The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Steven O'Rourke'

26

A review of the DownloadMusic.ie USB Compilation (Various artists)

Review Snapshot:  Possibly the most difficult album I’ve ever had to review for CLUAS, Downloadmusic.ie’s first ever USB Compilation Album also turned out to be one of the most rewarding, proving, for the most part, that Irish music is in good shape.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:
For me, great albums have always told a story; each song being delicately structured to fit snugly into the ebb and flow of the overall musical tapestry of the LP. My favourite albums generally come with memorable artwork, lyrics, out of focus photographs, scribbled drunken meanderings or multicoloured feathers. So to be presented with a compilation album on a USB key was always going to be a challenge.

How should I approach this; should I take it on a song by song basis? That’s not really going to result in an album review though is it? Plus, with 15 songs most of you would have stopped reading by the third song. No, I had to approach this one differently and so I took what appears to be the central theme of the compilation, namely the present and future of Irish music and considered how representative this album was.

For the most part this album achieves what it set out to. Bands like The Flaws, CODES and The Kinetiks, if attendance at their gigs is anything to go by, are certainly representative of Irish musical tastes. However, what lets the album down is its noble effort to shoehorn multiple genres of music onto the same compilation. Ro Tierney’s The Voice and Justin Manville’s Tonight, while both good songs in their own right, sound out of place on an album containing bands like Dirty Epics and Vesta Varro.

Stand out tracks are This is Goodbye (CODES), Letting Go (SUDDYN) and The Cure (Dirty Epics) and for very different reasons. This is Goodbye and The Cure both represent the current drive by Irish musicians towards musical landscaping; creating mountains of sound from the foundations of catchy melodies and lyrics. Letting Go on the other hand has an understated charm that’s reminiscent of Damien Rice’s O period (insert ‘he certainly milked that period’ joke here).

Of course, the upside of compilations is that there is generally something for everyone. Tracks I didn’t like, such as Manmade (The Radio) and Shadows (Roberta Howett) may well be other people’s favourites.

Overall, while the idea is commendable, perhaps having fewer genre’s on one album would make for a less disjointed listening experience. Despite that, those writing about the demise of quality Irish music should have a listen to this compilation because the future really is bright. 

Steven O'Rourke


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14

MUSE (live in Marlay Park, Dublin)

MUSE LiveReview Snapshot:  Sometimes you find yourself so in awe of a band that there is nothing you can do except stand back, close your eyes and let a performance permeate every essence of your being.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:
It wasn't looking good for MUSE at Marlay Park.  Monsoon like conditions over the past week would surely render conditions unsuitable for anything other than pigs and ducks.  Not so.  The first surprise of the evening was that parking was a breeze, as was gaining access to the arena.  The biggest surprise of all though was the condition of the arena.  Where were the anticipated mud baths?  No where to be seen, in fact you'd have hardly known it had rained non-stop for the past two weeks.

First up on stage were Glasvegas, the Glasgow four piece who count Michael Stipe amongst their celebrity fans.  If The Smiths were Scottish and liked dressing as the biker from The Village People, then Glasvegas would have lost their niche.  A band still finding their feet on the big stage, they just don't have the songs to keep a crowd containing everyone from drunken leaving cert students to 'accountants on tour' (Deloitte and Touche take a bow) entertained.  In the end, Glasvegas were a bit like the wasp that flew near my drink, it wasn't doing any harm, but I just wanted it to go away.

Kasabian were next up and launched straight into Empire the title track from their second album.  In fairness to Tom Meighan he tried his best to warm an ever increasing crowd up but I'm not sure if claiming to be Jesus is the way to go after just two albums.  Kasabian did exactly what I expected in playing some above standard indie rock, namely L.S.F and Shoot the Runner, and then playing the rest of their songs.  Of more interest than any of their music though is that they seem to have commandeered Roger Daltrey to play drums and Carlos Puyol on guitar!  Check it out for yourself here.  Kasabian should know by now though that this is post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, we don't sing Ole, Ole, Ole any more!

