The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Steven O'Rourke'


Oxegen09Last year, CLUAS was the first publication in the world to provide reviews of Oxegen, Electric Picnic, Cois Fharraige and Hard Working Class Heroes.  Some publications would sit back and think 'job well done.'  Not here on CLUAS however, as this year we aim to bring you the most up-to-date and in-depth coverage of Oxegen 2009.

As with last year, CLUAS will be publishing a review of each day of Oxegen 2009 within 12 hours of the day ending, i.e. a review of Friday will be up by Noon on Saturday.  These reviews will continue to be interactive so, if you were there, feel free to let us know what you think.  Key Notes will also be providing CLUAS readers with an Oxegen overview which will go live on July 15.

For those of you who can't wait for a whole 12 hours, well, for the first time ever, CLUAS will be providing live reviews via Twitter.  Now, obviously these reviews are limited to 140 characters but their aim is to provide you with a flavour of the music before the full review.  Key Notes will also be using Twitter to provide you with backstage gossip, line-up changes and weather updates.  To follow Key Notes visit his Twitter page: cluaskeynotes

This year will also see the publication of a number of festival diaries.  These will give you a complete feel of the festival from the point of view of a band, a fan and from someone who spends their weekend working while you play.  Key Notes can't tell you who the band are just yet, but they've recently been in the news for all the right reasons and this blog will have more details on the working diary over the course of the weekend. 

The fan diary, well, the fan diary could be written by you.  If you are going to Oxegen, please feel free email keynotesatcluasdotcom and Key Notes will provide you with details of what is required.  This is your chance to be involved in CLUAS' most in-depth coverage of a music festival ever. 

So, now you know where to find the definitive Oxegen coverage, Key Notes hopes too see you checking it out over the course of the weekend.  For those of you travelling to Punchestown, feel free to say hello.  Key Notes will be the one listening to the music.

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Three parts Irish, one part Canadian, The Angel Pier kicked off 2009 with a storming show to a packed Whelan's showcasing songs from their debut album which will be released later this year.  In this edition of Key Note Speaker, Mark Colbert, drummer with The Angel Pier, takes time out from promoting the band's new single, Align The Seas.

The Angel PierFavourite Songs from the Past Year
Halfway Home - TV on The Radio

Favourite Song Ever
This changes daily.

Favourite Angel Pier Song
Align the Seas, which happens to be coming out as a single in the very near future (July 24)!

Favourite New Band/Artist
Grizzly Bear (although, strictly speaking, they're not a new band but they are a new discovery for me).

Favourite Band/Artist Ever
My Bloody Valentine.  For me they changed the way I listen to and approach music.

Favourite Gig This Year
It wasn't this year but my favourite gig of the last 12 months would be Yeasayer in Whelan's.

Favourite Gig Ever
Radiohead at The Olympia circa Hail to the Thief.  Either that or early Damien Dempsey gigs at Whelan's. There were many! You really felt like you were part of something special, he was on fire and it was the only way you could hear his songs in those days. He had nothing released.

Favourite Angel Pier Gig Ever
Probably the second last Whelan's gig we did. It was the heaviest rain the country had seen in decades, roads were flooded and, yet, we still filled the place.  We worked hard that night to give the people something to justify their persistence against the crazy weather!

Favourite Venue
Brixton Academy, which is now, sadly, closed. It's the perfect sized venue to see a band with a big sound but still feels intimate. It's also a beautiful building, may it rest in peace!

Favourite Piece of Musical/Recording Equipment
A voice in a stairwell.


Favourite TV Show at the Moment
I don't really watch TV at the moment.

Best Movie Ever Seen
The Omen

Favourite Book Ever Read
Dear Boy - A biography of Keith Moon.

Most Listened to Radio Show
Paul McCloone/Donal Dineen on Today FM. You can feel their passion for good music, something lacking in many radio stations these days.

What's in Store for The Angel Pier Next
We're looking forward to playing the IMRO New Sounds Stage at Oxegen on Saturday July 11 at 8.25PM.

There are a number of tickets still available for Oxegen '09 from here and usual outlets nationwide.

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HWCH 09This blog is by no means old.  However, when Key Notes realised that Hard Working Class Heroes (HWCH) would be seven this year, it stopped him in his tracks.  What a different place the world was in 2003.  That being said, the more things change, the more they remain the same and HWCH continues its raison d'être: an Irish Festival for Irish Bands. 

