Le Galaxie

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If I could choose a way to welcome in a New Year, it would be at a Le Galaxie gig – minimum of New Years countdown, maximum of dancing like an idiot. Handy then that they are partial to putting on New Years gigs! I just never seem to get bored of seeing these lads.

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 Mick Le Galaxie goes wandering

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Delorentos

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I can’t believe this was my first time seeing Delorentos properly, having caught the end of one of their sets at a festival previously. They didn’t disappoint. With an amazing back catalogue and a new album that is on repeat on my ipod, this gig was always going to be a winner with me. Support from The Academic who are consistently great, and a finale with the two bands playing together was the perfect ending. Full review here

This gig was originally reviewed for Ceol Collective which has now ceased operations. The review that was published is preserved for posterity here!

Delorentos made a triumphant return to Vicar Street to close their nationwide “Night Becomes Light” tour. Playing to a packed house, it was clear that Delorentos are back with a bang with their 2014 release.

Support act, Mullingar youngsters The Academic, played a rousing set to get the growing crowd in the mood. Signed earlier this year to Global Publishing, this quartet have an impressive list of support slots under their belt, having already supported the likes of The Pixies, The Riptide Movement and Little Green Cars. With solid tracks like “Bear Claws”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and “Girlfriends”in their repertoire, these are an act to keep an eye out for in 2015.

https://soundcloud.com/theacademic/bear-claws

Delorentos wandered onstage to little fanfare, but the understated entrance was the only sedate thing about the entire show. Opening with “Forget The Numbers” (the track from the new album that I was most excited about seeing live), the night just seemed to build and build, with a brilliant mix of new and old songs. With the exuberant crowd singing and clapping along from the outset, it was clear that the lads were enjoying themselves immensely.

Stand out tracks on the night from the new album for me were “Everybody Else Gets Wet” (if only for its immense audience participation) and “Valley Where the Rivers Run”, with old favourites “Petardu”, “Stop”, “Little Sparks” and “Secret” almost lifting the roof off Vicar Street.

Closing with a Bruce Springsteen cover played with The Academic (AcaRentos? Delodemic? I see a super group opening right there), and just enough chaos on stage to get the crowd whipped into a frenzy, this show was the perfect festive night out.

http://youtu.be/XBkofyZgbG0

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Delodemic

Ben Ottewell

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I have been a massive fan of Ben Ottewell since the Gomez days of my late teens/early 20s (I’m showing my age now!). While his solo work obviously doesn’t allow any of the unusual harmonies he could create with Ian and Tom as part of Gomez, his unique voice means that his solo work is a treat to listen to.

I reviewed the gig in more detail (see below) but just remember this night as one of my favourite types of charming intimate gigs where the focus is on the quality of the vocals and songwriting rather than the bells-and-whistles that go into bigger productions. Support act Michele Stodart was fantastic also.

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Michele Stodart

This gig was originally reviewed for Ceol Collective which has now ceased operations. The review that was published is preserved for posterity here!

Taking to the Workman’s Club’s stage on a freezing, sleeting night in Dublin, Ben Ottewell’s intimate acoustic set was simply brilliant. Opening with the title tracks from his two solo albums, his recent release “Rattlebag” and 2011’s “Shapes and Shadows”, Ben set the tone for the night. He brought the audience on a meandering journey through his solo material, but also treated the crowd to some beautiful versions of Gomez classics, which pleased the more vocal members of the audience.

His distinctive voice continues to blend a rich smooth baritone with a hint of gargling with whiskey and gravel. Added to this the fact that he is also an extremely talented guitar player, means that with a Ben Ottewell show, you’re never going to be disappointed. He also managed to successfully balance playing solo tracks, as this is his solo tour, with pleasing the crowd with imaginative takes on Gomez numbers – always a tricky ask.

