Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 - A Review!

Happy 2010 to you all. Much appreciation to you the reader for kind words and comments which only help to encourage the progression of this blog!

How was 2009 for you?

Top 3 Songs of 2009

1. Daybreak Somewhere by David Hope
2. Frozen Lake by Iain Archer
3. Bobby D by Lisa O'Neill

Top 3 Albums of 2009

1. Declan DeBarra - A Fire To Scare The Sun
2. Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album
3. Martin Finke - Make Daylight

Top 3 Performances in The 2UIBestow Sessions in Boyles, Slane

1. Kiernan McMullen [June 4th]
2. Van Cleef [August 6th]
3. Junah [December 18th]

Top 3 Music Blogs

1. Swear I'm Not Paul
2. Mp3Hugger
3. Nialler9

Top 3 Bands/Artists in terms of Attitude and all round Cuteness!

1. I Am Not Lefthanded
2. Bobby Noonan
3. Brian Canavan

Top 3 Industry Friends of 2UIBestow

1. Swear I'm Not Paul
2. Bandwagon TV/Profile Music/Backroom Navan
3. GoodSeed PR

Top 3 Sessions Nights in Dublin

1. The Glór Sessions
2. The Zodiac Sessions
3. The Song Room

Top 3 Venues in Ireland [excluding Boyles]

1. The Backroom, Navan
2. The Sugar Club
3. Whelans [main room]

Top 3 Live Performances

1. Mark Geary - Whelans [Oct 6th]
2. Damien Dempsey - Ryans, Slane [August]
3. LiveMic Weekend - Conary, Wicklow [May]

Top 3 at HWCH

1. The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
2. A Plastic Rose
3. Heritage Centre

Top 3 Personal Moments

1. Glen Hansard supported Mark Dignam in Whelans and played an intimate 6 song set in front of maybe 80 people. So intimate I'd have felt like a knob taking out the camera for YouTube!

2. The Glor Sessions late in November was a mad mad night! There's an excellent review of the night here; Have a read and give yourself a laugh!

3. I felt really proud of myself when Ham Sandwich played to a packed Boyles to kick off our monthly sessions night in June.

Any and all suggestions on the improvement of the blog is most welcome. The 2UIBestow Sessions is becomming 'Live at Boyles' and it kicks off in 4 weeks on Jan 28th in Boyles, Slane.

Here's to a great 2010!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Swell Season - Vicar Street Review

I am completely ecstatic that Glen and Marketa have found impressive success in the music world. Their music has the ability to make me go from laughing to singing to crying in a matter of minutes. Glen's voice has never sounded so passionate. The band clearly enjoyed playing in their backyard and the return of The Frames favourites in the encore capped off a perfect evening.

Fallen From The Sky [Glen & Marketa]
Lies [G & M]
Low Rising [The Swell Season]
Feeling The Pull [TSS]
In These Arms [TSS]
The Rain [TSS]
The Moon [TSS]
If You Want Me [TSS]
Fantasy Man [TSS]
Say It To Me Now [Glen Solo]
Leave [G]
Paper Cup [G]
Astral Weeks [G]
Once [TSS]
When Your Minds Made Up [TSS]


The first three songs in the encore were sung with the help of the choir from Glen's old primary school Holy Spirit School in Ballymun.

Falling Slowly [G & M]
High Horses [TSS]
Star Star - O Holy Night - Christmastime in the Mountains [TSS]
Heyday [TSS]

Encore 2

Revelate [The Frames]
The Stars Are Underground [TF]
God Bless Mom [TF]
Lay Me Down [TF]
Fitzcaraldo [TSS]

Glen finished the night with The Parting Glass in honour of Liam Clancy RIP. The inclusion of The Holy Spirit Choir was sentimental and a tad over of the top. Redemption did come in the form of Star Star and those five classic songs from The Frames back catalogue. I was urging them to keep playing songs like Fake, Seven Day Mile, Finally, Angel at my Table, Dream Awake, Santa Maria .... and it made me think WOW.... can't wait for the next concert from 'The Frames'!

Here's a video clip of Say It To Me sung completely acoustically;

Monday, 14 December 2009

Garrett Wall Band - Hands & Imperfections [Album Review]

Garrett Wall has been a feature in the Irish music scene since his debut album in 1994. The second album and his most successful to date was released in 1997 and included some great singles. According to the GWB biography Garrett went to live in Spain to escape music and found a whole new beginning. The Garrett Wall Band consists of Garrett Wall (guitar/piano/voice), Howard Brown (trumpet/voice), Robbie K. Jones (cajón) and Dave Mooney (bass/doublebass). The debut album 'Sky Pointing' was released in 2007 and the follow up is 'Hands & Imperfections'

I'm fast becoming a big fan of the Trumpet and this album is awash with it's sound. The songs are really typical of Garrett's solo career. They are well crafted pop tracks with clever lyrics and nice melodies. However the songs really do benefit from the range of Spanish influenced instruments on offer above.

Standout tracks include the wonder 'Is There No Freedom', 'Better Days' and 'The Ballad of an Exorcism'. Garrett's voice is as good as it was when I was a big fan of his solo work back in 1997. 'Hands & Imperfections' is a really good pop-rock album.

Garrett Wall Band - Han & Imperfections; [8 out of 12]

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Best Irish Songs and Albums of 2009

That institute in the blogsphere Nialler9 is asking for people to nominate their top 10 albums of the year and top 10 songs of the year. All the details are here:

Here are my lists which I'm going to copy onto the comment section of the above post;

Top 10 albums of 2009

1. Declan DeBarra - A Fire To Scare The Sun
2. Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album
3. Martin Finke - Make Daylight
4. Miss Paula Flynn - Self-titled
5. Pearse McGloughlin - Busy Whispers
6. Alphastates - Human Nature
7. Iain Archer - To The Pine Roots
8. The Chapters - Perfect Stranger
9. SEBP - Night Horses
10. You Kiss By The Book - Bear Leader

Top 10 songs of 2009

1. Daybreak Somewhere by David Hope
2. Frozen Lake by Iain Archer
3. Bobby D by Lisa O'Neill
4. Passion Song by Pearse McGloughlin
5. I Will Protect You by Heritage Centre
6. Cossfire by Bill Coleman
7. Running out of Time by Henrietta Game
8. I'm Not Afraid by Sean Needham
9. Peace in my Mind by Wayne Brennan
10. Death of a Songwriter by Groom

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Whelans 20th Anniversary [Concert Review]

On 7th December 1989 Whelans opened it's doors as a music venue on the southern outskirts of Dublin. Check out this site for a detailed history of Whelans;

"One feature of the bar is the Stone man, a life size statue of a lone Dublin drinker propped against the Stone Bar. The statue is made with fired wood chips, a sort of complex paper mache." ... taken from the link above!