Despite me labelling them a singles band on more than one occasion I was quite excited about seeing MUSE live for the first time.  I'd heard reports of their live performances before but had no idea of the visual and audio bombardment that lay in store.  Opening with Map of the Problematique, Supermassive Blackhole and Dead Star, Bellamy and Co. had the audience firmly in their grip from the start.  Accompanied by lasers, satellite dishes and some of the best on stage camera work I've ever seen, each song becomes an almost cinematic experience in the live arena. 

Definite highlights for me were Invincible and the sing-along version of Time is Running Out, though an honourable mention must go to Feeling Good as I've never heard so many people attempt to sing falsetto before. Lets just say there were lots of canines covering their ears last night in the Marlay Park area!  Any band that want to have two encores better have some good songs to go with it and in Starlight, Plug in Baby (encore one) and Knights of Cydonia (encore two), MUSE certainly have more than enough tools with which to work a crowd. 

And with that the balloons, the lasers, the smoke machines were all gone and we encountered the only problem of the evening.  When it takes you longer to walk a kilometre to your car than it does to drive 20 kilometres home you know you have a problem.  It's a problem MCD could sort by opening more exits but is a minor complaint given how enjoyable this gig was.  Gig of the year by a long way.

Steven O'Rourke


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12

The line up for Electric Picnic 2008 was announced this morning.  Full details can be found here

Electric Picnic, as you know by now, takes place in Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois.  Set on 600 acres of rolling countryside the Electric Picnic continues its role as Ireland's premier boutique music festival and this year sees even more arts & crafts, holistic and comedy elements form part of the festival.  However, as Key Notes likes to concentrate on the music, he now takes a look at potential highlights over this years Electric Picnic.

Friday August 29

Friday night should see Sigur Ros and Late of the Pier attract lots of attention.  That being said, Joan as a Policewoman, New Young Pony Club and Gomez will have their fair share of fans.

Irish interest on Friday centres on Jape, Giveamanakick and 'Ireland's Greatest Living Musician' Christy Moore.

Key Notes One to Watch: Goldfrapp

Saturday August 30

While Crystal Castles, Dan Deacon and Santogold will undoubtedly attract the 'indier than thou' crowd, Josh Ritter and La Rocca should satisfy those looking for an more americana feel.  Saturday also sees the return of That Petrol Emotion and Lisa Hannigan's big event debut sans Damien Rice.

Super Extra Bonus Party lead a very strong Irish contingent on the Saturday that includes Halves, The Flaws and Cathy Davey

Key Notes One to Watch: Tindersticks

Sunday August 31

While every accountant with a grudge against their boss will probably be breathlessly anticipating The Sex Pistols, people who actually like music could do worse than making their way to see My Bloody Valentine (though Key Notes undertands that ear plugs are a must).  Other highlights on Sunday include These New Puritans, The Gossip, Sinead O'Connor and CSS

Irish performances on the final day come from Gemma Hayes, Ham Sandwich and The Urges, who are not on heroin!

Key Notes One to Watch: Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)

Tickets for Electric Picnic sold out long ago so there's no point in even trying!


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07

With thanks once again to Leah in Urchin PR and Foggy Notions; Key Notes has two double passes to give away for Little Wings who will take to the stage Upstairs in Whelan's on Wednesday August 13th.Littlewings

Little Wings is Kyle Field and whatever musicians and musical instruments cross his path as he makes his merry way through venues singing songs that flip-flop between old school country and low-fi electronica.  Field himself describes Little Wings as 'an ever-changing art project where I can take on different identities and roles with associations with those around me.

Having previously collaborated with the likes of Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, the loosely assembled membership that now revolves around Field sometimes includes drummer Adam Selzer, keyboardist Rob Kieswetter, and bassist Mark Leece.

Key Notes has two double passes to give away to the first two people who email keynotes[at]cluas[dot]com putting 'Little Wings' in the subject bar.

For a taster of what one can expect from Little Wings, please see below:

Little Wings: New Topanga


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30

It's back! Key Notes' favourite festival is returning to its spiritual Temple Bar home this September.  Once again venues such as The Hub and Eamon Dorans will  play host to the Hard Working Class Heroes Festival for 3 days (12th - 14th), after last years failed POD complex experiment.