With this in mind, HWCH launched its call for bands on Wednesday evening.  Despite the heat (and boy, was it hot) a large number of familiar faces gathered in Freebird Records (Secret Book & Record Store and nirvana for music nerds like Key Notes who also have an unhealthy fetish for second hand books).  The event was launched by Angela Dorgan of First Music Contact, the people behind HWCH, who called on Irish bands to register with the Breaking Tunes website to secure a slot at the event.  Registration is completely free and who gets in will be decided by an industry panel made up of writers (though not Key Notes, so no bribes!), A&R folks and domestic and international festival programmers.

It should be noted that the closing date for applications is July 30 so get in quick.

Music photographers are also being called to submit their work for consideration for the Photographers Exhibition.  Those interested should log on to the HWCH website for more details.

As for the launch, this blog was impressed by the performances of all three acts.  Biggles Flys Again (Freebird Records), The Ambience Affair (Road Records) and And So I Watch You From Afar (Tower Records) are a great barometer for the current state of Irish indie music.  Key Notes particularly enjoyed the performance of The Ambience Affair (and not just because of the chips!) but was also sorry he couldn't stick around for more of And So I Watch You From Afar (at that stage, Key Notes was suffering heatstroke!). 

Hopefully there will be many great performances over the course of the HWCH weekend (October 16-18).  Ticket prices remain the same (40 euro weekend pass, or 18.50 euro per day).  CLUAS regulars will know that Key Notes, Ian Wright and Anna Murray provided the most in-depth coverage of HWCH '08 and, if this blog can help it, CLUAS will once again be the place to go to read reviews of your favourite bands playing HWCH.

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The law of diminishing returns states that, despite the continued application of effort/skill towards a particular project, there will undoubtedly be a decline in effectiveness.  Somebody should tell Mark Kozelek, a man who has managed to combine productivity and critical acclaim so easily that it would be easy to hate the guy out of sheer jealousy.  Thankfully, it's impossible not to like someone who can release an album of AC/DC covers!

Over the course of his career, Kozelek has produced no less than 13 studio albums; six with Red House Painters, three with Sun Kil Moon and four under his own name.  On top of this Kozelek has released numerous live albums including, earlier this year, Lost Verses.

It is this rich musical tapestry that Kozelek will bring to Andrew's Lane Theatre on July 23 with tickets available for €20 from WAV Box-Office, City Discs, Plug'D Records, Cork, and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

However, thanks to Word of Mouth, Key Notes has a double pass to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just email your name to keynotesatcluasdotcom with 'Lost Verses' in the subject line.  As usual, the winner will be drawn at random and Key Notes' decision is final.  This competition will run until July 30.

Red House Painters: Down Through

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Key Notes found it very difficult to resist the temptation to call this feature: How To Be A Happy Camper.  However, the tips included here are not just for those planning to camp, but for everyone making their way to Punchestown for Oxegen 2009 (July 9 - 12).

1. Don't Forget Your Ticket
It may seem like the most obvious thing in the world but Key Notes has seen many people arrive at a gig/festival without their ticket over the years.  This blog lives just a couple of miles from Punchestown, but imagine you travelled all the way from Cork or Belfast with all your gear but without your ticket.  Wouldn't be a very nice feeling now would it? Before you leave your house, double and triple check your ticket.

2. Remember You're in Ireland
It might be July, but all weather conditions, from heat wave to monsoon, are possible, and can be experienced over the course of a single day.  With this in mind, bring everything from sun cream to wellies.  Should you forget your wellies, this years Oxegen will have a Schuh Welly Exchange where you hand over your muddy, impractical shoes in exchange for a brand new pair of wellies and all of the discarded shoes are collected by the European Recycling Company before getting shipped to the Third World where they are cleaned up and sold on, stimulating the local economy.

3. Keeping Clean is Easy
Now, this is a direct message to you, the GAA jersey wearing, Tayto eating bloke who stays in  the same clothes all weekend.  You might be proud of your county, that's fair enough, but if you insist on not changing and not showering (despite brand new showers being provided this year) then baby wipes, alcohol rubbing gels and deodorants are a very easy and cheap way to stay clean.  Who, knows, if you stay clean you might just get to benefit from the next tip.

4. Stay Safe!
Lets face it, festivals are peculiar places and the heady mix of alcohol, high spirits and music can result in all sorts of strange couplings.  Should you be lucky enough to, eh, get lucky, then really, use a condom.  This blog is sure that none of you want to wake up in a couple of months with an unexplained itch or, indeed, having to ask if 'festival goer' is allowed in the Father's Occupation section on the birth cert.  Festivals are also very big places and losing your friends is easy so make sure you arrange a meeting point should this happen and/or ensure that your phone is fully charged.  A torch is also a good idea as you'll often be making your way back to your tent while it is dark.