Fast forward to 2009 and alot has changed in Dublin and Ireland since the post Commitment and Joshua Tree days! Last night kicked off with the hint that it would be a well organised celebration and in the end corporate Whelans stepped back and allowed our best musicians to perform to a packed house of punters making the most of the free admission!

In general each of the following eight acts had about 25 minutes of stage time;

Nick Kelly ft Sean Millar,
Juliet Turner,
Luka Bloom,
Maria Doyle Kennedy,
The Flaws,
Ham Sandwich,
Paddy Casey

Highlight #1: Maria Doyle Kennedy was a sensation with her new songs and an amazing chanting song which brought about the kind of sing-song that has made Whelans survive 20 years. 'Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas' was a real treat!

Highlight #2: It was great to hear Paddy Casey sing 'Sweet Suburban Sky' and reminded me of how much I liked his debut.

Highlight #3: I'll never get tired of hearing Ham Sandwich perform 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush. However what topped this was Niamh joining Mundy onstage for 'To You I Bestow'

Hidden Highlight: Mundy didn't sing 'Galway Girl' and slagged off David Kitt who he was replacing on the bill!

Low light: The lack of a compere or MC resulted in a lack of focus. Some of the acts shared Whelans stories but there was a sense that these artists were just happy to play to a packed crowd on a Monday night!

My hope for Whelans is that their focus is on good quality music rather than just focus on the bottom line of till receipts! Here's to many more years in Whelans!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

David Hope - Daybreak Someplace [EP Review]

There are many people out there who are saying wonderful things about David Hope. Stephen James Smith for one was tweeting and bulletting about David's gig in Whelans a few months back. Mary Coughlan [musician I assume!] says many good things and Dave Redfern who plays guitar for Odi passed this EP onto me for a review.

There are seven tunes on the EP. The Cuckoo's Return is a bluesy instrumental which sits in the middle of the seven tunes. The title track is one of the best song's I've heard this year. The lyrics are supperb on the whole EP but he hits a nerve with 'Daybreak Someplace' and 'Watch Over You'. The other songs are good acoustic folk songs brought to life with David's strong vocal properties. Overall it's a really good EP. I do hope that the songs 'Daybreak Someplace' and 'Watch Over You' gets onto a full length album in the future.

Get more info about David here and find many songs over here!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Album Review: The Swell Season - Strict Joy

'Strict Joy' is the second album [excluding the Once soundtrack] from The Swell Season and was released at the end of last month worldwide. The Swell Season seem to have been touring non stop since the big Oscar win with only taking short breaks. They are understandably riding the crest of the Oscar wave and making sure they get their music out there to the wider world.

It is within this context that 'Strict Joy' has to be taken. It's more of a retrospective album bringing together the labour of the band's work for the last three or four years. Many of the songs have featured in set-lists of previous tours and are already well known by fans of the band. It also needs to be acknowledged that 'Strict Joy' hasn't been well received in Ireland and I can offer no reason why.

There are songs about being in love and the end of a relationship. If you don't get the male perspective then there's always the female perspective on love life and relationships. The production is top rate and there's no over indulgence on the album. It's an album of good quality folk-rock music performed by musicians with a love for music.

'Low Rising' is such a great uplifting tune. 'Feeling the Pull' is the sound of a band having the time of their lives. I love the 70's folk inspired feel to 'Love That Conquers' and would rival the splendid 'I Have Loved You Wrong' as the best track on the album. Overall the quality is really good but there is something that is missing on the album. 'Strict Joy' is like a collection of individual songs composed over a long time period rather than an album of cutting edge new music from a band making progress in the music world.

The Swell Season - Strict Joy [9 out of 12]

....... I may be wrong but I'm gonna predict that in early 2011 The Frames will have a new album out as well as Marketa releasing her debut solo album. If I'm right I'll have two great albums to review into the future!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Top 10 Irish Albums of the Decade

I seen the following over on Jim's blog;

"We at AU Magazine are in the process of putting together a poll of the Top Irish Albums of the Decade for our December/January issue.

We’d love OTR readers (and Irish Times staff!) to contribute - just compile a list of UP TO 20 albums released since January 2000 by artists from anywhere in Ireland, and email it to me - chris[at]

The deadline for entries is THIS MONDAY, November 23. Any queries about eligibility, please email me.

The results will be out towards the end of the first week in December"

Soooooo on impulse mainly here's my top 10:

Damien Rice - O

The Frames - For The Birds

Pony Club - Home Truths

Nick Kelly - Running Dog

No video found!

Bill Coleman - I'll Tear Down My Own Walls

Alphastates - Made in Sand

Brian Canavan - I'm An Electron, You're An Electron

Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album

Damien Rice - 9

Shaz Oye - Truth According to Shay Oye

Monday, 16 November 2009

Album Review: ODi -Maslow's Songbook

Maslow's Songbook is a really good album that has been a joy to listen to. It contains 12 songs of which there are some really great tunes. Standout tracks include 'Leaving My Love in New York', 'Red Light', 'Something Beautiful' and 'Mariposa'.

I suppose some of the best albums are difficult to categorise and it's the same with ODi's debut. There's a real 'Bic Runga' pop vibe from the album. Many of the tracks are perfect for the montage scenes in Romantic Comedy movies. ODi's voice drags that pop vibe back to Ireland and as a result we get an album that would rival anything The Cranberries have done.

Maslow's Songbook should bring much success to ODi and help her create a big fanbase in Ireland because the album is full of catchy personal tunes that will appeal to many a music lover.