According to the usually reliable State magazine blog the Irish bands playing this year are as follows:

202’s / 79Cortinaz / A Lazarus Soul / The Aftermath / Alphamono / The Ambience Affair / Angel Pier / Armoured Bear / Mark Austin / Autamata / Bats / The Beat Poets / Bravado / The Brothers Movement / The Cades / Carly Sings / Nick Carswell & The Elective Orchestra / Caruso / Chequerboard / Cian / Class Of 1984 / Ollie Cole / Crayonsmith / Cutaways / The Dagger Lees / Deaf Animal Orchestra / Distractors / Dolbro Dan / Dublin Duck Dispensary / Exit: Pursued By A Bear / Fiach / Fighting With Wire / Valerie Francis / Fred / Gorbachov / Grand Pocket Orchestra / Groom / Halves / Headgear / Heartbreak Cartel / The Holy Roman Army / Hooray for Humans / The Hot Sprockets / Hybrasil / Kill Krinkle Club / The Kinetiks / The Last Tycoons / Le Galaxie / Lines Drawing Circles / Little Xs For Eyes / Mackerel The Cat / Tom McShane / Fiona Melady / The Minutes / Walter Mitty & The Realists / More Tiny Giants / My Brother Woody / Nakatomi Plaza / New Amusement / Noise Control / Not Men But Giants / One Day International / The Followers of Otis / Panama Kings / The Parks / Pilotlight / Pocket Promise / The Rags / The Revellions / Robotnik / John Shelly and the Creatures / Sickboy / Sideproject / So Cow / Sounds of System Breakdown / Sparks Fly / The Spook of The Thirteenth Lock / Super Extra Bonus Party / Supermodel Twins / Sweet Jane / Tidal District / Tiger Empire / David Turpin / The Vinny Club / Vodkopter / You're Only Massive

Details of the festival headliners will be announced soon, as will information on the invasion of Scottish bands.

Key Notes can already break this list down into the following:

Band's He'd REALLY Like to See:
A Lazarus Soul
Ollie Cole
Pilotlight
Autamata
Grand Pocket Orchestra
Headgear
Le Glaxie
The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock
Tidal District
You're Only Massive

Band's He Wouldn't Mind Seeing:
Angel Pier
Carly Sings
Fighting With Wire
New Amusement
Hooray for Humans
Robotnik

Everyone Else

Tickets are still available for Hard Working Class Heroes 2008 from here


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29

This edition of Key Note Speaker see's Dudley, Mark and Joss from The Dudley Corporation take time out from promoting their latest album, Year of the Husband, to provide you with an insight into their musical, literary and visual tastes.

Favourite Songs from the Past Year
Joss
Meshuggah - Bleed
Boris - My Neighbour Satan
Dudley 
Goblin Cock - We got a bleeder! (unreleased)
Mark 
Wilco - Either Way
The New Pornographers - All The Old Showstoppers
The Melvins - Billy Fish
The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock - The Spook

Favourite Song Ever
Joss
Today it's any one of:
Richard Harris - McArthur Park
Drive Like Jehu - Luau
Erkin Koray - arlı Dağlar
Blonde Redhead - Top Ranking
Dudley
Drive Like Jehu - New Math
Mark 
The live version of Bad Boy Boogie from If you Want Blood You've Got it by AC/DC

Favourite Dudley Song
Joss & Mark 
We Angled Our Shadows and Cast Them In Stone
Dudley
One of the new ones that won't be released for years yet!

