• 4th Time Around

    Lug 12 2010, 10:29

    Sun 4 Jul – Bob Dylan, David Gray, Alabama 3, Seasick Steve

    Prior to his 1984 appearance at Slane, Bob Dylan‘s only other Irish performances both came in 1966, when he visited Dublin and Belfast. He made two more trips to Dublin in 1989 and a further eight to the Emerald Isle throughout the nineties. These were split between the North and South of the country and included his only visit to Waterford. He has notched up a further thirteen shows in Ireland over the last decade with only one of those in Belfast and just seven in Dublin. His tours around Ireland in the new millennium have seen him visit Kilkenny (twice), Cork and Galway. I saw him at the latter two gigs and also at The Point Depot in Dublin in 1993. That was my first time seeing Bob and I must admit that I didn’t enjoy it. I guess I had been expecting him to sound like he did on record and to play the same arrangements and even to chat with the crowd. He added Limerick to his Irish itinerary last Sunday and I was a lot more prepared for what to expect from my fourth time seeing Bob live on stage


  • Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken

    Lug 11 2010, 22:45

    Sat 9 May – Lloyd Cole

    For the second time in a forthnight I saw a member of an eighties band who’s been solo for three decades. Lloyd Cole may not have the same stage presence and energy as Morrissey, but he played a fine show at Dolans on Saturday. Lloyd started out with the Commotions and he released three albums with them before going solo in the late 80s. Like The Smiths, The Commotions played melodic indie pop combined with witty albeit melancholic lyrics. His solo work continued in this vein and he has amassed seven albums, two live sets and a box set since going out on his own. As he told us from the stage he now lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two kids. He has become an enthusiastic golfer as well and has a 5.3 handicap (apparently this is good)


  • Sets, Rugs & Rock 'n' Roll

    Lug 11 2010, 22:42

    Sun 26 Jul – Folk by the Oak

    My weekend visit to London also included a little trip to the countryside. On Sunday, my mate John and I took a short train ride to Hatfield in Hertfordshire to attend the second annual Folk by the Oak festival that takes place in the scenic Hatfield House. This is a one-day festival that is quite inexpensive and extremely relaxed and full of British acts that play folk and traditional music. John knew a lot more of the bands’ music than I did, but I quite enjoyed the music, the performers, the audience, the cider and the craic. The price of the tickets proved to be extremely good value at the ridiculously low price of 29 quid. The organisers even encouraged guests to bring their own food and drink. The price of the drink on sale at the venue was even cheaper than in the pubs in Ireland and there were no queues to the bar as many people seemed to have brought their own. The quality and the quantity of the food on offer was the only downside. This may have been due to the fact that many people brought picnic baskets, a luxury that is not afforded to those who travel with Ryanair. Even the weather, which had been amazing on the previous day, wasn’t too bad. It started out nice, but started to drizzle in the evening. This built up to a trickle later, before finally disappearing for the last few hours. Most people had brought clothing for this type of weather, but there were a few wankers who brought umbrellas that prevented people standing behind them from seeing the stage. Now, they weren’t wankers for bringing umbrellas, of course, but only because they wouldn’t put them down when asked. This was the only ocassion when it seemed like some aggro might occur. Fortunately, it came to nothing as the weather improved, the brollies came down, the wankers departed and the poor unfortunates who had been unable to see the stage were now able to do so. Here are some pictures of the seven acts that performed along with my recollections of their performances


  • Everyday Is Like Wednesday

    Lug 11 2010, 22:38

    Wed 29 Apr – Morrissey, Doll & The Kicks

    Ten days ago I went to see Morrissey play the Leisureland in Salthill, Galway. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to write about it until now. This delay was a combination of work, laziness, European rugby and football semi-finals, socialising, and going to the pictures. I went to the gig with my old friend, John, and a brand new one named Laura, who I had had a good chat with at the Morrissey Symposium the previous weekend. John drove up and, after a cup of tea and some cake, the three of us spent a while in Charlie Byrne’s wonderful bookstore. By the time we had left the shop, their bookshelves were a little lighter, but their cash register was a little heavier. Then, John went for a stroll around the streets of Galway, while Laura and I walked over to the pier and had a look at the “big birds flying across the sky, throwing shadows on our eyes“. It was coming up to six o’clock and the smell of books and the sea air had given us an appetite, so we met John at McDonagh’s Fish & Chip shop. We each had a plate of cod, chips and mushy peas. At our table we met a trio from Sligo who were also going to the gig. The six of us hoped that Morrissey wasn’t a vegan as well as a vegetarian and that the smell of fish wouldn’t cause him to leave the stage