ODi - Maslow's Songbook [9 out of 12]

See ODi live:

23.11.09 THE OLD OAK Cork IRL 21:00 FREE!
25.11.09 BRAZIL'S - supporting Mundy Clonmel IRL 21:00 tbc
27.11.09 THE VINE Wexford IRL 21:30 €10
01.12.09 NUIG Sessions Galway IRL tbc FREE!
03.12.09 JACKSON'S HOTEL Ballybuffet IRL tbc
04.12.09 JACKSON'S HOTEL (Friday Night Music Club) Ballybuffet IRL tbc

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Mark Geary - Live, Love, Lost It NYC [Album Review]

This will be a short review of Mark Geary's amazing live album Live, Love, Lost It NYC released last month. It really is an essential purchase if you're a Mark Geary fan, or if you want a compilation 'best of ...' or if you're a budding musician and want to learn from a true master.

It was recorded in The Scratcher New York and for the most part is just Mark his guitar and a chorus of fans very happy to sing all night long. Fellow Irish New York resident Brendan O'Shea helps out with some fine backing vocals. It's so stripped down you can easily hear glasses of bear and people shuffling in the audience which gives the recording a very organic feel.

The set list spans Mark's three albums. 'Suzanne' and 'Morphine' are notable omissions but as mentioned 'Live, Love ...' could be considered a mini Best Of compilation of Mark Geary's work to date. Standout tacks for me include the expanded 'Volunteer', 'It Beats Me' and the hilarious false start of 'See-Saw'.

Mark Geary - Live, Love, Lost It NYC [10 out of 12]

Here are the clips I took at the album launch in Whelans last month.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Swell Season Full Concert Download

The Swell Season performed at the beautiful, and historic Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on November 1, 2009. RadioMilwaukee was proud to broadcast the performance live and we are happy to be able to share it with you here.

Grab the full concert in one single file here;

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Album Review: Lisa Hake - Wind Under Wood

Lisa Hake is a singer-songwriter-guitarist whose home is Dundalk, County Louth. She originally hails from the wine country hills of Northern California and before that, the coal mining mountains of West Virginia. Lisa has just released her second album 'Wind Under Wood'.

'Wind Under Wood' flirts with many genres. On many tracks it reminds me of the work of Janis Ian while on others I can hear the Folk-Jazz of mid-90s Joni Mitchell. When I asked my wife she suggesed the album was more similar to Nanci Griffith style Country music. One thing for certain is that 'Wind Under Wood' is an accomplished piece of work from a really good singer and musician.

As the title suggest the album is steeped in nature references with a particularly leaning towards songs about the sea and water. "We will sleep in fishing nets beneath the moon, Dance upon the wooden decks of your ballroom" [Fisherman's Tears] The descriptive lyrics of the songs are beautifully written and is one of the strenghts of the album.

Another quality aspect of 'Wind Under Wood' is the cd booklet and images used. In the lyrics section there's a short note explaining the inspiration of each track. In fact the booklet can be viewed here:

I think there's alot to like in this record but it suffers from lack of variety which is an odd statement considering the difficulty I've had to connect the album to a genre. There's warmth in abundance here for sure but a lack of variety means my attention wanders and I lose sight of the beautiful lyrics and storys within the songs.

Lisa Hake - Wind Under Wood [8 out of 12]

Monday, 2 November 2009

Album Review: Ultan Conlon - Bless Your Heart

I've been eagerly awaiting Ultan Conlon's debut album for quite some time and it doesn't fail to impress. Galwegian Ultan will forever have the tag line of being the last person to record with the late John Martyn who also contributed to the lyrics of 'Really Gone' and was very much championing Ultan's talents. With that vote of confidence do you really need me to confirm that Ultan Conlon is a great talent?

The overwhelming mood of 'Bless Your Heart' is that this is a love album. If there was any justice in this world Ultan would have a massive global hit with the album opener 'The Universe Tune' and it'll become the first wedding song of choice for a new generation of couples; "You're greater than the Universe, it's true". The title track, the single 'The Will' and the beautiful 'Old & Wise' all deal with the delicate matters of the heart and relationships.

Ultan's voice is easy on the ear and it helps to fully communicate the sublime intelligent lyrics of the songs. It's the lyrics which carry the album and differentiates it from so much other music out there at the moment. "Love Will Burn Out Madness, It Remains Beyond The Grave"... 'Bless Your Heart'

'Bless Your Heart' is an album of ten tracks where half of them are really excellent tunes and are possible single contenders. 'Old & Wise' is one of the best tracks I've heard all year. Many of the songs contain strings but they're used sparingly and effectively throughout the album. If you're a fan of artists such as Declan O'Rourke and David Gray then 'Bless Your Heart' will appeal to you.

Ultan Conlon - Bless Your Heart [11 out of 12]

The Stables / Support to Rich Wyman

Bless your heart album launch
Free entry

'Bless Your Heart' album launch (Dublin)
Whelan's (upstairs)
Wexford St.
Price TBA

The Crane
Sea road, Galway
Price TBA

Check back on the blog for details on how to win the album

Thursday, 29 October 2009

An Irish Halloween Mixtape

It does seem in Ireland that this year's Halloween is being celebrated like never before and I'm loving it. Here's an Irish Halloween mixtape! Some of the tunes are technically not written about Halloween but are included for atmospheric qualities.

1. And So I Watch You From Afar - Set Guitars To Kill

2. Ham Sandwich - Running Up That Hill [Live]

3. Pearse McGloughlin - Haunting Room

4. Shaz Oye - Blood on the Bone

5. David Hope - See The Ghost

6. Entheos - Ghost on the Stairs

7. Melophobia - Hurricanes & Gravestones (part 2)

8. The Angel Pier - Skulls & Xs

9. Jape - Haunt Me

10. Mumblin' Deaf Ro - Trouble Under A Murder Moon

11. Dave Geraghty - Cracked Skull

12. Jack L - The Devils

13. Shane MacGowan & Sinead O'Connor - Haunted

14. Murder Plan - The Dead (Tango)

15. God is an Astronaut - From Dust To The Beyond

[Disclaimer: These links are removed after a number of weeks and are intended as music samples only. Please support the acts in any way possible. If your music is here it means that your music is search-able on some of the biggest music sites in the world; ]

Friday, 23 October 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Pelvis

Pelvis were a three piece indie pop band with great tunes and image.