Favourite New Band/Artist
Joss
Anna Jarvinen
Subplots
Underground Railroad
Dudley
She & Him
The Big Sleep
Small Snails
Mark 
The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock (If this band are not huge I'll kill someone.  I know who I'll kill as well.)
Stanley Ross

Favourite Band/Artist Ever
Joss
Drive Like Jehu or Deerhoof or Erkin Koray
Dudley
Drive Like Jehu or Queen, I think
Mark 
The Melvins

Favourite Gig This Year
Joss
The Zombies or Martin Finke
Dudley
The Notwist @ The Button Factory
Mark 
Both Wilco gigs in Vicar Street were fantastic

Favourite Gig Ever
Joss
Drive Like Jehu, TJ's Newport, 1994
Dudley
Queen @ Slane, or Deerhoof at the Empty Bottle in Chicago
Mark 
Tomahawk and The Melvins, 30 Stone Street, Copenhagen, 2003

Favourite Dudley Corporation Gig Ever
Mark 
Mercury Lounge NY, Sept '05. In the middle of a really rough tour we played one of our best ever gigs to a crowd of strangers who seemed to love it. People wandered in to the room and stayed. I was really chuffed after that one. Short lived high though, walked out of the venue to discover our van had been towed!
Dudley
Either Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco or the Mercury Lounge, NYC, both nights where it felt like we were genuinely at the top of our game
Joss
Maybe the first LP launch in Whelan's Sept 10 2001 (Key Notes Birthday!)  That was very fun.

Favourite Venue
Joss
Kraftbrau, Kalamazoo (cry!)
Dudley
Same as Joss but Irving Plaza in New York was pretty great too
Mark 
The Roisin Dubh or Kraftbrau

Favourite Piece of Musical/Recording Equipment
Joss
My old Ludwig kit.
Dudley
My strat that I just spent a small fortune getting repaired, and am now too afraid to touch
Mark 
I'm the wrong person top ask that question, I'll just get all nerdy and bore folk

Download or CD/Cassette/Record
Joss
CD for convenience, LP for niceness.
Dudley
Do most of my listening via mp3s over my home network now, but LP when not being lazy
Mark 
See Joss’ answer

Favourite TV Show at the Moment
Joss
Uhhm... Flight of the Conchords
Dudley
Shark! Dexter!
Mark 
The Wire

Best Movie Ever Seen
Joss
Wild Strawberries or This Sporting Life
Dudley
Star Wars, Brazil, Deathrace 2000
Mark 
Impossible to answer, but I'll say Inner Space

Greatest Book Ever Read
Mark 
The Dirt by Motley Crue. This is not a sarcastic answer
Joss
James Robert Baker - Boy Wonder. The Dirt is great too
Dudley
Boy Wonder is amazing, Confederacy of Dunces comes in close after. The worst biog. ever is Mercury and Me. Bah!

Most Listened to Radio Show
Joss
John Peel (cry!), Adam & Joe, Donal Dineen, Alison Curtis, The Right Hook
Dudley
Not much of a radio-er since the demise of Peel (I really should mp3-ise all those old Peel tapes). John Kennedy on XFM can be great
Mark 
Morning Ireland, Alison Curtis, Drivetime with Mary Wilson, Off the Ball

What's in Store for The Dudley Corporation Next
Joss
New songs! Euro tour in Autumn! A new LP in less than 4 years, I hope!  Gigs in Mullingar, Greystones Theatre and Electric Picnic soon
Dudley
Some rehearsing would be nice!
Mark 
Find somewhere to rehearse


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21

Mercury Music Prize:
In approximately 30 minutes the nominees for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize will be announced. Lot's of speculation here and here as to who will get the nod.  While Key Notes isn't a fan of every album on the list below, he will eat his virtual hat if at least 50% of them are not included:

  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
  • Coldplay - Viva la Vida or 'Whacky' Alternative Title
  • MIA - Kala
  • Neon Neon - Stainless Style
  • Jamie Lidell - Jim
  • Portishead - Third
  • Elbow- The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Burial - Untrue
  • Token Folk/Hip Hop/R & B Album's

No doubt, a huge miscarriage of justice will be done and guess what, they'll probably have to rename it the Turner Prize* afterwards.

*Key Notes did steal this joke from elsewhere, but meh.

