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A Love Letter to Music Venues

I was in Dublin city centre this morning for the first time in 12 months.  The last time I was there was to see Jane Willow perform in the Cobblestone Pub  on February 29th 2020.  I never, not for a moment, thought things would turn out as they did.  I was looking forward to a year full of gigs and excitement.  I think we all know how that turned out. After doing what I had to workwise, I took a spin around Dublin before I headed home.  I drove by the aforementioned Cobblestone Pub , the Voodoo Lounge , The Grand Social , The Workmans Club , The Sugar Club and ended up outside Whelans . I've had great nights out in each of those venues and in many more around the country!   Dolans of Limerick, Crane Lane Theatre and Kino in Cork,  Odd Mollies in Drogheda, the Moat Theatre in Naas, the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge, the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, Visual in Carlow...  The list goes on and on. 2017 and Helmet played Whelans.  There I am partying with them after the s
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2020 MJs

It's the end of the year, time to work my way through all the live gigs I've been to in the last 12 months, pick my best gigs, festivals, songs and so on... Seven, SEVEN, gigs I got to this year.  Yes yes, I know there are others that didn't even get to one, but when 2019 had in excess of 50 gigs, well, you can see why I'm frustrated. Enough complaining though, time to get to the 2020 MJs! First up is Best Irish Single . There were a lot of contenders this year, but for me, Cold Blue Light by Kynsy  edged them all out. Next up is Best Irish Album . Again there were many contenders, but for me, All The Leaves Are Falling by Nealo was the best.  Irish hip-hop is coming of age! Best Irish Gig is next.  This gig would win any year!  It was Denise Chaila in Dolans , Limerick.  Amazing night. I've listed to the Irish Music Industry Podcast since it launched and find it both entertaining and informative.  This year though, they produced two specials this year that deep

2020-10-02 Denise Chaila - Dolans Limerick

The Beatles in the Adelphi Cinema in Dublin... U2 in the Dandelion Market... Nirvana in the Top Hat, Dun Laoghaire... You'll here people say 'Oh yeah, I was there, it was incredible!'.  Now, if everyone who says they were there actually were, these venues would hold thousands, not hundreds! Why am I saying that?  Well, Friday night last, I was in Dolans in Limerick to see the incredible Denise Chaila launch her mixtape, Go Bravely .  It was one of those gigs that will be talked about for years to come. It was a small crowd, 50, maybe 60 people, but that's only because of the current COVID Restrictions.  Tickets sold out in 1 minute online, that should give you some idea of how popular this gig was!  In fact, she even put on an earlier gig at 7:30 due to demand! Supported onstage by God Knows and  MuRli Bo   (bloody great  performers in their own right!) and DJ Replay on the decks, it was a non stop party.  Obviously, the biggest response on the night was to C H A I L

2020-09-20 Unlocked and Live - Moat Theatre Naas

 A burlesque gig one week, a rock n' roll gig the next, it's almost like a return to normal.  Almost, but not quite.  The Moat Theatre has a maximum of 50 people in it tonight, not because of poor ticket sales, but down to COVID 19 restrictions. Anyway, tonight's gig is mainly a local affair.  On the bill are Acoustic Freeway, Pete Kavanagh , Saoirse Casey and finally, Paddy Casey . The gig itself was a fundraiser for the Moat Theatre to help it through these difficult times. I think everyone enjoyed the night, it was a rare chance to see some live music in the town.  Hopefully this will be the start of the return of gigs in Naas. Anyway, check out the photos below:

2020-09-10 The Peacock Parlour - Kino Cork

February 29th 2020, that was the day of the last gig I'd gone to.  It was Jane Willow in the Cobblestone in Dublin.  It was also the last time I'd been in a city! I'd booked a couple of weeks leave in September, so, when I heard that the Peacock Parlour was taking place in Cork whilst I was on leave, I decided that was the place to be!  A night out at a gig, albeit a burlesque one, in Cork. Tickets were bought, hotel was booked and plans were set in motion! On to the night in question.  I arrived at Kino , was met at the door by security where we went through some Covid19 formalities. Once complete, I was shown to my table and staff explained how the table service operated.  On to the show...   On the night we were treated to some comedy, pole dancing, spoken word , drag and burlesque by Foxy P. Cox ,  The Wild Geeze ,  Miss LaVelle and many others. What more could you ask for??? If the Peacock Parlour pays a visit to your town, or if you are in Cork any time soon, I'

Creating a Music Room

So it started out with picking up the Tape and Vinyl collections from my folks house... They've been sitting there looking at me ever since.  I had to do something, I had to find a way to store these pieces of history.  I also had to find a way of playing those cassettes! I made a plan, I was going to use my spare / junk room as a music room.  Somewhere I could go and listen to music in peace.  My musical equivalent of a Library! A skip was ordered, the junk removed and the project kicked off. As per usual, I got sidetracked with the tech side. I trawled through the online stores for a week trying to find anyone who sold a HiFi with a Tape Deck. Unsurprisingly, no one does. Next on the hit-list was Ebay. I searched for another week, but again, I came up with nothing. Anything I found was going to be coming from the US or Australia, and given the state of the world at the moment, who knew when it would arrive. I tried a local site, adverts.ie , and on the second day, found a Sony CM

A Whole Lot of History...