Pelvis were:

Johnny Rogan
Vocals, Bass Guitar & Piano

Ed Reynolds
Guitars & Backing Vocals

Mick Goss
Drums & Backing Vocals

Around '97 Pelvis was a great indie pop band and were creating a nice buzz in the Irish music scene. They won the Heineken Green Energy Unsigned Band Competition, in May '97 winning £10k worth of recording time and within no time their star was rising. Pelvis released singles 'Streetlight' and 'Hang My Hat' and the album 'Who Are You Today' on Setanta Records. They even got a spot on Later With Jools Holland alongside Pulp and Lenny Kravitz. As well as performing all over Europe with time for more BBC radio session, Pelvis have recently opened and toured with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Divine Comedy respectively.

In 1999 the band were dropped from their record label and as a result were no more. I can't find any information on what the three members of the band did after their fifteen minutes.

Pelvis - The Change

Pelvis - Peace & Love

Buy from Setanta Records

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Album Review: Mark Black - Sweet Rescue Blues

Mark Black is an exceptional performer and artist from Donegal. Mark Black's most recent album 'Sweet Rescue Blues' was released earlier this year and proves that we Irish can perform the blues!

Watch 'Ramblin on my Mind'

'Sweet Rescue Blues' has many fine moments. The song 'Crazy in the Light' is a fine dixie inspired blues track. The closer 'Stay (Here With Me)is Dylanesque in it's nature. 'Rough Park' and 'Lough Swilly' are two beautifully composed acoustic instrumentals. The title track is also a fine track with nice melodies.

On a whole it doesn't work too well for me. Mark's voice is suited for the blues but can be laboured. The gritty blues tracks have an altogether unreasonable familiarity about them. There's also a lack of warmth or atmosphere in the album which is badly needed.

Mark Black - Sweet Rescue Blues - [8 out of 12]

7 Nov 2009 22:30 Chasin Bull Bundoran, Donegal
13 Nov 2009 20:00 Balor Arts Centre Ballybofey, Donegal
19 Dec 2009 22:30 Bridge Bar Ramelton, Donegal
27 Dec 2009 20:00 An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny

Monday, 19 October 2009

HWCH's Day 3 Review & Overal Thoughts!

For the last night despite my desire to see bands like Funeral Suits, Super Extra Bonus Party and Ham Sandwich I decided to stay in The Button Factory for the last night of HWCHs.

Pearse McGloughlan

Pearse was accompanied by Sean Lynch on Mandolin and played a great set of songs from his debut album 'Busy Whisper'. It was a small but appreciative audience for Pearse's music.

Ultan Conlon

Ultan and his band of excellent musicians played a brilliant set from Ultan's soon to be released debut album. This was one of the first gigs for Ultan and the band but it didn't show. In an Irish world full of singer songwriters Ultan has a massive amount to offer with great tunes and songwriting.

Fiona Melady

I've been fortunate to see Fiona perform many times this year and this was the best I have seen. Fiona was at ease and looked like she was having a ball. She was accompanied by Gavin Fox [fresh from playing in Ollie Cole and Fionn Regan's bands on Saturday] and Ian Melady of Little Palace on Drums. Fiona's music has midday radio written all over it! Come on Tony Fenton play her music!

The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra

.... were amazing. A breath of fresh air! The nine piece played a blinding set which gives hope to a fine successful debut album in the future. There were like the missing link between Arcade Fire and Jack L!

The Angel Pier

The Angel Pier confirmed their greatness with a neat set to finish the night to a decent crowd.

Best 3 Bands

Murder Plan [not part of HWCHs but playing in Le Cirk on Friday night]
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
Heritage Centre

Best 3 for Entertainment

NoLady [see video]
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
A Plastic Rose

3 Things I Learned

Beards are back. Not silly goatees but big folk off beards .... Gavin Fox, Ultan Conlan, Ollie Cole, Heritage Centre, Angel Pier, .... are all at it!

ALT is a great venue!

People I've had a chance to have a chat with [ie called Networking] are really sound and there was a really lovely vibe about the place! Was great to talk about music rather than Nama, Taxes, Budgets and Anarchy!

I'll be uploading more video clips from the festival in the coming days and weeks:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

HWCH's Day 2 Review

The afternoon industry panels were hugely enjoyable and informative in The Button Factory. The Media panel discussed the future of music promotion on a whole with emphasis on getting the best from the online resources available. The 'TV on the Radio' panel opened up a whole different side to the music industry that I never knew existed.

Ollie Cole in The Button Factory

A decent sized crowd turned up for the early evening gig time of 7.10 for former Turn front man Ollie Cole. There was a stupid rattle noise from the stage which simply pissed me off. I was expecting a low key performance from Ollie but the songs are in the main more indie than the expected Elliot Smith influenced folk! A fine set from a fine performer.

Land Lovers in The Button Factory

The five song set from Land Lovers showcased their songwriting talents. It was a solid performance but there isn't much to write about!

O Emperor in Andrew's Lane Theatre

The first thing to note is the folk image the band offers on sage. However it's a odds with the KOL/Killers imspired indie rock. The penultimate track was really good but again I wasn't really impressed.

Ali & The DTs in Andrew's Lane Theatre

The best way to describe Ali & the DTs is to imagine if The Commitments went Country Rock instead of Soul. There were ten people on stage and it was a mess. There was a wall of sound blasting from the stage where nothing made sense. I'm listening to their songs on the breaking tunes site and they sound great! They need to sort out their live performance.

The Holy Roman Army in Twisted Pepper

I have listened to the debut album from The Holy Roman Army a few times but seeing the band live brought the album to life. There was a really good crowd for the band and the band were on top form.

Valerie Francis in Twisted Pepper

My night ended with seeing and hearing Valerie Francis for the first time. She performed well at a difficult pre-clubbing time slot. I have to make sure I buy her album soon.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

HWCH's Day 1 Review

The best thing about day one of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival was that so many people were talking about Irish music. All the bands I seen were playing for their lives last night. Great night.