Free Music from Bright Eyes Conor Oberst:
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band are streaming every single track from their (his) new album Conor Oberst  here.  Produced by the man himself and recorded in Mexico, the album contains a song called Danny Callahan whom Key Notes went to school with many years ago.  Is it the same person, probably not but still, it's free!  Oh, and so is this quasi-making of video:

Something for the Weekend:
Well the first thing you should do is check out Ian's 'Gigs of the Fortnight' but if you still see nothing of interest then be sure to get down to Andrews Lane Theatre for Electric Eel Shock, one of the best live bands Key Notes has ever seen.

Update on Mercury Prize:
Nominations are now announced and Key Notes won't be eating any hats for some time as 5 from his 9 were nominated!  The full list: 

  • Adele - 19
  • British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
  • Burial - Untrue
  • Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  • The Last Shadow Puppets - Age of the Understatement
  • Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
  • Neon Neon - Stainless Style
  • Portico Quartet - Knee Deep in the North Sea
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns

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15

Organisationally, Oxegen 2008 was one of the best music events this blog has ever attended. As this was the first festival it had ever attended as ‘working media’, Key Notes was pleasantly surprised at how respected media people REM Live(considering his own distaste for some of them). As soon as you flashed your white wristband you could almost kill someone and get away with it, in fact, so helpful were the stewards, they would probably have joined in.

However, outside all the great (and not so great) music, the most important lesson learned this weekend was that people still struggle to understand how you can watch the same act as them and come to a different conclusion. It’s amazing isn’t it? Having an independent thought and worse still, allowing it to escape, sends people into all sorts of apocalyptic convulsions. So what if Key Notes didn’t like the performance of your favourite band? Why would you let this blogs have any bearing on your enjoyment?

It’s not just anonymous online comments either. At the event lots of random punters, upon seeing his white wristband, would ask what Key Notes thought of a certain performance and then proceed to tell him he was wrong. How can an opinion be wrong? You might like The Ting Tings, but this blog don’t think the drummer can actually drum all that well. You may hate keyboards but Key Notes thought that Holy Fuck were one of the greatest bands he’s ever seen. It is an opinion, a subjective, emotionally based opinion, not fact, in much the same way Key Notes is of the opinion there is no nicer alcoholic beverage than Guinness but he knows this won’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. Why should music be any different?

Key Notes has written about this before and yet people still don’t seem to get it. Nobody can experience an event the way you did and likewise, Key Notes can only write reviews based on his own experience, nobody else’s. This blog is not a sheep, and will always write what he thinks and what he feels and never what he thinks people want to read.

Anyway, Key Notes really enjoyed Oxegen, how could he not? He saw some sparkling performances from the likes of Holy Fuck, Roisin Murphy and Hot Chip. He got to see pet hates like White Denim and The Prodigy crash and burn. Best of all he got to spend three days in the company of Mrs. Key Notes, surrounded by music and meeting interesting people, musicians and punters alike.

Oxegen 2008 really had everything; great organisation, clean toilets, organic tofu burgers and a wide spectrum of performances. So why can’t there be a wide spectrum of opinions?


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14

Oxegen 2008, Day 3 (live in Punchestown)

Roisin Murphy liveReview Snapshot: What could have been a great end to a festival turned out to be a rollercoaster of a day, with a lifeless finish that was not worth the wait. (Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of Oxegen 2008).

The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10

Full Review:
Sunday is allegedly a day of rest, but with the sun really shining for the first time in months, I made my way once again to Punchestown for the final day of Oxegen 2008. 

Fighting With Wire (IMRO New Sounds Stage)
It was fitting that a day that was due to end with pure unadulterated rock, started out the same way.  Fighting With Wire hail from Derry and their Man Vs Monster album made its way into my ears through a friend quite recently.  Liking the cut of their jib, I made my way to the IMRO tent for their early afternoon performance.  The tent was packed to capacity but, once again, the sound was awful, vastly inferior to every other stage.  That being said, the kind of noise these kids make doesn't need great sound quality and it was the perfect pick up for a day that had started very slowly (I blame the parking attendants!).