5. Have Fun!
Life is pretty mundane most of the time and festivals offer you an opportunity to really let your hair down.  Oxegen, as Europe's favourite festival as voted for by festival goers, is no different.  Aside from the music there are silent discos, funfairs and, for the first time this year, a paintball alley.  They say that, in order to be considered a good driver, your behaviour should not affect the behaviour of other road users.  The same is true for festivals.  Don't act like an arsehole and it's likely that you'll get through the weekend without anyone thinking of you as such.

There are still a limited number of tickets available for Oxegen 2009 from here.  You can also get further festival tips on

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Key Notes will admit he has a soft spot for Oxegen, and not just because it takes place 20 minutes from his house.  Last year, not only did this blog have the honour of being the first person served a beer in the festival site but, more importantly, ensured that CLUAS was the first publication in the world to review Oxegen.  He's looking forward to the 2009 edition which will see Oxegen remain a four day event.  Punters who decide to stay on Thursday night will once again enjoy the likes of The Stone Roses Experience and AC/DC cover band, Hells Bells on the Thursday Night Live Stage as well as the return of the Headphone Disco and Campsite Funfair.

Friday July 10

Friday night on the Main Stage is really about one band and one band only.  Blur make their long awaited return to the live scene and lots of people like Key Notes, who grew up with Blur versus Oasis, will get very excited.  Snow Patrol are also playing the Main Stage while Oxegen Stage 2 features the likes of Therapy?, Duke Special and Keane. 2 Many DJs, Mogwai (both Heineken Green Spheres) and Ladyhawke (Red Bull Music Academy) are amongst the other highlights.

Irish interest on Friday revolves around Republic of Loose, Fight Like Apes and God Is An Astronaut, all of whom are playing Heineken Green Spheres.

Key Notes One to Watch: David Holmes (Red Bull Music Academy)

Saturday July 11

This blog's opinion on Kings of Leon is public knowledge but the Irish Public have voted and the band return to Oxegen to headline the Main Stage on Saturday night.  Of Far more interest to Key Notes will be the Main Stage performances of Elbow and SqueezeOxegen Stage 2is where the real action is on Saturday with the likes of Nick Cave, Doves, Eagles of Death Metal and The Gaslight Anthem all forming part of an eclectic line-up.

If none of those bands are for you then you could always check out Pete(r) Doherty and Regina Spektor (all Heineken Green Spheres) or Crystal Castles (Red Bull Music Academy).  Irish interest comes in the shape of The Blizzards (Main Stage), Director, C O D E S and And So I Watched You From Afar (all IMRO New Sounds Stage)

Key Notes One to Watch: Pet Shop Boys (Heineken Green Spheres)

Sunday July 12

The Main Stage plays host to The Killers on Sunday night where the audience can also see performances from The Specials and Ocean Colour Scene.  Elsewhere, Nine Inch Nails (in what could be the bands final Irish performance) and Jane's Addiction are sure to draw a big crowd to Oxegen Stage 2 as will Manic Street Preachers and That Petrol Emotion who both play Heineken Green Spheres. Those of you who feel like dancing can check out Felix Da Housecat and MSTRKRFT in the Oxegen Dance Arena.

The IMRO New Sounds Stage has some of the brightest and best in Irish music performing on Sunday.  Headlined by the brilliant Villagers, the stage also plays host of Concerto for Constantine (who put in one of the performances of the weekend last year), Wintersleep and Dark Room Notes.

Key Notes One to Watch: Villagers (IMRO New Sounds Stage)

For those of you who want to wake up hungover, tired and dirty on Monday morning, but having enjoyed a great weekend of music, tofu burgers and lobster sun tans, a limited number of weekend tickets are still available for Oxegen from the usual outlets.

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As Steve McCroskey in one of Key Notes favourite movies, Airplane, Lloyd Bridges famously picks the wrong week to quit drinking/smoking/sniffing glue/amphetamines. This blog, however, seems to have picked the wrong fortnight to go on holidays. CLUAS has been quite the attention whore of late, grabbing almost as many headlines as celebrity marriage breakdowns, minus the fake tan and even faker breasts. The reason for all the attention was, of course, the publication of the CLUAS top 50 Irish albums of the last decade.