Aine O'Doherty formally known as the act 'Onya' from Donegal has recruited a fine band and are now 'NoLady'. They make cheeky alternative pop music which can easily be compared to The Sultans of Ping.

City of Angels

From NoLady the plan was to go straight to see the lovely Heathers but on my way past Twisted Pepper I heard a great voice and some decent alternative sounds. 'City of Angels' are a brand new band in that the gig last night was their forth ever concert. I got to hear about four tunes and I was massively impressed. I thought the vocals could have been louder but the four piece have a decent set up!


I think due to an earlier band not making the festival Heathers were due to play until 9.30 but finished as soon as I took my first sip from my pint at 9.10. There was a great crowd in the new look Think Tank.

A Plastic Rose

Over to The Button Factory for Belfast's 'A Plastic Rose' who I knew nothing about. The set was amazing. The twin vocals on most of the songs work well for me as the distinct vocals compliment each other. The sound is probably as big as their ambition and will be a band to watch out for in the future.

Dark Room Notes

Staying in The Button Factory Dark Room Notes appeared to the large crowd and performed a decent set. As 'headliner' they didn't engage the crowd and I felt as though they were going through the motions. I really wanted to be impressed!

Heritage Centre

Of all the bands I really wanted to see this weekend Heritage Centre was the band I most wanted to see and they did impress me. I love their songs and live they have energy in abundance. I'm sure this band will become an international success.


I was delighted to enter Twisted Pepper and see a big crowd for Tim's electric sound of dance rock. I love the song Rachel which he performed and it was a real party atmosphere.

Murder Plan

Not part of HWCHs but playing a free gig in the beautiful room upstairs in Le Cirk were Murder Plan. It's a tough task trying to describe their sound. Stephanie's voice is amazing and is their greatest quality. Their songs are really good, they have lots of energy and are excellent musicians.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Album Review: Miss Paula Flynn - Self-titled

It's been two weeks since the release of Miss Paula Flynn's self titled debut and it's been on regular play in my car and at home during the fortnight. I could easily write a decent sized essay about this album. I'll try to explain why it's a special collection of songs that will compete with Lisa O'Neill's and Declan DeBarra's albums for my album of the year.

The first thing you should notice about the album apart from the wonderful packaging is that it's a big album of 17 tracks. This includes 13 songs and three spoken word tracks backed by a music soundtrack and a closing lullaby. The spoken word tracks for me act as intermissions and give a rather structured 'peak and trough' feel to the album on a whole.

'Miss Paula Flynn' is a very personal reflective album. It's full of thoughtful imagery about many of life's personal issues. 'Wallpaper's Peeling' is like a tragic waltz dedicated to an end of a relationship. 'Angels in the Dark' contains many references to nature with the trees in the moonlight being the angels in the dark. The reflective tones in 'Killed a Bird' has the ability to bring me close to tears. This personal reflection and thoughtful imagery is wrapped up and delivered by Paula's delicate beautiful voice and the amazing musical compositions on the album.

You could say the above represents the 'Trough' and the 'Peaks' are the uplifting tracks such as 'Magic', 'Goldfish at the Fair' and 'Five a Day' where Paula is trying to convince us of the message that sex, love, pain, death and Miss Paula Flynn is good for you.... or so the doctors say!

I love the spoken word tracks. 'Disco Dance' paints the picture of a situation which we have all found ourselves or in fact find ourselves in a nightclub in the middle of a dance floor some weekend. 'Boxed In' is a poetic story all about being trapped in a situation you don't want. Is there a better way to close an album than the lullaby 'Little Black Sheep'.

Overall 'Miss Paula Flynn' is a great album. It has great lyrics, beautiful folk music and that voice you could easily fall in love with. It's an album I would buy for my niece in college, my 40 year old sister and my best friend and they will all love it!

Miss Paula Flynn - Self Titled [12 out of 12]

Listen to three album tracks as well as last year's Christmas single 'Happy Chrstmas Valentine' and the cover 'Let's Dance' over at

Buy the album: Miss Paula Flynn on itunes

Holiday In Sweden from Miss Paula Flynn on Vimeo.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Hard Working Class Heroes Schedule


7.30 - 8.00 - MIRACLE BELL
8.10 - 8.40 - WE CUT CORNERS
8.50 - 9.20 - SUBPLOTS
9.30 - 10.00 - THE DEAD FLAGS
10.10 - 10.40 - THE AMBIENCE AFFAIR
11.00 - 12.00 - VILLAGERS

(12:00 - 2.00AM HWCH CLUB)

7.15 - 7.45 - MIDATLANTIC
8.00 - 8.30 - ALRIGHT CHIEF
9.20 - 9.50 - A PLASTIC ROSE
10.00 - 10.35 - DARK ROOM NOTES

7.30 - 8.00 - I ♥ THE MONSTER HERO
8.10 - 8.40 - NO LADY
8.50 - 9.20 - DEAF ANIMAL orchestra
10.10 - 10.40 - NOT SQUARES
10.55 - 11.30 - HERITAGE CENTRE

7.45 - 8.15 - ALBERT PENGUIN
8.30 - 9.00 - CITY OF ANGELS
10-00 - 10.30 - SERGEANT MEGAPHONE
10.45 - 11.15 - TALULAH DOES THE HULA
11.30 - 12.00 - NEOSUPERVITAL

7.30 - 8.00 - LADYDOLL
8.15 - 8.45 - THEME TUNE BOY
9.00 - 9.30 - BLACK ROBOTS
9.45 - 10.15 - ZEALOTS
10.30 - 11.00 - IDENTITY PARADE

7.30 - 8.00 - GIRAFFES
8.15 - 8.45 - HIRED HANDS
9.35 - 10.05 - THE STAR DEPARTMENT
10.15 - 10.45 - HEATHERS
10.55 - 11.30 - MORE TINY GIANTS


8.30 - 9.00 - O EMPEROR
9.10 - 9.40 - ALI & THE DTS
9.50 - 10.20 - GRAN CASINO
10.30 - 11.00 - SWEET JANE
11.15 - 12.00 - ADEBISI SHANK

