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Articles: Gig Reviews

16
St Vincent, Papercuts, Camera Obscura (live in St Malo)
St Vincent, Papercuts and Camera Obscura (live at La Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: A sensational performance from Annie Clark is the highlight of day two and perhaps eventually the entire festival. Papercuts shore up their alt-folk sound for maximum festival effect, while Camera Obscura are sheer pop fun. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The second day of La Route du Rock promised more subtle charms than last night's sonic thunderstorm. While headliners My Bloody Valentine eventually left many people cold, today the festival's first real star appeared. More of that later. First, though, we were impressed by San Franciscan Jason Quever and his band Papercuts. If you like the haziness of their album, 'You Can Have What You Want', you may be surprised to hear them live. On record their songs are alt-folk shuffles but tonight they have a sturdier indie-rock shape to them - the pulsing bass of 'Future Primitive', f... [Read on]
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15
My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, Tortoise (live in St Malo)
My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter and Tortoise (live at La Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: Three cult acts share an impressive bill on the Breton coast. The excellent Deerhunter continue the fine tradition of VU and Sonic Youth alt-rock. Tortoise get loud and funky but once or twice go over the head of the more party-minded festival-goers. And MBV leave mixed feelings; while impressive in many respects the whole thing feels a little stale and there's so much more to their music than bludgeoning noise. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The first day of La Route du Rock, and everyone is preoccupied by noise. The nearby village of Chateauneuf-de-Ille-et-Vilaine has been warned about the aural assault they can expect around midnight, and residents there are scowling slightly at any blow-ins collaborating with the forces of sonic blitzkrieg. On the festival site, there's a scramble for earplugs. And in the media zone all talk is of tod... [Read on]
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10
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (live in Vancouver)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (live in The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver) Review Snapshot: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart put on a great show, marred only slightly by some odd song choices. The fun noise pop of the album translated excellently to their live show. Their debut is still one of my most highly recommended albums of the year thus far, and they did not disappoint in concert. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: In a rather regal basement in an old hotel on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart delighted and exhilarated the near-capacity crowd with their brand of indie pop. The ceilings are low and the bar sells cans. There are rugs on the floor and stag heads on the wall. The venue holds the atmosphere perfectly. The band took to the stage at eleven to greet their audience, already primed by the excellent Girls. They opened, oddly, on a track off their lesser known debut EP, leaving the crowd rather subdued until th... [Read on]
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04
Day Two of Castlepalooza 2009 Review Snapshot: The expected rain finally hit Castlepalooza on Sunday, though it did little to dampen spirits that were still high from the day before, while the second day saw some of the best performances of the weekend. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: The Hot Sprockets, mostly dull though they were, had one gift: the ability to make the crowd forget that the rain had begun. Having paid far too much attention to the style and music of early Kings of Leon (the hairy days), they are nevertheless one of the few bands in Ireland at the moment whose main ethos is good naturedness and fun, making their show pretty enjoyable if not groundbreaking. In fact, they probably couldn’t be more different from the band that followed in the HMV tent: the quite frankly bizarre Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands. Dark, strange, and accompanied by a table of electronic instruments and gadgets – and an accordion – Patri... [Read on]
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04
Day One of Castlepalooza 2009 Review Snapshot: The first day of this boutique festival was a mixed bag, a kind of rollercoaster tour of today's Irish indie. Altogether a great night, with just one or two low points. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: This reviewer has always had a kind of love/hate relationship with Castlepalooza: though in all honesty, it’s not the fault of the festival. The first year it was my cheap, leaking tent and 14 hours of heavy rain; this year, the tent situation was circumvented by booking a very un-rock’n’roll B&B, it was the stomach upset, seemingly mild food poisoning from eating a dodgy chicken burger at the festival, which led to me shuffling off early on Sunday back to said B&B. It’s hard to criticise a festival as selfless as this one. With a conspicuous lack of big corporate sponsorship (with the exception of HMV and Metro, whose presence were still unobtrusive), the whole weekend i... [Read on]
