The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Daire Hall'

18

Broken Social Scene Presents... Kevin Drew (live in Tripod, Dublin)

Review Snapshot: With a blistering new album and a back catalogue of modest repute to boot, Kevin Drew must find it hard not impressing audiences. Here with BSS aficionados Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, plus members of American Analogue Set and Treble Charger, the capacity Tripod is gradually stirred from any ideas of a relaxing Sunday evening.

The Cluas Verdict? 8.8 out of 10

Full Review:

Broken Social Scene Presents... Kevin DrewStarting off slowly with an acoustic rendition of Gangbang Suicide, Drew gave a slow greeting until the drums kicked in with a controlled ferocity by Peroff. Things gradually picked up as Drew knocked the complementary booze back. Introducing the audience to his so-called solo work with Tbtf, F--ked Up Kids, Lucky Ones, Frightening Lives and the quite magnificent single Backed out on the…, it’s hard to find any defined distinction in the general sound from Broken Social Scene. That is of course a thing to be cherished. I, like many, was none too happy at the news that the super group were on hiatus indefinitely after their Electric Picnic appearance in 2006. 

Songs from the Spirit if… album all have that familiar precise carelessness to their sound: light acoustic guitars, magnetic riffs, effective electronic touches and the ever-present jangle that is the trademark BSS sound. But Drew is back with a new fire in his belly and socks on his wrists (no one seemed to know or care why) and judging by the leaner Brendan Canning song that was played, the prospect of further Broken Social Scene presents… albums is indeed something to wait for with bated breath. The band have one or two forgetful moments but it's done without losing any vitality to the set.

Whilst his own songs will inevitably be embraced as part of the new BSS canon, it is Cause=Time (the "best song in the world" according to the dude in the toilets), Stars and Sons (the song that eventually kickstarts the gig) and Lover’s Spit that received the most applause. With time the latest will most likely fit comfortably with these classics as crowd favourites.

The sound, as at any BSS type gig was a bit ropey at times and at times bordered on distortion due to the movements and instrument changes, but it was reigned in and harnessed the sound, giving some of the softer songs a harder edge.

My one problem with the gig was its lack of Ibi Dreams of Pavement or KC Accidental purely from a disappointed fan point of view, but I am convinced that Kevin Drew and co. have the potential of playing the perfect gig in any situation. Whether it is dance, chill out acoustic with jazzy trumpets or straight up rock, (not forgetting the sweet sleaziness of a drag queen that imbues his songs with a gentle, yet adult, nip to the lyrical ear) the Broken Social Scene crew can seemingly do it all

As the unfortunate end approached the audience were reluctantly compelled to belt out U2’s Where the Streets have no Name. The look on most people’s faces said “screw it” and let rip with knowing smiles, and it's that unabashedness that makes Drew such a likeable performer. Drew teased the crowd with his chant of “where was the kid who f—cked me in the ass”, the opening lyrics to the ten minute show-stopper It’s All Gonna Break but instead we were sent home to the merry singalong of When it Begins.

The rest of the band crowd around mics at stage right as Brendan Canning strums along and Drew conducts the audience to end a superb gig. It seems to be a goodbye to friends old and new rather than an anonymous crowd in a nameless city.

Daire Hall


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11

Feist (live in Tripod, Dublin)

Leslie Feist liveReview Snapshot: After months of anticipation Miss Leslie Feist finally arrives to an overheated and cramped, but extremely expectant audience. Was it worth the wait? Only if Canadians make consistently bad music... (that's a yes).

The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10

Full Review:
Showing magnificent control over her wonderfully dry vocals, Feist hits Dublin with a bang and a banjo on a viciously cold Tuesday night. Unfortunately the sold out crowd turn Tripod into a sauna of sorts. I get the feeling that if this was a London show the guest list would be populated with names more suited to gossip pages.

With a natural confidence and a gifted band that are three quarters siblings, she glides through the set with banter and audience choral experiments. After giving excuses as to why this is her first Irish gig, she belts through a set consisting mainly of Let it Die and the superior The Reminder. Of the many highlights of the evening the twinkle-lit ‘I Feel it All’, ‘Gatekeeper’, the irrepressibly colourful ‘1234’ which makes you want to dance like this and grab your fellow man in a tryst of platonic love (at least that’s what it makes me feel) followed by ‘Mushaboom’ the modern pop anthem that is known mostly through television ads.

