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Articles: Gig Reviews

Groom (live, Upstairs in Whelan's, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Those who were downstairs waiting for Mundy to play one of his two songs, could have done far worse than make their way upstairs to see two examples of how one man and a guitar doesn't have to sound boring or formulaic. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Being a vegetarian means that sometimes, when you want more than just 'Pasta in a non-descript white sauce', you find yourself having to look around for somewhere to eat.  It was because of this that I only arrived in Whelan's half way through Neosupervital's support slot. This was my first time upstairs in Whelan's and it has a very peculiar shape for a venue and appears to be more suited from its previous purpose (as a smoking room) than as a gig venue.  That being said, its design forces people towards the stage and lends an intimacy that many venues lack.  ... [Read on]
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Alias Empire  (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Happy, dizzy, sweaty: Alias Empire rocked a sell-out Antics night with enough synths to wake yer granddad.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I like disproportion. And I like sensory stimulation. This might explain my love of tiny daffodils, miniature Heroes and giant Jenga. It would also account for my pleasant feelings on walking into Tripod Wednesday night to see a huge white Raffaello on the ceiling, a giant stretched thong-like decoration, young girls with small knees and a DJ with a tiny head and gigantic round headphones. Crawdaddy filled up nicely as Antics began to sell out. The time waiting for Alias Empire (formerly Dry County) to take the stage was spent posing in front of visuals that consisted of whales, fish and other little monsters swirling around in a sea of colour. The music began with Jape and Morrissey and ended up getting all tech-house-like which got the crowd excited... [Read on]
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The IMRO Showcase Tour 2009 (The Sugar Club, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The IMRO gig at The Sugar Club showcased a number of talented new musicians who gained full audience appreciation with their varied sounds.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: There’s something about venues. With its tiered seating, shining disco ball, velvet curtain and candle-lit tables, The Sugar Club set up a serene and relaxed feeling the minute you took a seat. There was a real sense of 1950s nostalgia about the set-up. I almost felt like a member of the Back to the Future audience, awaiting Marty McFly’s inappropriate Johnny B. Goode guitar solo. The IMRO gig was full of band members, mates of mates, and mates of mates of mates, who showed up to give them support. Dublin alt-rockers I Phoenix were first up. Their solos were not as insane as Johnny B. Goodness, but with a powerful and intense sound they acted as a refreshing break from effects-heavy laptop bands.... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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Maximo Park (live in Dublin)
Maximo Park (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The Geordies return to Dublin to play new material and their old familiar songs to a packed Academy. As always they provide an energetic and enjoyable show, but sadly the new tracks don’t excite as much as I had hoped. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: I was glad to see New Amusement on the bill. I don’t want to name names, but so often I get stuck watching some awful band with ideas far more grand than their talent. New Amusement once again impressed me. The newer tracks seem to follow on from the good standard they already set on ‘Any Port In A Storm’, but ‘Gone To Sea’ is still their stand-out track. Any fans who had worries that Maximo Park would shirk away from playing their most popular tracks from their debut or their 2007 follow-up, ‘Our Earthly Pleasures’, preferring instead to debut songs from their upcoming new album had their fears allayed i... [Read on]
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A Place To Bury Strangers (live in Dublin)
A Place To Bury Strangers (live in Whelan's, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The loudest band in New York brings their Jesus and Mary Chain meets My Bloody Valentine to Whelan’s of Wexford St. It’s an experience, but is definitely not for everyone.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: You wouldn’t find Hitler playing music this loud…  Whelan’s seems to have abandoned its previous and strict curfew of 10.30 pm, as APTBS only took to the stage a few minutes after 11. Three support bands and a headline might seem like good value for €15, but that might not always be the case. The support bands here were Dublin’s own Sweet Jane, and two American outfits, Darker My Love and Dead Confederate. For the most part they were all quite mediocre and repetitive, with the exception of, in parts, Dead Confederate. And then A Place To Bury Strangers took the stage. After the first few notes I squeezed my ear plugs in. P... [Read on]
