Friday, November 21, 2008

Primal Scream Savoy Nov 08 Heineken Green Spheres

Words: Anne Marie Curtin
Photos: Sean Monaghan
9pm sharp, a band of six walks out on to the stage. For the life of me, I have no idea what they’re called – I could find their name written nowhere and the (apparent) reverb on the mic meant that I couldn’t catch the name when it was said but I can tell you that they were from Newcastle and consisted of a drum kit, a keyboard, four guitars and one Ian Brown lookalike. (Nice of him to drop by.) This was a night of retro. As we waited for the gig to start, the background music was hippy-dippy ‘60s music (Mamas & Papas and their ilk), the screen at the break was showing the trailer for an alien horror film from the 1950s (over and over and over – the roadies were more interesting) and these guys were covering the ‘90s (with a slightly touchy-feely, slightly anthemic, edge of the psychedelic with the almost obligatory instrumentals which built and built and built only to wind down again) rock genre rather nicely. Like I said, no idea who they were at the time (according to Primal Scream’s myspace, they were Detriot Social Club) but I liked them. They rehashed what was milling around in the early ‘90s but they did it well and, as any cold-pizza-for-breakfast connoisseur knows, a revisit to something good isn’t a bad way to start the day, or a gig even.

They were gone at 9:30 pm sharp and, after an entertaining half hour with the road crew, where I was very happy having found a heat source and was having my knees gently toasted while we waited, and the stage was stripped, dressed and made ready by some very efficient crew members, Primal Scream entered with the knock-kneed dervish that is Bobby Gillespie marionetting out last at precisely 10:00pm (you gotta love the punctuality). Dubbed ‘the oldest man in rock’, it’s obvious it’s purely a chronological description as he and the rest of the equally apparently aging band members put more energy into the performance than you might be used to seeing, what with Mr Gillespie spinning and his cohorts striding and jumping around the stage. By the bye, they’d evidently had a confab before they came out as they were themed – a red/black colour scheme with everyone in skinny jeans and pointy shoes. Hey, who cares, it worked. And the crowd loved them.

As you must already know, “Screamadelica”, their third album put them firmly on the map in 1991 and they maintained their prominence for some time after that, dropping pretty much from the radar mid-90s, but they have been recording fairly steadily over the years and have a surprising nine studio albums to their record, the most recent being this year’s “Beautiful Future”. Their sound has changed over the years certainly but elements of it remain bedded in the past, as the pseudo-punkish leanings of the early part of the set indicate, while at the same time experimenting with what’s around them at any given time. Not that this would worry this young audience as it’s all new to them. For example, a rousing “Jailbird Wine” did not raise a cheer for the old and familiar from the crowd, possibly because they may not have heard it before? It’s good to see longevity in performers. For one thing, getting your parents to approve a career as a rock star becomes easier when the bands that they grew up with are still treading the boards. For another, it’s really good to see if/how a group matures and develops their sound. And, considering it’s more than 15 years since they played the City Hall, these guys have been knocking around a long, long time.

Primal Scream: Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes, Mani, Martin Duffy, Darrin Mooney

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bell X 1 The Pavillion Cork

Photos: Sean Monaghan
Words: Anne Marie Curtin

Bell X1
21st October 2008
Live at the Pavilion, Cork

“We're most pleased to announce some intimate acoustic shows in Ireland in October and November.We'll be visiting places we've never been, or haven't been for a long time, and playing some new tunes along with all the hitz...
We'd also welcome any requests you might have. Email us at, or reply here, and we'll see what we can do...”
That’s an excerpt from their website and it pretty much says it all really. So I’ll stop now.

Ha! Not a chance. But start as you mean to go on, you know, and this was how they were - by all appearances they were relaxed, comfortable and having fun…and definitely not taking themselves too seriously. Chatting, laughing and generally taking the mick with the crowd, there were only three of them on stage, with (I believe) David Geraghty on the left being all things to all men on the piano, guitar, harmonica, banjo & vocals, Dominic Philips in the middle on bass and vocals and Paul Noonan on the right on guitar, vocals and bizarre links. As soon as I saw Paul’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ t-shirt, I knew I was completely snukkered.

Mixing the new with the old, they covered a songlist including “Bad Skin Day”, “Alphabet Soup”, the unexpectedly funny “One Stringed Harp”, the gorgeous “Next to You”, “Blow Ins” and an ode to the joys of being breast fed: “I was doing fine when I was being breast fed”. Well then! And joining all of these together were musings on the oddity that is the Latin mass (where the priest turns his back on you), the possibility of marketing a Bell X1 Breast Pump, the Marquee with Duke Special and things wot people did at Oxygen. This particular wandering around the Oxygen campsite conditions led on to a rather angry-sounding number called “I Am the Defector”. Hmm…

“Bad Skin Day” was of particular interest to me as it is such a richly layered sound and there were so few of them on stage – to see how it’s all put together, especially acoustically, is an excellent experience. They made really good use of a loop in this track and also in the opening to the second half where they showed their vocal range (especially Dominic) with some high vocal work looped live. The vocal work is particularly impressive – both the tightness in their performance and the clever simplicity of the harmonies themselves – having the tune echoed an octave below in some of the tracks with more complex harmonies above thickened the sound nicely but it’s risky and does not always work. It did here though.

“Shine” was always a kind of a ‘so-so’ for me in the whole rosemantic genre but, boy! was I rudely awakened on hearing it live! Lads, I had a moment. Oh my god, a more beautiful and touching love-song I have rarely heard. And it’s all in the telling. I have to admit, tears were felt brimming. Not a good look for a gig.

Now, I had to go before the end of the gig as it was a school night and my internal Mary Poppins was whooshing me to bed so I have no idea whether they played “Flame” or whether they did an encore but they are, as they said, traditionalists so I have no doubt that they did all of that and maybe more, and I would say, whether you have already seen them or you are a total Bell X1 know-nothing, either way, get a ticket if you can. (I believe there are some left in Ballybofe.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Declan O'Rourke

Well its been a while but I have been to quite a few gigs recently coupled to doing some promo shots. Anyway here is a shot of Declan O'Rourke who has become one of my favourite singers of recent times, plus he`s a fantastic guitar player, an added bonus in my book. For some more pics and a you tube video visit this link on my website.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ladydoll Photoshoot

Met Ladydoll today, have to say I like this band check out their myspace. Above and below are some promo shots I did for these guys.

Ladydoll are a melodic/alternative rock band based in Ireland. The band has been together just over a year, having played their first show at the end of January 2007. The band have already turned heads in this short time, playing triumphant shows around Ireland such as the IMRO Showcase, 2fm 2moro 2our, National Student Music Awards and support to many of Ireland’s bigger names such as Future Kings of Spain, Giveamanakick and Royseven.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bad weather, mess and muck 'but the vibe was great'

Well, there is a first, my first image published in the Irish Times, appearing on p14 in the August days section accompanying an article by Pamela Newenham. Title "Bad weather, mess and muck 'but the vibe was great" link to article

Many thanks to David and Alicija for posing for me, and to Tracey in the Waterford Hotel who helped me in a time of need.