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Scene #4 - Jan. 2000

1999 was not a great year for Irish music. While there was a number of notable releases from old hands, new talent was very scarce indeed. The Irish scene is lacking in some vital ingredient... there seems to be too much replaying of old cards, there is nothing really original and exciting appearing. The scene is not exactly buzzing, and we seem to be losing as much as we are gaining.

While 1999 saw the opening of the Isaac Butt, it also saw the closure of the Mean Fiddler and the Funnel as live music venues. And while Homelands was obviously a massive plus for the dance scene, Ireland still doesn't have a music festival lasting more than one day. Negativity aside though, here's hoping that 2000 will bring with it that secret ingredient that we need to get our music scene really going again (though I'll be damned if I know what it is!).

Let's focus on the quality Irish music that's been released this year though... My personal favourite Irish release in 1999 was Paddy Casey's 'Amen, so be it'. A folk/rock mixture with a difference, incorporating meaningful lyrics and beautiful melodies. Casey's live following has been increasing all year, and the album got brilliant reviews. Let's hope he can keep the momentum going by delivering the goods for the follow up. The Frames and the Prayer Boat also released gems this year, but like both bands' previous albums, they were gems that went nowhere beyond these shores.

The Marbles gained a member in '99 and veered away off into the pretty pop stakes. Their two single releases for ZTT records this year were certainly accomplished, if a little unoriginal. Their forthcoming album should show us what they're really made of.

On the dance scene, DJ Mek did us proud at the DMC championship finals in the US. David Holmes and Bass Odyssey also continue to wow audiences at home and abroad. The opening of Switch on Eustace street has proved to be a plus for the scene.

The Corr's continued to irritate me immensely in '99. But the people like them, bless. I can't think why. Also on the chart topping pop scene, Dove would appear to be ones to watch in 2000, although personally I would like to send them to an uninhabited island very far away, along with Louis Walsh and every single one of his girl/boy bands.

Finally, for 2000. My personal tip, if not for the top, for the most original band in Ireland next year (same as last year then), is Nu Root Rhythm. Hopefully we'll see more of them in 2000, and a single release or two wouldn't go astray. JJ72 are all signed up and ready to take over the world, but we might have to wait for that one. Neon also, are a band I have high hopes for. Their excellent mixture of rock, beats and samples hasn't gone unnoticed in 1999, and they're on the verge of signing a record deal. Beyond that, hopefully there will be new and exciting bands coming out of the woodwork all year, adding fuel to this smoldering fire that is Scene. A very happy new year to all!

Niamh Grimes

(bullet) Check out other issues of Scene from July '99, Aug '99 and Oct '99
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