  • Home Again

    Lug 11 2010, 22:34

    Fri 21 Aug – Edwyn Collins at the Edinburgh Festival

    A short walk around the streets of Edinburgh set us up nicely for Edwyn Collins‘ midnight gig at the Assembly Hall. Edwyn is native of Edinburgh and was lead singer of Orange Juice, one of my favourite Scottish bands. He turned 50 the day after this gig, so a belated happy birthday to you, sir. Edwyn has been going it alone since 1985 and last year he released his sixth solo album, Home Again. He’s extremely lucky to be still making music. Four years ago he suffered not one, but two, brain haemorrhages. Fortunately, the subsequent surgery proved successful and he has underwent a process of rehabilitation since. This has affected his movement on the right side of his body and is noticeable in his speech and movement. It also means that he cannot play the guitar. In addition, he had to learn his songs all over again and used a lecturn as he kept an eye on the lyrics during the gig. However, it has not affected his singing voice as he played for over an hour to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. His set ranged from Orange Juice favourites to songs from his solo albums. He was accompanied on stage by three fine guitarists and a percussionist as well as guest appearances from Teenage Fanclub‘s Norman Blake and the lead singer from the Cribs. Edwyn received great support from the young fellas behind him and they gave us lovely versions of Blue Boy and Rip It Up. Two of my highlights of the night came from his 1994 solo album, Gorgeous George. The lyrics of Low Expectations and, in particular, Make Me Feel Again took on new meaning in light of recent events. It must have been an emotional occasion for Edwyn and for many of the audience and this was certainly the case for the lady sitting beside me. Her companion had to console her throughout the gig as she wept openly during many of the songs. Fortunately, I’m a tough bastard and I only wept once


  • Songs & Crazy Dreams From Paul Brady

    Lug 11 2010, 22:28

    Thu 29 Apr – Paul Brady

    “I hope he’s in good form tonight”, my friend John said to me as Paul Brady and his band took to the stage at the University Concert Hall in Limerick last Thursday night. John’s been a fan of Paul’s music since he was still in short pants and remembers buying many of his albums when they were first released. He’s seen him on numerous occasions while this is my first time seeing Paul in concert. He’s in Limerick tonight in support of his new album Hooba Dooba and he gets things going with a couple of songs from the album. I’ve been listening to it on his site and it sounds like one of his best efforts in a while. I’m not too taken by tonight’s opening numbers, particularly as the sound at the outset is less than impressive. It’s a bit too trebly, lacks warmth and all the different instruments are lost in the mix


  • Just Like the Rain

    Lug 11 2010, 22:25

    Sat 24 Apr – Richard Hawley

    Last night I saw Richard Hawley play the Pavilion in Cork city. After many weeks of dry and sunny weather, the rain-soaked Cork streets resembled the noirish atmosphere of one of the Sheffield singer-songwriter’s songs. It was a different scene altogether inside the venue. The gig was sold-out and the old-fashioned theatre with its high ceiling was roasting throughout the show. All around the venue, the walls were covered with copies of the above sign. A feature of many of the gigs I’ve attended over the years is that a section of the audience don’t actually go to listen to the music, even though they’ve most likely paid full price for their tickets. It was good to see the management of the venue taking some action to ensure a little less conversation from the audience and it certainly helped the opening act to get his songs heard. James Eliot Taylor kicked things off just after eight and took to the stage dressed like a professor of literature. This image wasn’t completely inappropriate as Mr Taylor’s short set of a half dozen songs was full of witty and evocative lyrics and his songs weren’t short on melody, either


