Tag Archives: irish punk

The Winter Passing + Life Goals + Me and My Dog + Niburu. The hangar, Dublin

The winter passing + Life Goals + Me and My Dog + Nibiru + The Winter Passing

The Hangar

September 30

Back to that feeling of solitude once more. I had a backpack full of fliers and posters but couldn’t muster the enthusiasm or courage to pass them round. I’m in that rut and many sure if I can move on, my feeling these days is to leave it to someone who doesn’t have grey hair. Am I wrong?

First band up tonight were life goals from Belfast. They reminded me of  drive when they played with mega city four in 1988, here we go again the age thing :). There’s a smattering of pixies into the melodic pop punk songs. They keep under the city centre speed limit but pack a good punch with those songs.

The songs in between certainly left a lot to be desired. The wrong sort of pop entirely but the venue is a strange abode. You walk in to a bar and some seats but through the double doors literally is a small hangar. Feels like a small car park but with low roof tonight it does have excellent sound.

Mayos Me and my dog were up next. The day before the all ireland final replay between me an my dogs home county and the county hosting this gig and not one mention of football!. My guess is it doesn’t fly high on me and my dogs radar. Lo-fi slacker rock is what they were billed as and that’s is as accurate as can be. 2 guitars, bass and drums. The 2nd guitar acting as lead bringing it from the lofi level. I had a vegan burrito in toltecca before the gig. It had soya mince, tons of topping and sauces but wasn’t quite the burrito I was hoping for. I wanted it to blow my mind but instead it was a good memory. Something like me and my dog, maybe if they only had one guitar. Sometimes the best bands only use the one.

Niburu come on to dry ice. This all male band from Dublin have a sound as heavy as that dry ice as we novel slowly through the set. Sure it gets my head bopping but sound garden or rage against the machine do the same and I never go out of my way to listen to them. It’s all too male of you get my drift

I’m here tonight to see the winter passing. Their record is one of the best Irish releases in the past decade. Full of tunes and hooks and intensity. I admire them for their attitude and energy. Always positive, this was their last gig before heading stateside to do some recording and gigs. How often can we say that of an independent band from ireland. Time got the better of them on the night as the hangar needed to return to its natural night club haunt, lights wer switched on, winter passing got to screech out more song of their set of 5, but it was enough for us all o wish the band the very best in their travels

niallhope

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Mr Business Man It’s Not Our World

now

The first band I ever played in was called Vicarious Living.  named after a line in a flux of Pink Indians song our reason behind it was that it “pertained to a different way of living”.  That was 1983 and I played in 4 or 5 bands over the next 6 years.  The last of these were called Not Our World or N.O.W. for short.

 

We played a lot of gigs around Dublin and beyond but always on this island.  There were plans tom play further afield and even bring out a record but circumstances dictated otherwise.  We did manage to get a lot of gigs in Dublin, playing in venues now long gone, like the Attic, Fox and pheasant, Trinity JCR and beyond, new inn, and the earl grattan.  At times it felt like we were a resident band in the grattan played there 5 nights one week.

We taped most of our gigs but unlike Fugazi who all had excellent sound desk recording we used whatever tape machines were doing the rounds.  Around that time as part of trainee sound engineers course they would get an overnight session in a recording studio.  We managed to score some time in Temple Lane Studios.  It was our first time in such a place and the experience was pretty forgettable.  We managed to record three songs and when we left we thought they represented our sound.  However whne we got home and the tape was played through our decks the sound was a thinny representation and didn’t really capture us.  So we did nothing with the demo.  Gave it to very few friends and planned to get back into a studio at some stage.   That wasn’t to be and now 25 years later I suppose it is time enough to let the tape be digitised.

 

Here are the  three songs  We felt we could change our world and subsequently the entire world, it wasn’t to be in the end but our world certainly changed.

 

niallhope

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Phil Chevron Testimonial, Olympia Theatre, August 24, 2013

Phil Chevron Testimonial, Olympia Theatre, August 24, 2013
Chevron reminding us of the celebration that life is never what we expected. And always worth embracing.
philip-chevron-event

What Irish artist of our generation chronicled more accurately that twilight world between despair and hope? Who gave voices to the margins? Who sliced through the haze obscuring chances and chancers, resources and fairness?
There are really only two types of people these days; the one who leave and the ones who get left behind. And it was to the intersection between these two tribes that Chevron’s pen sliced with the care and skill of a surgeon’s knife.
The two Radiator’s albums are steeped in loneliness and camaraderie. What other Irish band of the era left behind such an incendiary pair of documents scrutinising Irish life and the lives of the Irish at home and abroad?

