Hard Working Class Heroes 2004: Day 1
Various venues, Dublin, 3 September 2004
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late for The Alphastates, damn you Dr. Quirkey and damn
your pool tables. I'm also sweating like Michael Jackson on a visit to the
children's ward, this hot pink wristband is going to give me a rash I know it.
Plastic, my sweat; which seems to have a pH similar to an Alien and exposed
flesh don't mix.
I get to the Temple Bar Music Centre at 8:10 and enter the venue to be confronted by a wall of sound and 3 backlit silhouettes. If nothing else it's a cool image. The band are good, the first time I saw them was at aJohnny Cash tribute gig and I thought the singer's voice went on her, it was only when I saw them support The Shades that I realised it was supposed to sound like that, something approximating a female Tom Waits gasping for breath as she has the life choked out of her, and it works. Live they've got a much more expansive sound them on record and are a million times (approximately) better, there's a good chance that they really love OK Computer. They play a new song, set is over. Where next?
My mind goes back to the pool hall, "Bray Vista are really good," a friend told me. I'm not convinced. I saw them at that same Cash tribute and hated them, I walk down to Meeting House Square but that entrance is blocked off, go round the other way, band starts, I last about 7 notes, not in the mood for this country stuff tonight, who else is playing? I check my trusty HWCH directory, it says Jenny Lindfors plays a "mellow, bluesy folk with a contemporary edge", that'll do me. Head off in the general direction of Cow Lane, I don't have a clue where St. Michael's Church is, ask guy on street, he says "you're here". Up the stairs, down the hall, hear nice piano driven music with a semi ethereal female voice, it's pretty good, if Ms. Linfors is anyway attractive I could be in love. Enter hall, awwwww sh*t, I want to marry this girl, sit down, she messes up the song, shine is off the apple, I'm ok again. Some guy in a blue Penfold t-shirt sits beside me and takes out a notebook. I wonder to myself if he's fellow Cluas scribeGar somethingorotherIcan'tremember. Notebook is really good idea, should have remembered that, decide to make up for it with this stream of consciousness thing, expect to be lambasted for blatant Hunter S. Thompson rip-off, I've never read any Hunter S. Thompson but did once read a pastiche of his work. Hey there's Tim the drummer from Bell X1, also present is some guy from college whose name I forget. The reason that I'm noticing all this is because Jenny Lindfors makes nice music, perfectly pleasant and I could enjoy it under different circumstances but tonight I'm finding it a bit bland, nice voice, nice songs that are nicely played, maybe I should have listened to the lyrics more but I'm easily distracted tonight. It's over; she asks if she can play one more, she can't, shame, make note to check her out again sometime when I'm less frazzled, she's really quite decent.
Earlier I had seen Stanley Super 800 loading in and I didn't take an instant dislike to them so they are next. On the way to the TBMC I pass Tim the drummer outside Temple Bar Properties, people down the street start yelling "Tim, Tim". Tim looks around confused, he can't see them, then he does, he waves. I wonder to myself if Tim is nice but dim, and then wonder how Harry Enfield got so popular.
Get to the venue, pass the singer from Alphastates in the bar, consider telling her I enjoyed the set and that Alphastates may have ruined me for all other bands tonight, decide that's the cheesiest thing ever and think that it's better to maintain journalistic detachment, that's the excuse I'm going with anyway. Me in the Park are finishing their set, they rock, my world however remains in stasis. I sit behind someone's parents / grandparents. Band finishes, not my thing but they're good at what they do. Stanley Super 800 set up, there's Tim the drummer again, he's handing out fliers. He leaves one at my table, it's forNeosupervital on Saturday, the cartoon looks like Tim, it must be his other band. That guy from college is here too.
Band starts, singer sounds like Kurt Cobain when he wasn't screaming, banjos are very popular in bands these days. I'm bored; I'll give them one more song. It sounds a bit like The Killers but it's not grabbing me I'm out of here. In the bar Tim the drummer is still handing out fliers, I briefly consider stalking him for the rest of the night, decide against it. Go to bathroom, leave.
Who else is on now? Mike Got Spiked, cool name, they'll do. Oh sh*t, there's Tim the drummer again and he's heading in the exact same direction as I'm going, now it really will seem like I'm stalking him, I definitely need to learn what his surname is. Re-tie shoelaces to allow gap to build up between us and off to Meeting House Square I go.
Mike Got Spiked, nice mix of ska and hard rock, the singer has climbed the speakers, I initially wonder where the vocals are coming from before I spot him. Only see 10 minutes of them, wouldn't have minded seeing more.
Saville in The Hub, decent harmonies, jangley Rickenbacker guitars, I'm out of there before the first song is over, go next door to The Mezz for Blue Tonic. Aww that's so cute, they look about 14, and they're from down the country, did their mothers really let them out on the town in the big smoke by themselves? Oh wait, their parents are over in the corner nodding their heads approvingly. They're the second best band that I've seen tonight so far, there's a heavy Green Day influence here and little bit of The Eels as well. Spot Paid from Ham Sandwich spotting me and go over to say hello, no none of our mutual friends are coming that I know of, confirm what time they are on and promise to be back in time to check them out. Realise that I've drunk a load of water and need to go to the bathroom again. Decide that a photographic review of the toilets in the HWCH venues would be a unique thing to include in my write-up and after making sure that bathroom was empty because I realise how strange it would look to someone if they were to go to the jacks and find someone snapping away I pull out digital my camera. I get set to take the picture when the door opens, camera goes back in the pocket and I leave, another brilliant idea foiled by circumstance. For the record the venue with the nicest toilets in Dublin is The Village, the ones in Eamon Doran's are out of "Trainspotting".
Back to Meeting House Square for "Special Guests" a.k.a. Bell X1, curse the fates for scheduling them oppositeAnn Scott and Joe Chester both of whom I would have liked to see. I initially stand beside a couple of teenage girls who start talking about how big a dreamboat Brian is to another couple, fearing an influx of girls that are likely to chant "Noono" at the lead singer I move to the opposite side of the stage. The Bellies are excellent as always despite loosing power to the mic's for a couple of minutes and run through a set drawing mainly from "Music In Mouth". Paul dedicates "Alphabet Soup" to Ronan Keating and "White Water Song" to the people in the restaurant at the far side of the square renaming it "Music to eat pan-fried monkfish to", I've written a song called "Unrequited love-sick song #48" so in the absurdly named song stakes I'd say it's Ian Wright 1, Paul Noonan 0.
Back to the Mezz for Ham Sandwich, I only know that song that Tom Dunne used to play and I really liked it but they'll need to be pretty good to make up for the completely ridiculous name that they've given the band. I get there and Paid already has his top off, and he's bumping and grinding up against the head of some guy trying to fix his guitar, didn't Marilynn Manson get sued for something like that? At least he's managed to keep his trousers on this time. 2/5 the band maintain a detached rock star cool, another 2/5 gurn, drink wine straight from the bottle and jump about like proper "ROCK STARS", the drummer drums.
Between them all they manage to sound pretty damn good. Sounding likeThe Pixies and The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's they really get the quite sizeable crowd going, they're only the third act that I really like tonight. Afterwards I buy the EP and head outside just as The Maladies go on. I check the listings to see who else is playing, The Chalets are on in the Hub, I really hate their music so they're out, consider heading back inside the Mezz when I spot a drunk guy in the middle of the road blocking traffic, I tap him on the shoulder and tell him that unless he wants to get run over he should consider moving out of the way, guy looks like he wants to start a fight with me, I diffuse the situation but decide to cut my losses and go home.