We Are Scientists (O2 Stage)
'I'd like to dedicate this song to my homies at the BAR BAR ID, where everyone truly does know your name' was just one of the surreal ramblings from We Are Scientists frontman, Keith Murray.  It was clear that the band were enjoying themselves in the Irish sun and it paid off in one of the most entertaining sets of the weekend.  The majority of songs were taken from the bands debut, With Love and Squalor, but recent single After Hours was also very well received.  You do have to wonder though about the sobriety of the people who agreed that the only reason they got into music in the first place was because of We Are Scientists.

Alabama 3 (Green Room)
Having made it my mission to see a band on every stage on the final day, I made my way into a rather full Green Room to catch Alabama 3 in the middle of their set.  The Brixton band, who still don't seem to have shaken off their tag of being 'that band with that song from the TV' had a rather large audience totally captivated.  Honestly though, their blend of what can only be described as a gospel/funk/soul/jazz, wasn't really to my taste.  Having three lead vocalists who don't contribute on the instrument side of things seems a little indulgent to me.

Kate Nash (O2 Stage)
While everyone else at Oxegen attended MGMT I bowed to pressure from my prettier plus one (who, in fairness, had to endure my whims all weekend) to go see Kate Nash.  Nash is a strange phenomenon.  There's talent there, that's without question, but she suffers from being thrown into the same 'mockney' bracket as Lily Allen and Jack Penate.  Supported by an excellent backing band, Nash rushed through songs from her debut Made of Bricks with very little audience interaction.  The biggest cheer of the set was reserved for Foundations which sparked a mass sing-along amongst the assembled teenage girls.  Kudos to Nash for having the best stage set-up of the weekend too.

Republic of Loose (O2 Stage)
'I hear it's going to be P-Diddy!'  'No man, it's definitely going to be Jay-Z.'  Such were the rumours spreading around the 02 stage as news filtered through that a huge, internationally known, hip-hop/rap star would be supporting the Loose in their rendition of I like Music (or Moo-zic as Mr. Pyro is want to sing it).  As it turns out, Styles P was the man in question but he added little to the set as Pyro already had the crowd enthralled with his charismatic stage presence.  Say what you like about their music, and I'm not a fan, but in Pyro Republic of Loose have one of Ireland's great entertainers and he made this one of the most enjoyable performances of the weekend.

Fight Like Apes (2FM New Band Stage)
So good were the Loose that I, along with an awful lot of other people, missed the start of Fight Like Apes.  I've often given this band a hard time as, previously, the hype surrounding them far exceeded their talents.  The gap is narrowing mind and this was as energetic a performance as you're likely to see.  In no other band could the keyboard player attack the lead singer, throwing her to the ground, and have the audience cheer him for it.  New single Something Global sounds amazing live but the biggest cheers were reserved for Lend me your Face and Do you Karate?  Fight Like Apes may be about to live up to their billing as the great white hope of Irish music.

Roisin Murphy (Pet Sounds)
This was, undoubtedly, the most surprising performance of the weekend.  I was expecting some backing tracks, a nice light show and Murphy miming along to her own lyrics.  Whatever, it was sure to be better than The Pogues or the Kaiser Chiefs.  I couldn't have been more wrong though (about the first part that is).  Focusing almost exclusively on tracks from the Choice nominated Overpowered album, Murphy wowed the mostly female audience with an energetic performance ably supported by a backing band that matched the quality of that album.  Now fewer than 6 costume changes later and Murphy was inviting us all back to party with her in 'Wickla', betraying her rural roots for the first time.  Well worth seeing again, though she does have the dubious honour of being the only act to refer to Punchestown as Dublin over the weekend. 

Rage Against the Machine (Main Stage)
Some of us have deadlines you know.  RATM obviously didn't consider this when they decided to start their set over 20 minutes late, by which time they'd lost a sizeable number of people to The Chemical Brothers light and sound spectacular over on the O2 stage.  Unperturbed, the band arrived on stage to Zack De La Rocha's simple words: 'Good evening. We are Rage Against The Machine and we are from Los Angeles', and launched into Testify.  Tom Morello made his guitar look like a child's toy, such is his capacity with the instrument, especially on Bulls on Parade.  The audience 'moshed' their drunken little hearts out for Bullet in the Head, while closing tracks Freedom and Killing in the Name were no doubt thrown in to ensure the audience went home happy.  I didn't however, as I found RATM to be at best, lifeless and at worst, disinterested.  Something about the main stage this weekend just drew the life out of some of my favourite acts and RATM were no different.  I knew I should have gone to The Chemical Brothers.