And tonight we honour Philip Chevron. I don’t know the man. I may have shaken his hand once or twice over the years. Yet his work, his worldview, his artistry changed my life. He sang and wrote about places I knew. Places I had been. And recently he had helped me massively with a book I am doing about the music industry. He gave his time to answer questions from a virtual stranger. Not only did he give his time, he provided me with pages of his recollections about his early life, career and influences. I was already in his debt. I had enjoyed the Radiators deeply and during times in my life over and over.
The Radiators have forever reminded me that you can combine the music and literature of the world with the poetic musings of contemporary life.
In every sense of the word, tonight was A Variety Show. An idea surely that would have pleased Phil. The music testified to a wide range of musical tastes and proved how Chevron could unite so many disparate tribes. Represented on stage we had traditional Irish music, German cabaret, Brill building pop, folk, and rock.
Camille O’Sullivan was a new to me. She was a name I knew of, whose music I had never heard. Somewhere in my mind the word ‘cabaret’ was assigned to her; and that is not always a great box to live in, with its connotations of amateur dramatics and bludgeoned clichés.
Her interpretation of Nick Cave’s ‘The Ship Song’ was a dangerous move. So closely bound up with Cave’s swagger and machismo; in anyone else’s hands it can sound like a parody. Yet O’Sullivan invested it with a deft energy and lightness of touch, she infused it with a burning sweetness. An accomplished performer, she delivered the song with a mesmerising performance. It seemed unlikely that she could top that until she launched into a sensational version of Chevron’s Pogue song ‘Lorelei’. The lyrics, with their mythical tale of longing, complicated love, and fate were heightened by O’Sullivan. Her stagecraft was captivating and shone a light on Chevron’s accomplishments. He was a consummate wordsmith.

This afternoon I was ignorant of Camille O’Sullivan. Tonight, and forever, I’m a fan.

Another unanticipated highlight for me was Patrick McCabe. If O’Sullivan brought Chevron’s words to life, McCabe did the same for Chevron’s Dublin. His reading of John McGahern’s work (I’m not sure what book it was) conjured up the perplexing evenings of Dublin and the torturous emotional landscape between sensuousness and seriousness. The frantic search for the lover in the streets of the capital city, the hope that the woman in the cheap dresses that were popular that summer would be her, were read with perfect inflection by McCabe. The reading placed the walks taken by the inhabitants of Chevron’s songs in the context of writers like McGahern. It is worth remembering that while the Irish authorities were banning The Life of Brian, the South African government was doing likewise to McGahern.
Roddy Doyle later reads a specially written piece. It is moving and funny and poignant, speaking to humanity and mundane life. It is the type of eye-for-detail that makes Doyle outstanding. Tonight he shows his respect for Philip and the rest of us gathered here by putting the people we knew into the story. The young men and women watching the Blades and the Atrix in dank venues, worried about what life in Dublin was going to bring to us, yet knowing three minute slabs of pop could take us somewhere else.
If there were unknown pleasures on the bill tonight, the act I was most looking forward to seeing, The Radiators surpassed my every expectation. This was how the youth of my generation, who sought meaning in music, were introduced to Chevron. There is something so exciting about your hometown producing a band you know are as good as anyone in the world. As the evening rolled into the night, the band performed a stormer of a set, reminding us that Chevron’s accomplices in the band possessed energy, creativity and skill.
They demonstrated how they had the dynamics to bridge the best of 1970s original rock in Ireland with the passion of the next wave. With guest vocalist Brush Shields, they opened the can of hidden delights they polished up for last year’s essential album Sound City Beat. It was a powerful honouring of the ancestor spirits.
Even more visceral: the Radiators with Gavin Friday. He swaggered and strutted, channelling the aggressiveness of the boot-boys who happily intimidated him and his ilk in late 70s Dublin. These hard lads were a constant reminder of the ugly frustrations of daily life. The corner boys from the mean streets whose gauntlet had to be run if you wanted to see bands in Pearse Street or Cabra.

And we are treated to a reworked ‘Johnny Jukebox’. It serves to show how skilled the Radiators are. Instead of playing it safe and giving the audience what we want, they twist the original into something even more original. As a non-musician I can only imagine the work that goes into a process like that. It warms my heart and fills me with admiration. Friday is fantastic and then brings his dark art to Weill’s ‘Alabama Song’ ably backed by the current Radiators and future Trouble Pilgrims.