Personal favourites on the night were his solo tracks “Blackbird” (“Not the Beatle’s one”, as he pointed out) and “Starlings” (“Not Elbow’s One”, he giggled, leading to him stating that he “really needs to think up some more original song titles!”). However, hearing his solo takes on old Gomez favourites like “Get Miles”. “Love is Better than a Warm Trombone” and “Tijuana Lady” stole the show.

Special mention must be made to support act Michele Stodart, bass player from The Magic Numbers. Charming, talented and endearing, she opened the night in style. Catch more from Michele here (https://soundcloud.com/michelestodart).

https://soundcloud.com/okmanagement/rattlebag

The Riptide Movement

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So the December Riptide Movement show was my first time formally reviewing them, which proved much more tricky than I expected. While this show was great, and the crowd loved it, it’s hard not to remember their more raw, less slick shows of old with nostalgia. I think this inevitably happens with an act you’ve seen a lot and doesn’t detract from the show that TRM put on. It’s hard to review people that you know without letting that impact, but I think I did the show justice.

This gig was originally reviewed for Ceol Collective which has now ceased operations. The review that was published is preserved for posterity here!

Making a triumphant return for their third show in Vicar Street, The Riptide Movement were determined to show how far they’d come since their days of busking on Grafton Street.

If 2013 was a big year for the Lucan quartet, with the signing of their Universal deal, then 2014 has been even bigger. Announcing at the Vicar Street show that their most recent album, “Getting Through” had just gone gold, the entire show seemed to be a celebration of all they’d achieved.

Slamming through a set-list with old favourites like “Shake Shake” and “Tip Jars” along with new classics like “All Works Out”, TRM never fail to entertain, and to make the most of additional musical punch provided by the brass section and backing singers, who are now an almost permanent fixture.

Having been to the other Vicar Street shows this year, it was a risk that it would all just start to sound the same, but in fairness to the lads, their encore set proved they are not resting on their laurels. From the encore opener played acoustically at the back of a packed Vicar Street, to the brass section interspersed through the crowd, and even lead singer Mal Tuohy’s impromptu appearance on the balcony (which appeared to be to the surprise even of the other bandmates!), it was clear that they were having a ball, and sounding as good as they ever have.

With shows as enjoyable as this and the fact that 2014 brought great things for them at home and further afield, I think 2015 is going to be a big year for The Riptide Movement.

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 An explosive Happy Christmas from The Riptide Movement!

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Support act Willie Nile – didn’t think much of him to be honest, not remotely to my taste.

Hot Press Jagermeister Freezer Sessions

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 The Academic

The Hot Press Jagermeister Freezer Sessions always bring together an eclectic but talented bunch, and are growing in size each year. This year’s line-up were disgustingly talented youngsters The Academic, Jagermeister Freezer Sessions Live Band of the Year Rackhouse Pilfer, Booka Brass Band and The Minutes.

Highlight for me were Booka Brass Band, who I somehow had never seen live before. These lads are fantastic – I mean, who doesn’t love synchronised brass brilliance?!

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Rackhouse Pilfer

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Columbia Mills

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Columbia Mills (called Empire Saints in a previous life) debuted their first EP upstairs in Whelans and I went along for Ceol Collective. Really impressive opening – dying to see them again to be honest. And their support act Dear Desert are definitely ones to watch as well.

This gig was originally reviewed for Ceol Collective which has now ceased operations. The review that was published is preserved for posterity here!

Columbia Mills started as they mean to go on by selling out their debut headline gig in Dublin, upstairs in Whelans, where they launched their new EP “Factory Settings”, with support from the exciting Dear Desert. Watching Columbia Mills smash out one song after another to a packed room, it seems like they have been around forever. This is likely helped by their indietronic sound which is a delicious melting pot of 80s and 90s influences and manages to sound both completely new and utterly familiar.

Support act Dear Desert opened the night with an explosion of synths, deep rhythms and soaring falsettos, impressing the growing crowd. Having recently launched their own EP “Give it Up”, Dear Desert almost stole the show from the headliners with their accomplished sound which hints at impressive things to come. I highly recommend checking them out (here https://soundcloud.com/dear-desert).