Back in the day (by that I mean the mid 80s and early 90s), music came on Vinyl and Cassette Tape. Yeah, CDs were just starting to make headway, but CD players were still expensive.  Me, being a poor student, stuck to the humble cassette tape.  They were rugged, cheap, easy to record on and best of all, easy to create your own mixes. You could, if you searched, get C120 tapes, on which you could fit up to 120 minutes of music! Why do I mention this?  Well, this week I collected my old tape collection from my parents house.  It had been living in their attic, undisturbed, for the last 21 years.  Actually, not only did I pick up the tape collection, I picked up my vinyl collection also!  There were some absolute gems in the tape collection, Dignam and Goff , Power of Dreams , The 4 of Us , Blink , The Golden Horde , The Dixons , Ghost of an American Airman ...  and that was just in one bundle! Only another 170 something tapes to get through! As for the vinyl, I haven't really gone th

Bandcamp Friday

Bandcamp Friday... If any online music company comes out of the Covid19 Pandemic with honours, it looks like it will be Bandcamp .  Why?  Well, it's quite simple, it's down to Bandcamp Friday. What's Bandcamp Friday? Well, on the first Friday of each month, Bandcamp waives its fees on album and merch sales (on both physical media and downloads), meaning more money goes to the artists. This all kicked off in March as the world ground to a halt and with it, the music business.  OK, the waiving of these fees won't make up for the loss of earnings from not gigging, but y'know, every little bit helps. Today, being the first Friday of the month, I did some shopping.  I picked up a copy of the  Sowing Acorns Limited Edition EP by Emma Langford on cassette. Yes, you read that right, on cassette.  Look, don't ask why, just go with it! I also picked up a copy of a copy of The Swedish Railway Orchestra LP by, well, The Swedish Railway Orchestra on vinyl.  Yeah yeah, I

Bye Bye Spotify...

I ditched Spotify Premium this weekend. Why?  Well, I read an interview with Daniel Ek , the CEO of Spotify, and I profoundly disagreed with what he said and his attitude towards musicians in the interview.  So I said 'F*ck it', and closed my premium account.  I still do have a free account as many bands choose Spotify to release their music, so I'll keep it for that reason. What now though?  Well, I'd created a large library of music on my home server over the last 20 years or so.  Every time I bought a CD, it got ripped to the server.  Every time I bought digital music from Bandcamp , Google or 7 Digital , they too got stored on the server, and that was fine for home use, it worked well.  But now I'd dumped Spotify, what could I do, how could I access my music outside the house? I'd played around with software called Plex a few years back, but had no use for it. I ended up doing nothing with Plex, but for this project, I decided to revisit it.  I knew that if

COVID-19

You'll probably have noticed a lack of posts here over the last few months. Like most places around the world, the live music scene here in Ireland has been decimated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. March, April and May were spent in lock down.  Three months in almost isolation.  It was tough, but the alternative was a lot worse.  I am glad to see the back of it though. So many plans are gone awry though.  There are no live gigs, no festivals, nothing...  Some pubs have opened, but there are rules and regulations to adhere to and live music isn't high on their agenda just yet. There have been some incredible online gigs over the last few months, but that can't be the future of live music.  Also, Gavin James and  Hermitage Green  have organised Drive-In Tours where punters drive to the gig in their cars and stay in the cars for the gigs. Not a bad idea, but again, that can't be the future. Anyway... I have two gigs left this year that haven't been cancelled..

Power Of Dreams - America

It's been a long, long, long time since Power of Dreams released new material, about 26 years if I'm not mistaken! They were one of the best rock bands on the Irish scene back in the early 90's with singles like  100 Ways To Kill A Love , The Joke's On Me, Never Been To Texas , Stay and American Dream .  Then, like many Irish bands before and after them, they broke up... But fear not, they are back with a new album  Aüslander due for release soon.  As a taster, they've released the Double A Side single (is that possible on digital???)  America / Across the Shannon . It sounds good, really really good to me. Check out the video below:

Emma Langford - Mariana

It's not everyday that a friend produces a video for one of my favourite artists, but today, that's exactly what happened.  The very talented Sophia Cadogan produced this beautiful video for Emma Langford's latest release called 'Mariana'. I've seen Emma perform many times over the last few years and it's always a joy.  That shot is from her set at Knockanstockan 2019.  Once we are all allowed back out to play, you should go see her live. The track is available to buy on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to Safe Ireland , a very worthy cause. Check out the video below:

Hundred Acre Woods - Multiverse

DC Comics are fans of the Multiverse idea.  Basically, they take their characters and dump them into a different world where they can behave totally different and have no impact on the 'real world' characters. So... I got to thinking, what if I did this with Pooh Bear and the other characters from Hundred Acre Woods? This is what happened... Disclaimer:   I didn't draw these!  I just took the original images, removed any text from them and added my own to make a somewhat coherent story! The original image... The first inkling of tension between Pooh and Piglet. I'd no idea where this was going to end up.  It turns out that it traveled all around the world via Facebook and WhatsApp. Pooh is adamant he doesn't have Covid19.... It starts to get a bit dark now... Hold on a second, are we missing someone??? Piglet realises what happened...  Piglet swears to avenge his friends death! Will there be more murders in Hundred Acre Wo