(12:00 - 2.00AM HWCH CLUB)

7.10 - 7.40 - OLLIE COLE
7.50 - 8.20 - LAND LOVERS
8.30 - 9.00 - BRIANA CORRIGAN
9.10 - 9.40 - DEAF JOE
10.00 - 11.00 - FIONN REGAN

7.30 - 8.00 - FINGERSMITH
8.15 - 8.45 - KILL KRINKLE CLUB
9.00 - 9.30 - CUTAWAYS
9.45 - 10.15 - DISTRACTORS
10.30 - 11.00 - CHEAP FREAKS

7.30 - 8.00 - KYON
8.15 - 8.45 - YES CADETS
8.55 - 9.25 - C!TIES
9.35 - 10.05 - THE HOLY ROMAN ARMY
10.15 - 10.45 - VALERIE FRANCIS
10.45 - 12.15 - DJ SETS FROM:
12.30 - 01.00 - THE SPOOK OF THE 13TH LOCK
01.15 - 01.45 - THE DYING SECONDS
02.00 - 02.45 - HUNTER GATHERER

8.00 - 8.30 - ESCAPE ACT
8.45 - 9.15 - P.DOG
9.30 - 10.00 - BLOOD BOTTLER
10.15 - 10.45 - COLLIE

7.30 - 8.00 - RORY GRUBB
9.00 - 9.30 - GOATBOY
9.45 - 10.15 - THE POORMOUTH
10.30 - 11.00 - LIZ IS EVIL


8.15 - 8.45 - DISCONNECT 4
9.00 - 9.30 - ROBOTNIK
9.45 - 10.15 - ONLY FUMES & CORPSES
10.25 - 10.55 - 202s

8.10 - 8.40 - ULTAN CONLON
8.50 - 9.20 - FIONA MELADY
10.15 - 11.00 - THE ANGEL PIER

7.30 - 8.00 - ARMOURED BEAR
8.10 - 8.40 - BIGGLES FLYS AGAIN
8.50 - 9.20 - AUTUMN OWLS
9.30 - 10.00 - TIDAL DISTRICT
10.10 - 10.40 - VERONA RIOTS

7.30 - 8.00 - GO PANDA GO
8.10 - 8.40 - HASSLE MERCHANTS
8.50 - 9.20 - JOGGING
9.30 - 10.00 - TINY MAGNETIC PETS
10.55 - 11.30 - HAM SANDWICH

7.30 - 8.00 - PRIMO
8.15 - 8.45 - VOX POPULI
9.45 - 10.15 - REMMA
10.30 - 11.00 - AIRSTRIP ONE
11.15 - 11.45 - KILLER CHLOE

8.10 - 8.40 - THE VALS
8.50 - 9.20 - PLANET PARADE
9.30 - 10.00 - EXIT THE STREET
10.10 - 10.40 - POCKET PROMISE

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Label

Label were a four piece rock band based in Dublin. Their musical collaborations began in 2001 after an incident involving some local thieves and the four members of the band. Simon Good (The Mary Janes), Shane Fitzsimons, (Damien Rice, Mundy, Lisa Hannigan) and Binzer (The Frames, Concerto For Constantine) - while taking a break from the a jam session at a rehearsal space near the Temple Bar area of Dublin - stumbled upon a lone busker, Terry Sutton. They noticed Sutton was in trouble with some local thieves who where about to take what they could. With raised voices and fist flying the trio managed to save him from a beating and the price of four beers in the process.

An hour or so later in the nearest drinking establishment, the three realised they needed a singer and the fourth needed a band and a place to stay, so 'Label' were formed.

Having played with, and alongside, some of Ireland's top artists such as the Frames, Bell-X1 and Damien Rice, Label have been tagged a super-group of sorts. Their live shows are an exceptional strength of the band, with the intensity and energy that?s created, delivering great songs with blistering full-tilt guitars, a powerful rhythm section and an equally powerful vocal performance. This has landed them a slot at witness 2002, a fanning session on 2fm and a place on the i.m.r.o show case tour 2003.

..... mainly taken from

I remember constantly checking out the bands website for developments and there wasn't any after 2004/2005. The band seem to fade and with it all hope for a Label album. It is still a mystery as to why Terry Sutton has not delivered an album.

Label - Morning Riser

Label - Ali [live from Eamon Dorans]

Terry Sutton - The Laughter

Legacy: The members of Label have continued in the music business. Shane is currently the bassist with Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice while Binzer is drumming in Concerto for Constantine. However Terry Sutton who played a few gigs last year is working on a debut album.

If you like the above tracks could you the reader do me a massive favour by adding a comment. I'll then send this post onto Terry in the hope that in some small way we may encourage an album out of the amazing talent that is Terry Sutton.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Elder Roche - Nobody Knows [Album Review]

Elder's debut album which was officially released a few weeks back in The Button Factory was in fact recorded in 2007 and shows massive promise and potential which Elder has lived up to since the recording of the debut.

The most significant aspect of 'Nobody Knows' is the quality of Elder's specific style of folk rock. This along with Elder's quality voice and his songwriting makes for a really good debut album which gets better after every listen!

The best songs on the album are Heart to Strum, Diamonds and Nobody Knows. I also love the swaying folk of Greenfield Terrace. The atmospheric Figures Dress in Black transports you to a cafe in Paris while the album opener Shine brings a positive vibe to the album. Overall it's one of the best releases this year in Ireland.

Elder Roche - Nobody Knows [10 out of 12]

15 Oct 2009 21:00 The Odessa Club Dublin
25 Oct 2009 20:00 The Sky and the Ground, Wexford Wexford
5 Nov 2009 20:00 2UIBestow Sessions. Boyles, Slane. Meath
13 Nov 2009 20:00 Dolans Warehouse. Support to Mundy Limerick
6 Feb 2010 19:45 Nighthawks at the Cobalt Cafe

I can confirm Elder Roche is playing November 5th at The 2UIBestow Sessions in Boyles, Slane with blog favourites Brian Canavan, Pete Courtney and local favourites Meridas.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mark Geary - Whelans Gig Review

I've been to some amazing gigs this year. Most of them I've organised myself ;) well as going to Mark Dignam in Whelans, One Day International in Whelans, Little Palace in Navan but for me Mark Geary's gig in Whelans last night reignited my faith in Ireland. Yes Ireland! I have proof of how good it was .....

