Monthly Archives: July 2016

My Favourite Gig – Karen Amsden, Hagar The Womb

This is the eigth in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

This week it is Karen Amsden from hagar The Womb whose new album  is now available


The Mekons

London 1981


I have seen 1000s of band so this was hard.  I was very surprised by my choice having been lucky enough to see the Clash, Nirvana, Johnny Cash and most of the bands that I have ever wanted to see. Although cross that I have never seen the Smiths, Xray Spex, the Slits and Magazine, I thought I would choose a gig like Pulp at Glastonbury in 1995 which is famous for how great it was (still taunt my partner for going to see Tricky instead).


The gig I have chosen though is seeing the Mekons in 1981 for the first time at an unknown venue in London. My boyfriend of the time, as well as repeated plays by John Peel, meant I was in love with their single ‘Where were you?’ and desperate to see them play it in front of me. All I remember is dancing furiously in the front row and developing a bit of a crush on the floppy haired singer Tom. I was so thrilled by the gig, didn’t even mind the two hour wait for the night bus home. Rather drunk and over excited, not helped by my parents leaving me alone at home for the fortnight, I passed out in my front garden clutching the set list given to me by the band. Next morning about 6am I sheepishly let myself in my home and then spent the next decade going to see the Mekons and Three Johns as much as I could.

Still wish I had that set list….


Karen Amsden



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We Shall Overcome Weekend 2016

wsodublinFolks, the Hope Collective is getting involved in this. If anyone has any ideas or wishes to do something then PLEASE do.


There is a project taking place over the first week of  October We Shall Overcome. Basically the idea is that musicians should give their services free that weekend and have gigs with admission prices as donations to food banks or homeless organisations. Each event would be its own autonomous thing and there’s no hierarchy for permission. It would be nice to know where the event is on and publicise them all centrally.

We think it can go further than musicians and gigs and am hoping to run food drives in work places, youth clubs, football teams, book clubs or whatever. The opportunities are endless once the ball starts rolling. Here’s what the instigators have to say about it

“Every weekend across the country we have an explosion of music and culture. It’s something to be proud of – Gigs, open mics, poetry, stand up. It makes our communities vibrant and strong. But we also know that in our communities people are being hit hard by homelessness and poverty. There is a human cost to the politics of austerity.

‘We Shall Overcome’ is a simple shout out to the people who make our culture happen – the musicians, artists, promoters. For one weekend, let’s do what we do but let’s do it under one unified banner – We Shall Overcome. Let’s do it together to show our solidarity and send a message that we don’t agree with austerity politics.

Let’s all work for free that weekend and encourage our audience to bring food for foodbanks or make donations to homeless projects. Sometimes when things feel hopeless, it’s good to sing, laugh and be around people. It’s just a gesture, it won’t change the world but it may just change someone’s? Want to join us?”

We Shall Overcome was set up in the UK but is looking for people to get involved in Ireland, not only to show solidarity but also to

give assistance to the homelessness crisis in this country. Over 100 people sleep on the streets of Dublin every night with up to 12% of children living in consistent poverty. So why not do something that weekend, let’s get together and Let’s get involvedwso

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Messi – More Than A Superstar