Steven O'Rourke

  • Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of Oxegen 2008.

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13

Review of the first day of Oxegen 2008

Oxegen 2008, festival review Review Snapshot:  Day 1 of Oxegen 2008 was a mix of the good, the bad, and the tuneless. (Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 2 and Day 3 of Oxegen 2008).

The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10

Full Review: A festival is a difficult place for a humble gig reviewer.  So many acts, so little time and the weather can play an important role in what bands you end up seeing.  The weather forecast was gloomy but the sun shone as the first bands took to their respective stages and Oxegen 2008 began in earnest.

Future Kings of Spain (The O2 Stage)
A larger than expected crowd took advantage of a rare glimpse of sunshine to see the Future Kings of Spain.  They were rewarded with a storming set that was bookended by Guess Again and Syndicate, both taken from the bands most recent album Nervousystem.  It was interesting to see a band I've followed in smaller venues play such a big stage.  The sound quality was better than expected for a festival and the only complaint I could have was the carry over of sound from other stages between songs.

Battles (Pet Sounds)
After the recent review of Battles that caused such a stir on CLUAS, I just had to check them out.  Apparently everyone else at Oxegen did too as the Pet Sounds tent was full to capacity.  Battles are a curious lot, it's dance music for people who don't like dance music and experimental, instrumental indie rock for people who don't like experimental, instrumental indie rock.  I'm afraid I have to agree with the last two reviews of Battles on CLUAS and say I was more bored than overawed.  The people taking ecstasy in front of me seemed to enjoy it though, maybe that's the secret? 

Bryn Christopher (2FM New Band Stage)
At every festival you find an act you had no intention of seeing but stumble across by mistake and end up really enjoying.  It's hard to put a tag on the sort of music Christopher and his band make. It's a blend of funky pop all beautifully complimented by Christopher's wonderful voice.  Definitely one to check out in the future.

Editors (Main Stage)
When I first saw the line up, I was very surprised to see Editors and Interpol side by side on the main stage as they are, well, essentially the same band.  However, quite a large crowd braved the intermittent rain to check out Editors blend of sub-Joy Division indie pop.  Songs such as An End Has A Start and new single Push Your Head Towards the Air were well received by a crowd who were clearly starting to 'enjoy' themselves more and more.  For me, it was all very dull and the band seemed a little bored and it showed in their performance.

The Metros (2FM New Band Stage)
I'll be honest, I only came into the 2fm stage to avoid the rain.  The highlight of the next 40 minutes was watching the stewards throw RedBull Cola over a kissing couple to separate them, in much the same way people throw water over mating dogs.  The music?  A bland, generic Specials tribute.

Interpol (Main Stage)
The best I can say about Interpol is that they were slightly more animated than the last time I watched them.  They weren't much better however and, despite rousing performances of Evil and Mammoth, they failed to engage a crowd who, like myself, looked sorry they hadn't gone to see the Go! Team.

Kings of Leon (Main Stage)
I'm often criticised for saying - with tongue firmly in cheek - that I prefer bands earlier stuff.  It's a standing joke, but it has some truth when it comes to the Kings of Leon.  Their success over the past couple of years, especially on these shores, has been nothing short of phenomenal.  For me, KoL have never reached the heights of Youth and Young Manhood.  Therefore, Molly's Chambers was the highlight of my evening but everyone else seemed to enjoy a set that consisted mainly of songs from Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times.  For me though, Kings of Leon haven't been the same since Caleb Followill shaved his beard and cut his hair.

Steven O'Rourke

  • Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 2 and Day 3 of Oxegen 2008.

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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.