Door Cinema Club (live in Dublin)
Two Door Cinema Club (live in The Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Having finally gained access to The Tripod after being refused entrance at 17 with a fake ID you could forgive Alex Trimble for looking a little nervous on stage, this time facing a sold out headline show with a 1400 strong crowd. With just one album under their belt one wondered whether this band could live up to standard everyone else seems to have set them.  The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: As it turns out, you don’t need more than one strong album's worth of material to pull off a headline show. Not when you have two equally strong opening acts and the right kind of music playing in between to keep the crowds energy pumping. Opening the doors at 7:30, you could tell the small crowd standing outside were glad to be out of the cold. It wasn’t long before we were faced with the dazzling flash of strobe lights staring blindingly at a trio that can only be ... [Read on]
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21
Caribou (live in Dublin)
Caribou (live in The Button Factory, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Studio whizzkid with a strong live reputation brings his album of the year - Swim contender to the slushy streets of Dublin. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Dublin is getting back on its feet (literally) after as severe a bout of cold weather as this gig-goer can ever remember enduring, Grafton Street is a slushy muddy hive of after work Christmas drinkers and shoppers. We beat a path down through the shopping thoroughfare, across Temple Bar and over a beggar strewn Halfpenny Bridge before settling into the Grand Social (Formally Pravda) on Liffey Street. The Grand Social is a very welcome addition to the Dublin indie pub scene, Gil Scott Heron's ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane‘ is playing on the stereo which for me denotes bar staff with rather excellent taste in music. They also have Leffe beer on tap which they serve by the pint - fantastic.    We tr... [Read on]
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13
The Frames (live in Dublin)
The Frames (live in The Olympia, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The Frames haven’t played a small venue in Ireland in a while but Glen Hansard has proven that no matter how long he’ll stay away from his roots he’ll always return with a bang. From ‘Santa Maria’ and ‘Revelate’ to his minute covers in the middle of songs (tonight it was the turn of ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Lilac Wine’). He showed it wasn’t all serious as he delivered over-served fans with his wit the now expected quips and anecdotes between songs. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review:  “I want my life to make more sense… I want my country to make some f**king sense!” he quips halfway through the show proving that Glen Hansard isn’t as removed from the everyman as his fame would have you believe. Sell-out tours with The Swell Season and getting his hands on an Oscar has not removed this busker from his roo... [Read on]
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09
Local Natives (live in Dublin)
Local Natives (live in The Village, Dublin) Review Snapshot: LA Hipsters Local Natives roll into town to play a work unfriendly Monday night at The Village in Dublin, the reviewer can't help but be reminded of sunnier times the previous July. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Ado decided to drive in so I sat in the house watching Australian Masterchef waiting for the lad to pull up outside the door in his ridiculous PlayStation-like BMW. The phone rings. It's himself, too lazy to get out of the car and knock on the door and, to be honest, when it is this cold I don't blame the buck one bit. Local Natives all the way from California playing The Village on a Monday night. I got into them during the summer in my uncle's vacant house on the Aran Islands, my girlfriend from Montreal was playing albums on her iPod for myself and two friends while we drank wine in the long grass and watched the sun set out over the west coast of Mayo. H... [Read on]
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04
Lady Gaga (live in Dublin)
Lady Gaga (live in The O2, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The Madonna comparisons are obvious. They both write and sing, the choreography is similar in parts, Alejandro is the new La Isla Bonita but I’ve never seen Madonna play the piano the way Gaga can. She’s here for the long haul and I’ve no doubt, on tonight’s performance we’re watching the artist of this decade. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: The world’s current most famous pop star returned to Dublin for the first of 3 nights at the o2 for a two-hour show split into four acts culminating with her Monster Ball. Act 1 was set around a New York City backdrop for the opening numbers ‘Dance In The Dark’ and ‘Glitter And Grease’ as her green car breaks down in the Big Apple, but fear not, under the bonnet is a piano which she plays during ‘Just Dance’. There’s a constant changing of costumes throughout ‘Beautiful... [Read on]
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15
Paul McCartney (live in Dublin)
Paul McCartney (live in the RDS, Dublin) Review Snapshot: 165 minutes, of 36 songs ranging from The Beatles, Wings, The Fireman and McCartney's solo material, throw in a fireworks display to rival Sydney Bridge on New Years Day and you’ve only a taster of Paul’s RDS gig in the summer sunshine.  The Cluas Verdict? 10 out of 10 Full Review: sung That seven year itch for a McCartney gig at Dublin’s RDS came back around last night, and in the summer sunshine he put on a stomping rocking show for nearly 3 hours, that would leave fellow musicians half his age speechless. The fact that his beloved England had a World Cup match at the same time meant that the gig was delayed in starting until half-time in the game. Was it worth the wait?   At 8:30pm the band walked on stage to huge applause, and began with Venus And Mars / Rockshow and Jet before McCartney tried a bit of the local tongue. “Failte Romhat Go Leir”... [Read on]
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05
Joanna Newsom (live in Paris)
Joanna Newsom (live in La Villette, Paris, 31 May 2010) Review Snapshot: An excellent album takes flight as a sensational live show. With careful arrangements, the indie harpist and her band deliver a dramatic and stirring performance with all the force of a full orchestra. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: "Kate Bush," says someone behind us, trying to describe tonight's star before she appears on stage. It's an understandable comparison, given that both ladies write idiosyncratic songs which they then sing in an arabesque upper register. But it would be more interesting and accurate to compare Joanna Newsom with Owen Pallett, appearing at the same venue the following night as part of an imaginative 'Villette Sonique' series of shows. Ostensibly indie acts, both singers make sweeping, ambitious music beyond categorisation, flavoured by diverse influences like show tunes and American folk - yet ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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