More Than A Superstar

Icon Books


I’m struck by reading messi, more than a superstar at how much Luca Caioli wants to portray Lionel Messi as an ordinary person. A person with an amazing talent that has just stumbled across this life of fame and (ahem…) non payment of taxes.
His first coach has “never heard him boast about playing well and scoring goals” and that feeling resonates. How many times have we squirmed as someone talks about how good they are. It is part of the Irish psyche to play yourself down. And if you don’t do it there will be plenty of friends ready to knock you off any perch you might build up. Don’t get comfortable.
Then I wonder is that the right thing? Is it just self confidence that allows one to speak of their own ability? If I see a mirror I get an urge to rush past it without looking up. The inverse is the case for my kids. They are comfortable with it. Is one of us wrong?
By page 35 humility has been mentioned on four separate occasions. It reminds me of Gaelic Football in Dublin where players can play for their county in front of 80.000 people but still come back to their club and be one of the gang. I’ve often seen Brian Fenton in St Anne’s park talking to young Raheny players, offering advice and generally being a good guy. It’s no more than you get from most people in the club the only difference is that Fenton is lauded on tv most weeks when he plays. Should that make a difference? Obviously not but how can you stop it? It must be hard work.
The other night I was out for a meal and I saw a little known food critic on the table opposite. I couldn’t help but stare and think of a conversation gong around in the kitchen of the restaurant, or on tables beside us as these people looked to eat their meal in peace. What if this was Messi looking for a quiet curry or out for a quiet walk in the park. Would he be able to have one? Nope, so how do you stay humble in such circumstances?
Of course for it to be any book of relevance when talking about messi, Diego maradona has to get a mention. How infuriating (or flattering) must it be for any great player that comparisons get made big course it is only natural. It’s a sign of quality. Argentina have had many people described as the next Maradona but none given that title as much as Messi. Of course the fact they both possess so much skill on their respective left foot means there is validity to the comparisons.  For me there is only one, of each
Of course with a talent like messi he is always going to be in demand. Whenever talent rises people wish to claim it and make use of it. For a young messi this meant being dragged around as his club and country wanted to use him for their needs. With him in the team you had a better chance of winning. Cause gives us some examples of that conflict. The one option of doing what is best for the individual never seems to be noted though.
Of course boring such a precious talent means every season brings new records and honours. Every season has a litany of special goals or majestic passes. Some of them get mentioned here and the imagery they conjure up is simply breathtaking. I love watching Messi play football, he makes it seem si simple.
As interesting and all that Messis ability to play football is it starts to grate a bit when picking through the seasons. He is a record breaker, his trophy haul is phenomenal his goal scoring record is second to none and the way he can win things for his teams are magnificent. This book reminds us of that. It gives very little background information.  There are no insights into Messis thoughts, no new breakthroughs are announced. This is where it really falls down for me. I know little more about the “Flea” than I did when starting the book. His humility is reaffirmed, that’s for sure but little else.

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My Favourite Gig – Vic Bondi

This is the seventh in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

This week it is Vic Bondi, from Articles of Faith, many others and currently Razed