Here is America performed with Ann Scott and the band!

The band consisted of Graham Hopkins on Drums and Karl Odlum on Bass. There was this wonderful feeling from the band that playing live was simply great fun. The set consisted of the best of Mark Geary as well as Mark performing a cover of The Pixies Gigantic which in the end turned out to be a duet with an enthusiastic Pixies fan in the crowd! Ray Lamontagne's 'Jolene' also made an appearance during a song outro! Here is Mark introducing and performing 'Angel'. It includes some great lines from Mark!

The single best thing about the gig was that every song turned into a sing-song. Whelans was packed out which is some achievement considering the national context! I often write about concerts and Irish music as music for the soul! This was so true last night! Everyone needs a night with Mark Geary at least once a year!

Here is the wonderful concert closer 'It Beats Me'.

Damien Rice & Glan Hansard at The Ruby Sessions

My next post will be a gig review of Mark Geary's excellent album launch at Whelans last night. However down at Doyles, The Ruby Sessions were celebrating their 10 years in style with sets from Damien Rice, Vyvienne Long, Liam O Maonlai and Glen Hansard. Here's Damien and Glen pissing off Dublin Bus drivers in College Green!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - The Prayer Boat

Here's some background info from various websites:

The Prayer Boat were formed in 1987 in Blessington, Co. Wicklow. After a short period of playing in local bars and clubs, The Prayer Boat attracted a cult following in Dublin and two years of touring in Ireland culminated in the release of the band's first single Beautiful History on their own label, Stem Records. The band were eventually signed to RCA in 1989 and released their debut 'Oceanic Feeling' in 1991. Dark Green, released in 1995 became a chart hit in Ireland and also featured in the Top 20 Singles of the Year in Hot Press.

The Prayer Boat released Polichinelle with Setanta Records in 1999 in the UK and with Atlantic Records in 2001 in the United States. It is this album which both critics and fans of The Prayer Boat think best represents the unique music of the band.

The album Polichinelle as a whole was highly acclaimed by music journals. Top magazine said that it was 'Absolutely incandescent' and 'So consistently beautiful it could be displayed in a shop window'; NME described it as 'quite stunning' and Billboard voted it as its album of the year, saying that, 'this gorgeous set of intimate, meticulously crafted pop tunes was among the best albums to come across our desk this year.'


Soon The Stars Will Steer Me

If I did a list of my top three favourite albums I'd have to go for Jeff Buckley's Grace, Mark Dignam's 'Poetry & Songs ...' and 'Polichinelle' from The Prayer Boat. Unbelievably in about two weeks I'll get a chance to listen to the whole record live in a special ten year anniversary gig in Whelans on October 14th. When you see the success of bands like Coldplay and Keane it really is criminal that the world hasn't had a chance to listen to Emmett's voice and their beautifully written tunes.

It Hurts To Lose You


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Album Review: Lisa O'Neill 'Has An Album'

I have read many great things about Lisa O'Neill recently. I was also told by a few people how great her debut 'Has An Album' is and I have tried my very best to ensure I am impartial in my review. Lisa originally from Co. Cavan was Elder Roche's support act on Wednesday night at The Button Factory and on the back of that fine performance from Lisa with her band I invested €10 in her beautifully packaged debut album.

'Has An Album' is a collection of beautifully written folk ballads intertwined with poetic lyrics and insightful imagery. The band in The Button Factory consisted of Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Accordion and Irish Harp. Additional instruments on the album include Piano, Cello and Double Bass. Lisa has a very distinct voice which reminds me of a quieter Lucinda Williams or Martha Wainwright.

The overall mood and atmosphere of the album is of an artist on a very personal reflective journey. There's a wonderful tribute to Bob Dylan [Bobby D] and an upbeat tune consisting of nursery rhyme quotes [Pocket Full of Piggies]. In the main the songs are about friendships, relationships and astute descriptions of simple life; "I think those hands around my waist, but I've been drinking so long I can't taste".

I'm finding it difficult to pinpoint an exact aspect of 'Has An Album' that has me so spellbound. I think the simple fact that I am so taken by the album means that this album deserves the highest rating on my review scale:

Lisa O'Neill 'Has An Album' - 12 out of 12

In many ways Lisa's debut reminds me so much of my favourite album ever which is Mark Dignam's debut album 'Poetry and Songs From The Wheel'. Both albums contain great songs, beautiful singing and insightful descriptive songwriting.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - The Fat Lady Sings

The Fat Lady Sings created two of the best albums in Irish Music history in Twist and Johnson. TFLS were in the main Nick Kelly, Tim Bradshaw, Dermot Lynch and Robert Hamilton. The band had moderate success in Ireland and made great gains in the UK and Europe. However it wasn't meant to be with Nick Kelly's 'Drunkard Logic' to split the band and the music scene. Here's the brief story!

- Fat Lady Sings formed.
- Release of 'Fear And Favour' single

- Release of 'Be Still' single

- Release of 'Arclight' single

- Release of 'Dronning Maudland' single
- Release of 'Manscared' single

- Re-release of 'Arclight' single
- Release of 'Twist' single
- Release of 'Deborah' single
- Release of 'Twist' album

- Release of 'Show Of MySelf' single
- Release of 'Drunkard Logic' single
- Release of 'World Exploding Touch' single
- Release of 'Johnson' album

- Release of 'The Fat Lady Singles / Opera Obscura' double-album. As it's name suggests, the first CD gathered together all of the band singles, while 'Opera Obscura' was a collection of B-Sides and rarities.

When you see the quality of the singles above TFLS will always have their place as one of the best bands to produce music in Ireland. Arclight, Deborah, Drunkard Logic and World Exploding Touch were great singles. Even better were the various b-sides which accompanied them which was compiled together in the 2005 release mentioned above. Songs like the pop song 'What Are You Like', 'Grand Country Wedding' and live favourite 'Everywoman' prove that there is so much more to Nick's songwriting. My favourite tunes include 'Boil', 'Stealing a Plane', 'Gravy Train' and 'Horse Water Wind'.