  • Indoor Fireworks

    Lug 11 2010, 22:22

    Thu 1 Jul – Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes

    Now that the World Cup is winding down (or is it up?) I’ve managed to find some time to devote to my first love, music. In the last week, I’ve seen a couple of my favourite songwriters each put on a fantastic show in two Irish cities. I’ll tell you about the second gig at a later date, but now I’m going to fill you in on one of the best musical events I’ve attended in a while: Elvis Costello at Vicar Street. I’ve been a fan of Mr Costello’s music for more than twenty years, but I’d only ever seen him in concert once before. That was at the Hammersmith Apollo in London in September 2002 on the When I Was Cruel tour. He was backed by The Imposters that day, essentially The Attractions without Pete Thomas and with Davey Faragher as his replacement. My recollections of the finer points of that gig have been lost in the mists of time, but I do recall that Chris Difford gave a good showing as the opening act. Also, Elvis and his band bounded on stage and tore into the opening half dozen songs without a single word of greeting from the main man. I don’t think he was in the best of form that night and he may have had a go at a member of the crowd who interrupted him with a request for a song while he was addressing the audience. I wouldn’t have expected anything less


  • More Eclecticism

    Ott 13 2009, 19:22

    Take your top 50 artists. For each of these artists, collect the top 20 similar artists (where the artist itself is the #1 most similar). The resulting number of unique artists is your super-eclectic score. You can compute your own score at http://anthony.liekens.net/pub/scripts/last.fm/supereclectic.php

    My super-eclectic score is currently


    The most similar artists for my profile are Neil Young (7), Bruce Springsteen (7), Bob Dylan (7), The Band (5), Van Morrison (5), Feist (5), St. Vincent (4), Jenny Lewis (4), Aztec Camera (4), Laura Marling (4)
  • Eclectic Avenue

    Set 17 2009, 1:27

    Take your top 20 artists. For each of these artists, collect the top 5 similar artists. The resulting number of unique artists is your eclectic score. If the score is small (extreme = 5) your musical preferences are very limited, and if it is large (larger than 80, extreme = 100), then you have an eclectic musical preference. You can compute your own score at http://anthony.liekens.net/pub/scripts/last.fm/eclectic.php

    My eclectic score is currently


    The 98 related artists for my profile are Band of Horses, Bat for Lashes, Bell X1, Belle and Sebastian, Billie Holiday, Billy Bragg & Wilco, Billy Bragg & the Blokes, Billy Bragg and The Blokes, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Band, Bon Iver, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen With The Sessions Band, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Damien Rice, Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan, Diana Krall, Ed Harcourt, Edwyn Collins, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Emily Jane White, Feist (2), Flogging Molly, Florence and The Machine, Future Bible Heroes, George Harrison, Grizzly Bear, Half Man Half Biscuit, Headless Heroes, Iron & Wine, Jarvis Cocker, Jenny Lewis, Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, Joe Jackson, John Lennon, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson, King Creosote, Kirsty MacColl, Laura Marling, Leonard Cohen (2), Les Petroleuses, Little Boots, Lizz Wright, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, M. Ward, Marc Collin, Mariee Sioux, Marina & the Diamonds, Marissa Nadler, Melody Gardot, Mirah, Moriarty, Neil Young, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nick Lowe, Nils Lofgren, PJ Harvey, Patti Scialfa, Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney & Wings, Pere Ubu, Phil Ochs, Pink Martini, Prefab Sprout, Rilo Kiley, Ringo Starr, Scout Niblett, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Shane MacGowan, Shane MacGowan and the Popes, Stacey Kent, Stephen Fretwell, Stephin Merritt, Swell Maps, The 6ths, The Band, The Blue Nile, The Cake Sale, The Divine Comedy, The Dodos, The Dubliners, The Frames, The Gothic Archies, The Highwaymen, The Lilac Time, The Tossers, VV Brown, Von Südenfed, Willie Nelson, Wire, Woody Guthrie, XTC, Zooey Deschanel