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Mogwai (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: A long overdue Dublin gig by the purveyors of post-rock brings The Academy to never-before reached sonic levels on the opening night of a 3-day residency at the Dublin venue. The Hawk is Howling might disappoint in its recorded format, but it was the focal point around which this gig rocked. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The term "post-rock" has attached to it Celtic Tiger levels of stigma - who coined the phrase, who invented it, who pioneered it, who defines it? From Slint to Explosions In The Sky, there have been many life-altering post-rock moments but for me post-rock was born upon hearing Mogwai's 'Like Herod' at Witnness 2003. Its raucous and tense "bridge-chorus" section completely outshone the quiet-then-loud formula of bands I worshipped like The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. As much as Mogwai might dislike being pigeonholed by an umbrella term, their live show d... [Read on]
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Spinnerette (live in London)
Spinnerette (live in 02 Islington Academy, London) A scan over Queens of the Stone Age's Wikipedia page reveals no fewer than nineteen groups considered to be 'associated acts', including Spinnerette, the latest vehicle for former Distellers frontwoman Brody Dalle. The association here is that Dalle is married to Queen's main man Josh Homme and by mentioning this I've committed a cardinal sin in the eyes of her superfans, who will immediately make the point that her career was a success before the two's union. This is true, and I apologise to those fans who turned up to see the new band perform at London's O2 Islington Academy, including the friend who accompanied me (who is a superfan, as well as being my main reason for being at the gig). But my point is that on early evidence, while Spinnerette might be pigeonholed into this clutch of acts, they have the potential to be one of the better ones on Homme's speed dial. The scene for their first e... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, UK
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The Gaslight Anthem (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Pop instincts wrapped in a ragged cloak. The Gaslight Anthem played their first Irish Gig in the Academy, March 4th, supported by Frank Turner. High energy and enthusiasm was the essence of the night. Live renditions of tracks from the critically acclaimed The '59 Sound were certainly done justice. Expressing tales of family, love, life, loss and youth reeling in the audience all driven by this four piece's taut muscular rock n' roll rhythms. The Gaslight Anthem are as tight as any band I've seen this, or even last year. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: "The songs, the best of them, are adventures in the dark, incidents of wasted fury. Tales of kids born to run who lose anyway.…taut rock songs about people crushed by family, by lust, by living in this world every day…The promise and the threat of the night; the lure of the road; the quest for a chan... [Read on]
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 Franz Ferdinand (live in Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick) Review Snapshot: 400 lucky ducks witness Franz Ferdinand 'warm up' for their '09 tour with considerable aplomb. Watch out Europe. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The anticipation amongst the lucky 400 in Dolan’s Warehouse ahead of this ‘warm-up’ gig was that the Glaswegian art-rockers would use this chance to rehearse material from their new Tonight album with one eye on their upcoming European tour. Not so. They played what seemed like every memorable moment from their already-classic debut album, kicking off the setlist with a stomping rendition of ‘Come On Home’. Alex Kapranos made sure he reminded the crowd where they were with frequent ‘Thank you Limerick’s between songs, but whether he was aware the Terry Wogan namedropped in ‘Dark of the Matinee’ is himself a Limerickman was unclear. However a spontaneous crowdsurf at th... [Read on]
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Carly Sings (live in La Bellevilloise, Paris) Review Snapshot: Despite incessant audience noise and diabolical sound problems, which she really should just put aside, Carly Sings pulls out a strong performance of fine material - including some promising new songs. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Tonight’s venue, a trendy music bar in the slightly bohemian 20th district of Paris, is full of lively punters out for a good time. For Carly Sings, this is bad news indeed. You see, La Bellevilloise is fashionable because its clientele like to hang out here and chat with friends while having live music in the background as sonic wallpaper. By the bar it’s standing room only, as packed and noisy as a Friday evening train station. The disinterested audience din is overwhelming, quite possibly the loudest we’ve ever heard at a concert. More used to dedicated Dublin listeners, Carly Blackman is up against it tonight. You’d hardly ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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