The Radiators are more than capable of backing the best up as well as fronting up themselves. ‘Enemies’ proves Holidai’s current credentials as a worthy focus. In some ways it is the greatest song of the band’s first era, a blistering clarion call for unity and understanding. It stands up with the best punk songs of any circa ’77 act. Rapid on keyboards is the rockin’ vicar, the shaman of circuitry, wriggling with the same voltage as Iggy, Ian Curtis or Jerry Lee Lewis.
Bass player, Paddy Goodwin appears during the night with other leading lights and acquits himself well. With the ever-solid Johnny Bonnie on drums, he forms a strong rhythm for Holidai and Rapid to experiment and soar. ‘Sunday World’ is also strong tonight with its comment on media manipulation. There is never a bad time to witness the Radiators. Tonight, with their band-mate Philip watching, it is particularly special.
Paul Cleary is the first man onstage alone. He doesn’t need any accompaniment. The mainstay of Dublin sharp pop-combo the Blades, Cleary build up a following in ‘80s Dublin with tight shows, minimal fuss and good tunes. Tonight he reinvents the Radiators’ ‘Enemies’, a one-man-band stripping the song down, rendering it more poignant and plaintiff. He follows this with his own ‘Downmarket’, a song about dwindling prospects and scarce resources. Could any Irish writer of songs in that eighties era have honestly written a song called ‘Upmarket’? Probably not. And Cleary captured the mood with this piece about “living from day to day”.
I also thoroughly enjoyed both Damien Dempsey and Declan O’Rourke, my first time seeing either of them live. Duke Special can command most audiences and his two song set of Kurt Weill’s ‘Applejack’ and his own outstanding ‘Condition’ transcended even the drunken lout who decided that the spirit of charity shouldn’t preclude him yelling his invectives. It was good to see three Pogues there for their bandmate too. And Shane Mc delivered a credit-worthy performance looking battered, bewildered and ravaged. He performed Chevon’s ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ and reminded us what a precarious place immigrants and emigrants hold in history. It was to these travelling souls that the Pogues spoke with greatest resonance. The O’Connor family who had performed earlier had turned in a great ensemble performance with vigour. Irish traditional music deserved and enjoyed its place in Chevron’s appreciation.
Despite owning some of their albums, I had never seen Horslips with their dramatic fusion of traditional music and rock. And tonight was the tonight. And they were a treat. They reminded me what good musicians can achieve with imagination and dedication. Their sound blossomed with the addition of a brass section and a trio of backing vocalists. They still have it; that is for sure.

It was a night for reflection. My mind marvelled at how people like Billy McGrath, Ian Wilson, Ted Carroll, Pat Egan, Elvera Butler, John Fisher, Kieran Owens, Mick McCaughan (who brought the Pogues over for their first headlining tour of the country), the dedicated Ents Officers of educational establishments and countless others laboured with tenacity and entrepreneurial audacity to hand-make an original music scene in Dublin. I have never met most of those people, yet know I have them to thank for making the Dublin I grew up in more wonderful than it would have been.
It is a night for thinking. Thinking of ordinary men and women as well as heroes. I muse on some of my heroes through the years. Tonight the starting line-up would be: Strummer, Connolly, Lydon, O’Connell, Friday, the Suffragettes (I know that’s against the rules), Marx, Bowie, Holidai and Rapid. And naturally Chevron, the Captain and the King.

Here’s to the Captain and the King.

wildheartedoutsider

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Hooligan – No Blacks no Dogs, No Irish

Hooligan

No Blacks No Dogs No Irish

hooligan album cover

It’s amazing how life cycles around. Todays empires, tomorrows ashes is how propogandhi summed it up. When people emigrated from this country to UK and elsewhere many weren’t greeted with open arms. Signs popped up all over the UK, “No Blacks No Dogs No Irish” was the message from shop windows for those seeking work or homes for those seeking accommodation. Eventually times cchanged and the Irish community grew in large numbers in the UK.

We then experience some positive times in this country as our infrastructure improved. As this got better larger numbers of menial jobs were created which irish people didn’t want to do. as people came in from abroad to take up employement that domestic workers wanted no part in our own racism increased. It’s the worse indicment of the nation that has people in all corners of the globe that we do not welcome immigrants with open arms.

This song talks about how irish people were treated but we mustin’t forget how the cycle has continued. Hooligan have very much a street punk sound. This sound has its roots firmly in punk rock in 1977. The Clash and SLF are the closest two. it’s all good toe tapping stuff and with words to get a conversation going it is always positive.

niallhope

Track by track – the lazy way

1. No Black, No dogs, No irish – Clash and Reggae inspired with sax sound

2. Calling Joe Strummer – is that RnB sound and definite Clash mix

3. Cops and Robbers – Almost SLF feel

4. Bandit Country – 77 punk with lyrics harking back to that time

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