The thing about a list like this is that even if it was a list of the top 500 Irish albums of the last decade, you’d still have people; you know the type, indier-than-thou, who’d be asking why such and such a band/artist didn’t make it in. That’s understandable for two reasons; firstly, music is such a subjective topic (as this blog has written about many times before) and also because the Irish music scene is so bloody small that a lot of the ‘independent’ comment is from family/friends/members of bands who either didn’t make the cut or didn’t appear as high as they would like.

As music is so subjective it would be impossible to please everyone. Indeed, Key Notes’ own top 10 (which you can find at the bottom of this blog) is very different to the collective CLUAS top 10. However, democracy rules around these parts and Key Notes can find no fault with the system Eoghan put in place for the poll and this blog is pretty confident that 35 writers represent a fair cross section of the Irish listening public.

Regarding the incestuous nature of the Irish music scene, well there is very little you can do to combat that. The anonymity of the internet (when CLUAS launched that word still required a capital letter [/flashback]) means that it can be impossible to know how independent some of the comments on lists such as this might be. Personally, Key Notes has lots of friends involved in making music (some of which he likes, some of which he doesn’t) but can honestly state that he would never let that get in the way of his appraisal of the quality of a band/album, and not just because he has to put his name to everything he writes.

However, that’s enough comment on the comment the CLUAS top 50 list received. What does Key Notes think of the list itself? Well, as already stated, his top 10 would look quite different. Upon reflection, it’s perhaps not surprising that the top 3 were such ‘safe’ albums. A great deal of all music produced represents a current scene or trend and tend to burn brightly for a short time before fading into obscurity whereas the tried and tested formula of four blokes with guitars seems to be eternally popular.

Kudos to Eoghan for all the work put into the poll (when you have people like Key Notes who struggled to put their list into any sort of order then you have to have lots of patience!) and, while Key Notes might not agree with the final order, he was never going to.  Music is too subjective for that and this site would be very boring if we all had the same opinions!

Key Notes' Top 10 Irish Albums Of The Past Decade:

1. Future Kings of Spain - Future Kings of Spain
2. Damien Rice - O
3. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
4. Alphastates - Made from Sand
5. JJ72 - JJ72
6. Turn - Forward
7. The Dudley Corporation - In Love With The Dudley Corporation
8. Snow Patrol - When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up
9. Bell X1 - Music in Mouth
10. Iain Archer - Flood The Tanks

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Laura Izibor 'Let The Truth Be Told'
A review of the album Let The Truth Be Told by Laura Izibor Review Snapshot:  Pretty face on the cover? Check.  Impressive voice? Check.  Middle of the road, vaguely ...

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Holly Golightly & The BrokeoffsKey Notes realises he's been a little quiet of late.  There are lots of exciting goings on at Key Note Towers, more of which you'll read about in the coming weeks.  However, to make up for the recent radio silence this blog has a double pass to give away to Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs this Thursday, May 28.

Flirting with music for the first time in 1991 as a founder member of all girl garage band Thee Headcoatees, Holly Golightly's career really took off with the release of her debut record The Good Things in 1995.  Blending blues and folk rock, Golightly has released 13 solo albums over a wide variety of formats and labels, one of the most successful of which was Truly She Is None Other, which was written in partnership with Billy Childish.  Described as 'a scruffed up British version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, the albums lead track Tell Me Now So I Know was chosen to soundtrack the Jim Jarmusch movie Broken Flowers.

In 2006, following 11 years of tourning and recording with the support of a full band, Holly Golightly teamed up with one man drums/guitar/double bass ensemble Lawyer Dave to form Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs.  Their second album as a duo, Dirt Don't Hurt, was released in October 2008 to critical acclaim.

On Thursday night, May 28, Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs bring their blend of folksy blues to Andrew's Lane Theatre.  Tickets are available for €15 from the WAV ticket office, Road Records, City Discs, Sound Cellar or the usual outlets.  However, thanks to Forever Presents, Key Notes has a double pass to give away.  To win, just email keynotes[@]cluas[.]com with 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' in the subject line before noon on Wednesday.  A winner will be chosen at random and, as usual, Key Notes' decision is final.

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs:  Jesus Don't Love Me


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Subplots 'Nightcycles'
A review of the album Nightcycles by Subplots Review Snapshot: At times melodic, at times fractured, Nightcycles is at all times a beautiful and ambitious debut long player and, for that, Subplots...

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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.