The Camembert Quartet
Review of their gig in Vicar Street, Dublin, 11 November 2004
To quote their press release "The Camembert Quartet have released the most brilliantly scabrous, funny and timely Irish album since Fatima Mansions 'Viva Dead Ponies'. Originally titled "Other Other Voices - C*nts from a Room", The Camembert Quartet Sell Out is a distillation of lives lived on the edge of the entertainment world - a concept album, if you will, about the insincerity of forced emotion and cheap ideals, of simplistic politics and mediocre aspirations." Sound like bullsh*t to you? Me too, I'd better go and see the band at the launch in Vicar Street!
The CLUAS Verdict? 6 out of 10
Full review: When I heard the word quartet in the band's name I automatically pictured four blokes, looking jazzed up, goateed, tuxedo'd and red shirts with the big fat collars who use the word "vibe" a little too much. How wrong was I? There are five in The Camembert Quartet. I've really only heard the name in conversation and was told they did a great Boyzone cover and something about the Ace of Spades but that's about all. An evening with these stinky cheese maestros is on the cards as we arrive just fashionably late enough to catch the last of Jinx Lennon's set.
Jinx is on stage without the angry guitar and sweet voice of Paula, instead he's got a tiny keyboard and the crowd seem to be loving it... well, apart from the drunk girls beside me who can't shut up about having to leave for a fag. Maybe it's the good P.A. but for once I can understand every word Jinx says in his deep Dundalk accent. Jinx leaves to cheers for more.
And on comes this sincere singer-songwriter, at first I though it was Terry Sutton but he's too young. He's sincerely f*cking awful but endearing none the less so when the heckling start I really reel sorry for the poor lad, then the heckling gets worse and I feel dreadful, so does he. "You think it's f*cking easy to be up here? Do ye? DO YEZ?" he starts sing again but he's so bad the audience starts sniggering guiltily, then the beer mats start flying so he's shouting singing, the abuse is now at premium rate banned XXX 1550 personal service level and rotten fruit becomes the weapon of choice, this is when I smell a wind up, the band jump up and drag him off kicking and screaming...we've been duped!
The Quartet have put extra special effort into the show tonight by kicking off with a little movie of them specking out the venue and trying to sell tickets, a very tongue and cheek affair which goes down well as the band enter and straight away belt into a jazzed up Latino thing which instantly set's the mood. Cheesy grins in abundance, we all relax into what looks like is going to be a highly entertaining evening.
The Band are launching their album 'The Camembert Quartet Sell Out', as far as I know the only other thing they've launched was an EP called 'Boy Bands Are Runts' (originally c*nts) but they had the foresight to know that no one would play it and it just so happens that my mate, who got us on the guest list, is wearing a "Boy Bands are C*nts T-shirt", don't see him getting into Lilies any time soon! When the band play the song, everyone is prompted to join in on the catchy chorus, and everyone does, our hero and lead comic Clint Velour notices a girl at the front who is having difficulty with the words so invites her onstage for a little additional encouragement from the audience, it takes a few go's but eventually she's shouting C*NTS just like the rest of us. The quartet next assault Brian McFadden's recent success with a cover of 'Real To Me' which, it actually sounds great!
You're probably getting the picture now, the quartet in essence slag of our very own home grown talent, commercial or otherwise. Next victim on the gallows are The Thrills, they don't cover a song, instead they play a song ("California Dublin 4") that parodies the Thrills recent releases and - guess it turns out to be a pure Thrills classic. The gig carries on in much the same vein, the band go though an A-Z of Irish favourites and pull no punches. In all aspects of Irish life we seem to champion our own until they achieve relative success or even somebody else also likes them, and then the gloves come off. It's a national trait, we can't help it, we're masters of the put down.
The Camembert's music is pretty much jazz standard: I'd say if you couldn't understand a word they would still entertain - although maybe in a Kenny G way - but classics like an upbeat musical reworking of Patrick Kavanagh's "Stony Grey Soil" will always leave me with a spring in my step. But I have my doubts that the album's as good.
Check out the CLUAS review of the Camembert Quartet's album 'The Camembert Quartet Sell Out'
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