Of the songs that I was not aware of, they added to the spectacle of the night and as a great introduction to more of her work (most people still believe she has released only two albums, she has in fact four). Particularly delicious was the Nina Simone classic ‘Sea Lion Woman’, which acts as a brisk retort to those that insist that contemporary music has nothing to offer that cannot compare to the days of yore are simply wrong.

To improve upon Simone is no mortal feat but the dirty guitar lick that Feist introduces to the song is simply mesmeric. Whilst she shines through someone else’s original music, Feist weaves her own sonic image to her own capable abilities. Here’s to POD getting her back for some more in future.

Daire Hall


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11

DeVotchka (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin)

DeVotchkaReview Snapshot: They may be known predominantly for the soundtrack of everyone’s favourite indie film of the past few years, but the Denver based band show Dublin that there is much more to them than yellow camper vans and wee Miss Americas. Despite the claim that their "live performances are considered transcendent- with audience members dancing and crying, sometimes in the space of a single song", the Dublin crowd are happy enough to cheer and dance. We’re just a little more restrained I suppose…

The CLUAS Verdict? 7.8 out of 10

Full Review: Spending a balmy and surprisingly dry Friday evening in the beer garden of Crawdaddy is not entirely unpleasant. However the prospect of having to enter a cramped, dark and sweaty room is not exactly enticing, even if it is to see a band that are reluctantly forced to refer to themselves as “Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack composers” in advertisements despite the beauty of their mournful songs. As I enter the venue ten minutes late (lounging in the setting sun delayed me) I am greeted by the sight and sound of Jeanie Schroder playing a huge illuminated sousaphone decorated in flowers and lights, a violinist who is either incredibly sedate or concentrated (quite a bemused expression in my opinion) and lead singer Nick Urata delicately crooning into a vintage microphone with an expression of grief that, one would presume, only a Latin singer can bring to a performance.

For the more sombre and heartfelt songs, Urata stands to the left of the mic as if whispering into a former lover’s ear. Throughout most of the set the drummer is in recluse behind Urata only to emerge to play trumpet when needed. In terms of categorisation Devotchka are a juxtaposition of mariachi influenced horns, guitar and a definite Yiddish/Eastern European fiddle but with the twist of an indie consciousness that invigorate the songs with a distinctive elegance which separates them from the pigeonholing of their influences. Twenty-Six temptations’ thundering sousaphone backbone is fair too loud and rumbling for such an initially timid audience.

The reluctant atmosphere gradually shifted as the trademark song from that soundtrack is aired. How It Ends alleviates any pretensions that they are a one trick horse. Thankfully this brought the rackety talkers of the venue to an abrupt and attentive silence. People began to loosen up: unfortunately I was right beside someone who did not relent in her movement or swaying and I was caught in a constant melee of dodging her grooving limbs and the same went for any unfortunates in her vicinity, but at least she was enjoying the flamenco claps. One of the highlights of the evening was definitely We’re Leaving where the band descended stage amongst the crowd a lá Arcade Fire at their recent gigs. The mariachi influence and lack of amplification brought both crowd and band (literally) closer and by the end of the second encore the crowd had finally been wooed with the polka of Lunnaya Pogonka that almost has me doing Russian squatworks. But not quite.

Whilst they are currently known mostly for their input to a soundtrack, it’s easy to see why they are much more in America. Their collecttive influences may perhaps restrict them from universal acknowledgement but with bands such as Gogol Bordello, Beirut and the North Strand Klezmer Band breaking through to the public, modest success may not be far off.

Solid performers and musicians as they are, it seemed they were waiting more for the audience to get into the gig, allowing them to relax in winning the crowd over. Perhaps the only complaint would perhaps be Urata’s over-earnest posing, giving each song such melodrama that he saturates some songs needlessly with his whispering pose. This was a great live introduction and with a few more visits and word of mouth approval they should garner a solid troupe of followers. Plus it’s nice to see a dressed up sousaphone once in a while.

Daire Hall


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Nuggets from our archive

2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.