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27
U2 live in Croke Park, Dublin Review Snapshot: Well what's more fun than 80,000 people chanting anthems in Ireland's sporting Mecca on a summer's evening? A lot if you read the papers this week. Despite worries about the stage not being fully utilised, the prospect of preaching from "St Bono's Book of Glib", and an album still seeking its place in the wider public's consciousness; it was a blistering performance musically, if a little short. U2 seized the day and won out in the end.  The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Are U2 the biggest and best band in the world? Are they a corporate entity living on past glory? Or are they an incredible group of perennial live performers who don't know when to quit trying to be relevant and just enjoy the show? The answer is probably a little of each of the above. This reviewer doesn't believe the much written garbage from certain elements of the Irish media who slate the latest of... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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24
Bruce Springsteen (live in the RDS, Dublin) Review Snapshot: A rain soaked, recession obsessed city is lit up by the thundering guitar of an American hero. Bruce was in town last weekend for a two night stint at the RDS. Working on a Dream, the latest offering by the Boss has done the business commercially, and there is more than a few stand out tunes to sing along to. Inevitably it's the old favourites, belted out by the show-stopping, jet-flying, limousine-riding E-Street band that folks come to see. And even in the grey & damp confines of the RDS, Bruce lit up the sky for 3 hours 20 minutes.   The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I must confess the first time I was fortunate enough to see Bruce Springsteen live was as late as 2005 in the Point. It was the tour supporting the collection of Pete Seeger songs he recorded that year. It was excellent stuff too; pure blue grass with a tint of rock and roll and a collection of flawlessly talented, if varie... [Read on]
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24
The Decemberists (live in The Vogue Theatre, Vancouver) Review Snapshot: The Decemberists are an unusual band. They have a knack for integrating theatre into their music in a way that many bands attempt to, but few actually accomplish with the same gusto as the Portland outfit. Far too often this merging of ideas tends to take away from one or the other and more often than not it is the music that suffers. The audience that packed into The Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver last night, however, were treated to a feast of over the top storytelling and live music. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: An anticipative crowd queued outside the arena in the unforgiving Canadian sunshine for a good two hours before being admitted. The Vogue is an intimate venue and perfect for a band as interactive as The Decemberists and was comprised of a ground floor and balcony, both of which were seated. In relation to Irish venues it was only slightly bigger than the Ac... [Read on]
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13
Oxegen 2009 Day Three (live in Punchestown, Kildare)
Day Three of Oxegen 2009   Review Snapshot: While I didn't get to see as many bands as I would have liked to on Day Three of Oxegen 2009, those that I did see continued to impress.  From a purely musical point of view, Oxegen 2009 ended on a high with one performance in particular standing out. The CLUAS Verdict? 8.5 out of 10   Full Review: Rarely Seen Above Ground (Red Bull Music Academy) On paper, going to see a drummer play along to a backing track doesn't sound too appealing.  It certainly doesn't help when that drummer arrives on stage over 20 minutes late.  However, when the drummer in question is Jeremy Hickey, better known as Choice Music Prize nominee Rarely Seen Above Ground, you know it's well worth the wait.  Hickey is a very talented multi-instrumentalist and his performance is accompanied by a screen showing a virtual band who are, in reality, all Hickey.  What is rarely mentioned ... [Read on]
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12
Day Two Oxegen 2009 (live in Punchestown, Co. Kildare)
Review of Day Two of Oxegen 2009 Review Snapshot: Day Two of Oxegen 2009 was all about rain, rock and roll.  Despite the weather, or maybe because of it, the majority of acts seemed to up their game and reward their audiences with performances that defied the best efforts of the elements to ruin everyone's day. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10   Full Review: Red Light Company (The O2 Stage) They might be more than a little obsessed with Broken Social Scene but Red Light Company appear to have perfected the art of daytime festival performance.  Think Feeder.  Considering the impending weather the crowd were in good spirits and were rewarded with rousing renditions of Scheme Eugene (name check Broken Social Scene) and Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene Label).  Perhaps a little too sameish for my liking but still, not a bad start to day two.   Ge... [Read on]
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