When TFLS split Tim Bradshaw and Dermot Lynch went to America and with Peter Stuart were recruited for a rock band called 'Dog's Eye View' who released 'Daisy' with Tim and Dermot in 1995.

Singer Nick Kelly has had great success as an independent artist releasing two fine solo albums and getting a Choice Award Nomination for 'Running Dog'. He is now on the verge of an exciting 9 month project for his third album:

9 gigs, 9 months, one precious new arrival...

The first instalment of GESTATION, a unique 9-month project towards the creation of a new solo album by 2005 Choice Prize nominee Nick Kelly. On the last Wednesday of each month Nick performs with different musical collaborators in a full band setting. September 30th is the first night with ANN SCOTT.

Nick has finalised his guest collaborators for his first 'trimester' of gigs - in each case these people will be performing with him during his own set as well as performing their own special guest slots. They are:


Tickets: €17 including booking fee
Doors: 8pm

Listen to Nick's demos here:

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Mic Christopher Remembered

Mic Christopher would have turned 40 on Monday 21st September! I will let his music and these videos remind you of his wonderful talent.

These three videos are a celebration of Mic Christopher's life from the Irish Language channel TG4. It shows a cool clip of Glen Hansard, Mark Dignam and Mic busking in Temple Bar. Also included is footage from Mic's first band The Mary Janes.

Part 2 of the episode:

I learned so much from these clips. Lovely footage of some of the best Irish musicians in the last 10 years.

Here is a little reminder of how amazing a talent Mic was. I seen The Mary Janes perform 'Friends' on an Irish music programme and I loved it. Then as a kid of about 15 seen the band live in Merrion Square in a Summer gigs outdoor lunch thing. The next and only other time I seen Mic live was in Whelans when he supported the wonderful Dar Williams.

The Mary Janes - Friends [from the album Sham]


Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - The Plague Monkeys

The Plague Monkeys were a four piece band from Dublin, Ireland. They were Carol Keogh (vocals), Donal O’ Mahony (guitars, keyboards and mandolin), Barry Roden (bass) and Thomas Haugh (drums, percussion and keyboard). The band formed in December 1995 until circa 2000 and made some of the most beautiful music imaginable. Think along the lines of a cooler Cranberries or an upbeat Cocteau Twins!


1995 People And Machinery EP

The band make a video of 'The Plague Monkeys'

Release of the 'Navigator E.P.' [April]

Release of 'Surface Tension' [April]

Release of 'Mouth To Mouth' single [November]

Release of 'The Sunburn Index' [October]

The Plague Monkeys split up.

Legacy: Singer Carol Keogh is currently reviving her solo career after spells performing in Automata and with Roesy and Jerry Fish. The album 'Surface Tension' is one of my favourite Irish Albums ever and it's still an album I return to again and again.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

David Geraghty - The Button Factory [Gig Review]

***Disclaimer ..... this review contains no bias or negative comments which will result in Dave going all Chris DeBurgh on me! ***

The Button Factory was the final gig of David Geraghty's short Irish tour to promote the excellent album 'The Victory Dance'.

It was such a great night of music that begun with Miss Paula Flynn accompanied by Greg McAteer on guitar and Jay on percussion playing songs from their debut album 'Miss Paula Flynn'. Personally I can't wait to hear the album. I think it'll be full of Lisa Hanniganesque beauty with Jinx Lennonesque lyrics! The album launch is in Bewleys on September 25th!

The wonderful Carol Keogh graced the stage next. Carol has been in the Irish Music scene for many years and is partly responsible for one of the my favourite albums ever. There will be more on 'The Plague Monkeys' on Friday. The short set with the full band reminded me of The Frames circa Dance The Devil. Here is the set highlight; a cover of one of my favourite songs ever: The Carpenters - Superstar

There was a really decent crowd last night to see Bell Ex Wan's Dave Geraghty perform a set which consisted of a decent mixture of tunes from both of his albums. You could easily tell which album the song was from. If it was an upbeat optimistic tune it was from 'The Victory Dance' and if the lights went down with the mood then chances are high it would be from the debut 'Kill Your Darlings'. Hearing the new tunes live with that amazing and creative backing band somehow heightens their positive effectiveness.

Patchy Set-list:

The Emperor's Hand Me Downs
Watch Her Win
Soft Spot
*2 old tunes.... unsure of names*
Last Time Around
Wear Out Your Name,
It Won't Be Long
Instant Sunshine,
Use Me ... Bill Withers Cover
Tuesday's Feet
Long Time Running
All The Kings Horses

I was only telling a friend that I much prefer Dave's solo songs to the other project he is currently employed with! Dave's onstage banter was funny and he plays the front man on a band very well. It was a very uplifting night and masterful night of music.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Revelino

Since the closure of the excellent Irish Music Central site I'm really struggling to find information about the best Irish bands from back in the day! Revelino were moderately successful. They made it onto John Peel's radar, according to Hot Press journalists the band had the third best single released in 1994 and they had their music featured in the movie 'I Went Down'. They were also the Irish band who displayed their Beatles influences very clearly in their music and sound.

Revelino were Brendan Tallon, on Bren Berry on guitar, and Shane Rafferty on drums. Joining them were Alan Momntgomery on bass and Brendan’s brother Ciaran on guitars.

They first appeared on the Dublin gigging circuit in late 1994. Their first album was released at the same time which was voted the 47th best Irish album ever in 2005 by Hot Press. 'Don't Lead Me Down' came from the self titled debut and was on the 'I Went Down' soundtrack.

Don't Lead Me Down

The second album ‘Broadcaster’ was released in 1996 and was much heavier than the debut. ‘Step on High” received considerable airplay on the John Peel show. 'Been and Gone' was an excellent album closer and again highlights their Beatles influences.

Been and Gone

The band had been reduced to the Tallon brothers, Bren Berry and drummer Ronan McHugh for the third album “To the End” which was released in 2000. The album contains many good song but fails to reproduce the sound and buzz of the eloquent debut.

Death of a Century

More info: