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Articles: Gig Reviews

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Day One of Oxegen 2009 Review Snapshot: There must have been something in the air in Punchestown as at least 3 bands invited members of the crowd on stage during the first day of Oxegen 2009. There might have been an overwhelming feeling that there were less people here than in previous years but that didn’t stop the bands from putting in some great performances. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10   Full Review: When you wake up on the first morning of a festival and hear nothing on the radio but people forecasting 6 day traffic jams and rain, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Noah worked for Harland and Wolff, you have to wonder if it is worth making the effort at all.  However, the first piece of good news was that the traffic was almost non-existent, perhaps helped by the fact that, being relatively local, I know some alternative routes into Punchestown.  Also, the rain, which began as I parked the car, was gone in little ove... [Read on]
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27
Neil Young (live in The O2, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Neil Young and Co. pulled no punches during their June 21 show at Dublin’s O2. Now 63 years old, Neil Young still puts on an exciting and visceral show. Ripping through crushing riff laden classics such as Cinnamon Girl and Hey Hey, My My, Young made no effort whatsoever to show his age. Even in the quieter moments of the show, Young was still all blood and guts, singing every line like he still means it.  Once upon a time, Young sang that “rock ‘n’ roll can never die”. It certainly won’t as long as he’s around. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: The opening act on the night was Villagers, who set up in the cramped space between stage front and Neil Young's mammoth set-up of amps, pianos, organs and various other noise making devices. They seemed comfortable in front of such a massive crowd, Conor O'Brien howling and crooning with a passion... [Read on]
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18
DM Stith and The Acorn (live in La Maroquinerie, Paris) Review Snapshot: A cracking double bill of cinematic, romantic North American folk-rock to warm this cold Paris cellar. DM Stith is the quiet small-town Everyman with an otherworldly voice; The Acorn are your ideal college roommates. In their own ways, the two acts win over the crowd with their invention, sincerity and vision – though most punters will go home talking about Stith. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The average rock fan, on heading out on a Friday night, probably worries about catching things other than pneumonia or the common cold. But here we are in La Maroquinerie, a popular Paris venue, on a May evening and it actually feels chilly down here when normally these cellar walls are running with punter perspiration. You see, the place isn’t even half full – and whenever the door opens, a draught sweeps round the room. It’s odd that more people haven&r... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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11
Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert - WARP 20 (live in Cité de la Musique, Paris) Review Snapshot: To honour one of electronic music's best-loved labels, a birthday bash featuring two cult figures from different points on the spectrum of that genre. Vibert's DJ set is cool and seductive; Aphex Twin sets your head and entrails to spin-cycle. Two different live experiences but each great in their own way. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Gouging the mind’s ear for two decades now, Warp Records are currently celebrating their twentieth birthday by putting on shows in major cities around the world. The Paris leg at the Cité de la Musique comprises two nights: last night Pivot, !!! and Jarvis Cocker were among those getting the party started (Nightmares On Wax apparently pulled out at the last minute) and tonight Aphex Twin (right), Luke Vibert, Hudson Mohawke, Leila and Plaid are blowing out the candles. Luke Vibert is here doing a DJ set i... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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09
Morrissey (live in Leisureland, Galway) Review Snapshot: Great set, shame about the venue . . . The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10  Full Review: I am in ‘the coastal town that they forgot to shut down,’ trudging along a drizzly Salthill Promenade.  Welcoming lights beckon a few feet ahead.  They belong to Leisureland: swimming pool, fitness centre, off-season funfair park, and the venue for tonight’s Morrissey concert.  As I enter the grounds, I pass a heap of dismantled funfair ride equipment being rained on; perfect material for Morrissey.  Perhaps he’ll see it and write a song about it.  Heaven Knows These Waltzers Are RustyNow, or some such.  The entrance has an A4 sheet of paper tacked to it that reads, ‘Morrissy’.  Someone - a disgruntled fan perhaps - has used a biro to helpfully add the ‘e’.  Inside, I am greeted by the welcoming aroma of chlorine.  I ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Galway
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06
MSTRKRFT (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Toronto’s electro remixers blast out the tunes to an adoring, dancing, day-glo crowd. Subtext? Not for the over-25s.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: ‘Isn’t that just Mr. Scruff spelt wrong?’ I was asked when heading to see Toronto duo MSTRKRFT at the Academy. No, it’s Mastercraft (also spelt wrong). The moustachioed men have remixed all your favourites: Buck 65, Death From Above 1979, Bloc Party, Metric, Justice. Due to arrive on at 12.30, the masters were supported during the wait by LA Riots, a DJ who decidedly kept quite serious but popped out some tech-house tunes for the filling crowd to bop to. Somehow we garnered a spot in the VIP lounge, which was ironically equipped with opposites in excess - a large wooden Buddha and several bottles of Cristal. Looking down onto the crowd I noticed many neon T-shirts and indoor sunglasses and began to feel a bit removed f... [Read on]
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04
R.S.A.G. (live in Dublin)
R.S.A.G. (live in Whelans, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Big fan of drum solos? Nah, me neither. Fortunately Jeremy Hickey, spotted above ground on a drum stool last weekend, kept the solos to a minimum. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Sure, there were lots of great fills and extravagant percussion but almost always with the backing of his very own phantom band. This is where the visuals come in. On a projected screen behind the drums was the reverse silhouette of Hickey accompanying himself on bass, acoustic guitar, handclaps and whatever else was called for. Not a brand new concept -- of all people Paul McCartney did a similar thing on TFI Friday about 15 years ago, but completely lacking Hickey's style or visual impact. Hickey's visuals were creepy and expressionless figures, one of them hooded, looking like a funky drop-out Ewok. A more interesting sight than most bands could muster. His voice is a sort of cross between John Mart... [Read on]
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27
Oliver Cole, Alphastates & Others (live in Radio City, Dublin) Review Snapshot: There's something different about Oliver Cole these days, and not just the use of his full forename.  A happier Cole headlined a Revolver night with a multiude of new songs and was ably supported by a number of old and new faces.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: This was a strange gig for me.  I'm normally the bloke that stands towards the back, arms crossed, doing my best to look non-plussed about the whole thing.  Not tonight, as I'm forced up the front by over anxious friends, one of whom is a work colleague of one of the acts (consider that my declaration of interest).  It did have it's benefits though, as you can see in Key Notes Set List Special. Opening tonight was Gillian Verrachia.  She easily overcame an inauspicious start (the stool she was supposed to sit on was set way too high for someone... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Ellen Allien (live in The Twisted Pepper, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Reductionist beats. Minimum melody. This is minimal techno. And this, is dull.    The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review: 'You Are Here,' the barman's T-shirt helpfully offered. 'Here' was the Twisted Pepper, but with its faux fur lampshades, dicks drawn on tables and scabby carpets, 'Here' felt very much like a surreal 'There.' 'Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a 90s Tarantino movie?' my gig partner quizzically spoke aloud. And I wondered the same thing. There was a tall man in an Indiana Jones hat walking around and a hyperactive guy in a pink top and a Pogo sign was stuck up with cable ties and a couple of couples sat, waiting. The odd smells didn't offer any more coherence: The bar smelt of chocolate and cinnamon candles, the toilet's odour resembled boiled spuds and, eventually, the venue filled up with the scent ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Funeral Suits, Angel Pier & Others (live in Andrew’s Lane Theatre) Review Snapshot: From post-punk posse to girl in a fur hat on synths, this IMRO gig proved that Dublin’s musicians are coming out with as much variety as a pick ‘n’ mix bag.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Feedback and static. This was the splice of Funeral Suits that hit me when walking into Andrew’s Lane Theatre, where a thin crowd quietly sipped drinks at tables. The three-piece band began with a Bloc Party style track, and rolled into other influences with the ease and enthusiasm of youths covering their favourite bands: Stone Roses, Maximo Park, The Cure. With blurred pixilated visuals onscreen behind him, the drummer looked like he was wearing Philip K. Dicks’ scramble suit. The band’s full sound was impressive, but nothing that has not been done before. When the yellow and pink rays of light streamed onto us, there was a calm after... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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