Vic Bondi – Articles of Faith –
Articles of Faith,
Riot Fest 2010
Being a musician is a process of discovery. First you discover how to play an instrument. Then you discover how to play with other musicians. Then you discover how to play with the audi-ence. Every step of the path entails a more nuanced and subtle set of skills. By the time you learn how to play with the audience, you have to really master the skill of listening, because that’s what playing with the audience entails. You have to listen to them, even more closely than they are listening to you,
in order to be truly rewarded.
The best gig I ever played was the last show Articles of Faith will ever play, and it was the best show I ever played because the audience made that show, and it was deafening and wonderful. The show was October 9, 2010, at some pick up club in Wicker Park, Chicago. It was supposed to be a “surprise” show after AoF’s one and only US reunion gig for Riot Fest that year. The fact that we were asked to play Riot Fest meant a lot to us. Riot Fest had been in business almost ten years, and was a celebra-tion of punk music in the city. Given AoF’s role in the original US hardcore scene, it was an honor that we asked to play, 25 years after we broke up, for the hometown crowd.
It took some work. I lived in Seattle, and one guitarist, Joe Scurderi, lived in San Francisco. The rest of the guys lived in Chi-cago, so we worked separately all summer, practicing the old songs by ourselves. We had to get past step one, and relearn the instruments themselves—no easy thing to do if you were playing hyper-speed thrash that wore you down when you were in your twenties; in your fifties, it was brutal, especially for our drummer, Virus X. But if we were going to make a new
record, it had to be good; if we were going to play a new gig, it had to be great. We set aside two full weeks for rehearsal before the show and recording, and Joe and I flew in from the west coast to Chicago. Step two was getting back the groove we had as a group. The record helped a lot. We had to collaborate to get “that” sound, and pretty quickly, it felt like we had never stopped playing together. It felt natural. Then our bassist, Dave, hurt his back at work—so bad that he ultimately had to have surgery. He could barely stand in practice, but he bore down and made it work.
The gig itself was the day after our formal show at Riot Fest. It wasn’t really a club. It was more like a small warehouse that had been converted to playing shows. The PA was oversized for the space, and everything seemed kind of thrown together. It was very punk rock. But the small size worked to our advantage. The energy was trapped in that space, and bouncing off the walls. People were crammed in, and they were ardent fans. People had flown in for Europe and the west coast for the show.
The music meant a lot to them. That meant a lot to us. We picked up on the vibe right away. People were bouncing, moshing, and singing along. We started surfing that wave. We blew the PA circuits twice. The first time, we stopped and started the song over. But the second time we just kept playing—the crowd led, and sang all the parts. We followed them. It was exhausting and glorious. By the time we finished—with a Johnny Cash song, I think—Dave couldn’t even stand up. Everyone was spent and laughing.
Afterwards, we talked about keeping AoF together and doing more shows. But when I went back to Seattle, I thought better of it. I don’t think we could ever top that show, and it didn’t feel right to try. It was better that we exit this way, and wrap up that chapter of our lives. Articles of Faith was an amazing experience to be part of. But to be part of that audience that night—with people who had grown up with that music, and made it a part of them—you could never recreate that. So we won’t. And our best gig will always be our last.

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Neurosis never seem to stop



Fires Within Fires is the next powerful step towards a destination that has long been and continues to be the very heart of “becoming” for Neurosis.

Neurot Recordings shall release the album on 23rd September worldwide,
Of all that humankind has inherited through our ancestry, no single language has transcended every age as powerfully as music. For thirty years, Neurosis have formed an unbreakable union, channelling that inheritance of sound with great command and authority. Showing their discontent with convention from the very beginning, Neurosis revealed what would become an instinct for transformation in sound and scope. Their sound has become interchangeable with vision of the conscious and unconscious, coexisting in an infinite audial spectrum. A vision that challenged not only the constraints of what listeners, and indeed the band themselves expected, but of themselves as beings. Going beyond the remarkable, Neurosis have become unforgettable.
The journey of their music has found the band relishing the unpredictable, embracing the unknown and exploring the possibility of where the music was capable of taking them. This year finds Neurosis taking a dominant leap with their eleventh full-length, Fires Within Fires. Three decades in the making, and following 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, the album is a testament both to the history and future of Neurosis. In true Ouroborean style, Fires Within Fires gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Striking the band’s signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, dense sonic heaviness and reflective space. Fires Within Fires is succinct, raw and deeply soulful, an all-encompassing reminder to all that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength.
Created by Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Jason Roeder, Noah Landis, and Dave Edwardson. The album features exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper and the stellar recording work of the group’s longstanding engineer Steve Albini.

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Vegan Punk rock rules (are there any?)

It’s an indication of how we deal with music in the 21st Century.

When I first heard that Fall Out Boy drummer Andy Hurley was channeling his hardcore roots in a new band called Sect I immediately went to google to check its accuracy.  There was no need for a trip to the record store to ask an informed worker or indeed to check a zine or music press for validation.

And so a quick check led me to noisey and it tells me that the band are a straight edge, vegan group, which also features members of the punk bands Cursed, Burning Love, Earth Crisis and Catharsis, and they will release their self-titled debut album on August 5.

That really piqued my interest do i delved further.  Where’s the bandcamp page? the twitter account, the facepook page so i can like it.  Vegan and Straight edge!  let’s get that back out there.

There doesn’t seem to be any social media presence but the record is going to self released and sounds like a pure belter of aggressive hardcore punk rock.  Screaming at ya

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