Articles: Festivals

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Day Two Hard Working Class Heroes 2009
Oliver Cole, Escape Act & Others (live in Temple Bar, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  Day two of Hard Working Class Heroes involved quite a bit of venue shifting but was all the better for it.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Thankfully, my leg felt a great deal better and so venue-hopping was not going to be as much of a problem as it was on Day One of Hard Working Class Heroes 2009.   Oliver Cole - The Button Factory Oliver Cole certainly knows how to write a tune.  Tonight, Cole's set consists of songs taken from his yet to be released debut solo LP such as Little Bad Dream, A Drug Song and, the title track, We Albatri.  His ear for melody is second to none and it would be impossible to watch an Oliver Cole gig without wanting to sing-a-long and tap your foot.  That being said,  it was such a shame that Cole was on so early as his stage presence and interaction with the crowd is much more suited to late... [Read on]
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Hard Working Class Heroes 2009 Day 1
Villagers, The Ambience Affair & Others (live in Temple Bar, Dublin) Review Snapshot:   The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: While my intention had been to make my way between various venues during the first day of Hard Working Class Heroes 2009, a strained muscle (one week before my first marathon) meant that I was restricted in my endeavours.  It was clear early on that the place to be was Andrew's Lane which featured three of the four bands I really wanted to see tonight anyway.  While it was disappointing not to be able to see Dark Room Notes' set in The Button Factory, the intensity of Subplots and the raw talent of both The Ambience Affair and Villagers more than made up for it. Subplots There was quite a chatty crowd in place as Subplots took to the stage in Andrew's Lane.  The band's record, Nightcycles, is one of my favourites this year.  However, I was worried that their carefully crafted... [Read on]
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Live in Kilkee, Co. Clare, 13th September 2009 Review Snapshot: Due to a tyre puncture on the way back from a surf session in neighbouring Doonbeg, yours truly was unavoidably delayed en route to the evening festivities in Kilkee, arriving in the Big Top just in time to see Stereo MCs walk on stage. Whew! The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Stereo MCs: Looking around at the young wans who were waving their hands in the air to dance anthems such as ‘Black Gold’ and ‘Step it Up’ it was sobering to realise that a good proportion of them probably weren’t born when Stereo MCs released their first album. Once again the crisp, clean and loud sound mix that was a hallmark of this year’s festival proved a boon to the groovy tunes of a group who mix infectious beats with upfront, if stripped down, political statements. The only question was, why schedule them on the Sunday, when so many attendees were heading home for work on the Monday... [Read on]
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Cois Fharraige Day Two (live in Kilkee, Co. Clare) Review Snapshot: There were thousands of people walking around Kilkee on Saturday sporting the latest in surf fashion but in the water at Lahinch, Spanish Point and Doonbeg you could count the surfers on two hands. Meanwhile back at the festival, The Hold Steady, Noah and The Whale and Newton Faulkner served up some savage musical entertainment The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The Hold Steady Looking like the cast of Seinfeld decided to form a band, the anxious nerd rock of The Hold Steady proved the perfect antidote to the mellow sunlit vibes that have blessed the festival thus far, with ‘Stay Positive’ being a crowd highlight. The band’s hard chugging sound and neuroses laced lyrics were an unusual counterpoint to a festival that, thus far, has aimed for a balance between very serious rock and music that you can drink to. If you are the sort of person who curses the sunshine and stays ... [Read on]
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Day One of Cois Fharraige (live in Kilkee, Co. Clare) Review Snapshot: A beautiful sunny day ended with a blistering set by epic rockers Doves, grooves from Laura Izibor and post punk larking around courtesy of The Blizzards). The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Laura Izibor Presently touring with a crack American band, Izibor delivered a pumping set of beefed up versions of the highlights of her debut album. The live setting and the crisp, clear sound gave added power to crowd favourites, ‘From My heart To Yours’, ‘Carousel’ and ‘Yes, I’ll be Your Baby’, but it was a stonking version of ‘Shine’, transformed from a feel good summer tune to a grooving, funky anthem that best demonstrated Izibor’s ability to transfer her mellow, laid back soul into a live arena. The Blizzards Coming on stage bathed in purple light and accompanied by moody background music, the cheeky chappies of The Blizzards wast... [Read on]
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11
Glasgowbury 2009, live in Derry Review snapshot: Two thousand five hundred music fans with a liking for mountainous flora and fauna descend upon Eagles Rock for another feast of ceol agus craic. Full review: Mud, sticky mud, deep mud, all very brown, and, well, everywhere. Well, it's Ireland, it's summertime, what you gonna do? Put the head down and stick two wet fingers up to it. Early Saturday, the sky's blue, the birds chirping, signs for a dry day were good. Fast forward a few hours, tents erected, first beer started and Zeus decided to fart on us. Well, macks and wellies packed, up yours Zeus As the festival site dried out on Sunday morning, the 2500 (the first sell out) weary troopers left Eagles Rock a bit battered and the worse for wear, but happy of heart. Glasgowbury 09, the tenth festival was again, an unmitigated success. Over 60 bands played throughout the Saturday on 4 stages. The best of the North’s burgeoning talent, along w... [Read on]
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Grizzly Bear, Telepathe, Bill Callahan (live in St Malo)
Grizzly Bear, Telepathe, Andrew Bird and Bill Callahan(live at la Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: Telepathe's cracking NY electro gets lost in a large theatre; all hail Bill Callahan; neither Andrew Bird nor Grizzly Bear have a good game. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: So far we've focused on the main festival venue at the old fort a few miles outside St Malo. But there's also a second site - a hall on the seafront back in town. We decide, then, to start day three of La Route du Rock by checking it out. This isn't just a whim or for the sake of variety; we want to see Telepathe. For the festival, the Palais du Grand Large has been rather crassly renamed after a well-known mobile phone manufacturer. It's a large, plush, modern theatre that has headphone sockets and volume knobs in the armrests. Telepathe's gear is set up compactly in the middle of the vast stage, like a small car parked on the Wembley pitch. Th... [Read on]
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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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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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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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