The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Caribou (live in The Button Factory, Dublin)

CaribouReview Snapshot: Studio whizzkid with a strong live reputation brings his album of the year - Swim contender to the slushy streets of Dublin.

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review: Dublin is getting back on its feet (literally) after as severe a bout of cold weather as this gig-goer can ever remember enduring, Grafton Street is a slushy muddy hive of after work Christmas drinkers and shoppers. We beat a path down through the shopping thoroughfare, across Temple Bar and over a beggar strewn Halfpenny Bridge before settling into the Grand Social (Formally Pravda) on Liffey Street.

The Grand Social is a very welcome addition to the Dublin indie pub scene, Gil Scott Heron's ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane‘ is playing on the stereo which for me denotes bar staff with rather excellent taste in music. They also have Leffe beer on tap which they serve by the pint - fantastic. 
We trotted back across the Halfpenny Bridge and up through the cobblestones to The Button Factory buried right in the Heart of Temple Bar.
Caribou is essentially a recording moniker for Dan Snaith, a prodigious mathematician by account who on relocation to London fell in with electronica genius Kieran Hebden of Four Tet. Initially as Manitoba and then as Caribou he released two of my favourite albums in recent years, songs such as Sundialling of Andorra and Leave House of album of 2010 contender Swim have featured on more than a couple of this reviewer's mix tapes. Having read strong live reviews of previous visits to this shore I was interested to see how the records were going to translate in a live environment.
Given the nature of his music it comes as no surprise to see that percussion instruments are to the fore, strings and keys somewhat to the back. Four guys take to the stage and they start into 'Kalli' from Swim. This song feels like a tease, Snaith stands jabbing at a keyboard while the other three musicians on stage fidget about and look a bit uncomfortable. They look as though they will break into a full dance freak out mode but they somehow hold back. 
The set is well paced and it’s probably just as well because I don’t think I am fit enough for an hour and twenty minute freak out, certainly not in snow worthy boots. 'Melody day' is dropped quite early in the set and is as fantastic as this reviewer imagined it could be. 'Hannibal' sounds as if it has been tweaked by the good guys at DFA. Swim's closing track - 'Jamelia' -  kicks off like an R'n'B classic and the lyrics find Snaith at his most open, honest and bare. Odessa is a piece of pure majesty. These three songs are highlights which, as a sample, show how diverse and dexterous the sound Snaid has created truly is. 
Elsewhere there are moments that deliver the promised freak outs. As moments, they pass and as you attempt to digest what you have just witnessed you are already being challenged by something else. Every now and again Snaith looks up and flashes a grin as if the studio driven vision is being brought to fruition. I cannot argue with that.

They encore with Sun which feels like a perfect climax. Nothing is left on stage at the end, not even Snaith himself as he is dragged from the stage and is passed around the fervent crowd before carving his way back to the stage and off into the night.

Phil Gill

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Nuggets from our archive

2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).