But Columbia Mills were never going to allow themselves to be surpassed by their brilliant support act. Opening with the distorted vocals and heavy beats of “The Perfect Day”, they clearly stated their intent to be recognised as an exciting new addition to the live music scene. It is apparent that they are not an act who have rushed their EP release – apart from their cover of The National’s “Sorrow” which did the original justice while making it their own, the set consisted of original songs. These Bray natives seem to have far more tracks ready to go than just the four included on Factory Settings, so it is likely that we’ll be getting another release in 2015.

Standout tracks on the night were the encore set of “Bass Soup” followed by current single “Never Gonna Look at You the Same” which highlights the band’s ability to resist relying on the more electronic influences of the rest of the set and to produce a radio-friendly single while maintaining their distinctive sound. A brilliant debut, it seems likely that this is only the beginning for Columbia Mills.

“Factory Settings” is available here http://itunes.apple.com/album/id933980247  

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Columbia Mills

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Dear Desert

Ceol Collective Launch gig

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Ray Scully

 November 2014 brought an exciting new development for me, when I joined Ceol Collective, a new collaborative website bringing the best of music and culture in Ireland to a wider audience. The team consists of a group of passionate music lovers, poets, musicians, videographers and photographers – and little old me! The launch gig in Abner Browns marked a few firsts for me – first time seeing Marcas Carcas and the rather brilliant Ray Scully, first time at a gig in the awesome Abner Browns and my first time writing what I would call a “proper” gig review.

Gigaholic has always just been my ramblings about gigs I’ve gone to, so to write reviews that would actually be out there in the world was a bit intimidating, but it was also an exciting opportunity to see acts that I might not get to see otherwise, and to review new albums. A lot of my Gigaholic posts from now on will include a link to the review I’ve written for Ceol Collective, just so that all my scribblings are kept together!

This gig was originally reviewed for Ceol Collective which has now ceased operations. The review that was published is preserved for posterity here!

Ceol Collective celebrated the launch of www.ceolcollective.com with an intimate gig in Abner Brown’s Barbership on Saturday 22nd November. Ceol Collective’s collaborative website will be a platform showcasing new and exciting musicians, poets, performers and writers, so Ailie Blunnie’s, Markas Carcas’ and Ray Scully’s performances to a packed out venue were the perfect way to mark its launch. While life got in the way of me arriving in time for Ailie Blunny’s set (which I’m assured was great), Markas Carcas and Ray Scully were definitely impressive and launched the site with style.

Markas Carcas and band gave a  foot-stomping performance, veering from traditional rhythm/roots to blues, and hitting most genres in between! While at times I felt that the songs were a little too crammed with influences, it was a finessed performance showcasing the significant skills of the musicians involved. “Mississippi Wine” was a personal favourite and makes me intrigued to hear the album they’re in the process of recording.

The highlight of the night was Ray Scully who followed Marcus Carcas with an endearingly charming performance. Having launched his album “Let’s Blow This Town Tonight” the previous weekend, Ray showcased his beautifully crafted music to a thrilled crowd. From “I Found a Dollar Bill” to “Let’s Blow This Town Tonight”, Ray’s blues/rock sound is deceptively polished for someone who has just released their debut album! The highlight for me was “I Won’t Let You Fade”, dedicated to his grandfather. Ray Scully is definitely one to watch – check out his album here (https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/lets-blow-this-town-tonight/id928545216).

A small word of mention has to go to Abner Brown’s Barbershop for being the perfect venue for the gig – it really is an amazing, alternative venue for live music that allows the crowd to get up close and personal with the acts that are performing.

This gig highlighted the fortuitous range of music that is on offer in Ireland at the moment, and was an exciting harbinger of what Anto, Peter and all at the Ceol Collective are going to have coming up for their readers in the coming weeks and months.

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Markas Carcas