Willie Nile – Dublin

November 21st, 2013 by

Willie Nile is a New York institution. He came out of the Big Apple’s New Wave/CBGB’s scene, making his debut album in 1980. Varieties of bad luck (a year recovering from pneumonia accounted for the delay in the release of that first record; protracted legal and contractual problems with Geffen Records put his career on […]


Cian Nugent & the Cosmos – Dublin

November 18th, 2013 by

Tonight’s gig is a launch party for Cian Nugent & the Cosmos’ new album, Born with the Caul, although Nugent’s set kicks off with the bright whirlwind of last August’s single ‘Hire Purchase’, in place of album opener ‘Grass Above My Head’. Nugent then swaps his Fender Strat for a Guild acoustic, and goes into […]


Omar Souleyman – Dublin

November 11th, 2013 by

This was a very short gig. It was characterised by its shortness. If I had to choose the salient feature of this gig, it would be that it was short. Its essence resides in its lack of length. I doubt I’ve ever been to a show where the headliner played for less time. 42 minutes, […]



Agnes Obel – Dublin

October 26th, 2013 by

‘Classically trained’ is a phrase to strike fear into the heart of any popular music fan and Agnes Obel’s performance tonight – in which she plays a grand piano and sings, accompanied by a cellist and violinist – does start off beset by the reverence and tension of a formal recital. Chamber music is not […]


Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

October 22nd, 2013 by

Okkervil River’s new album, their seventh, is like several of their previous recordings, a concept album, in that it takes us back to a 1980s childhood and adolescence, specifically that of mainman Will Sheff, and is set in his hometown of Meriden, New Hampshire. This is the most personal songwriting Sheff has done to date, […]


Doctor Millar – C48

September 30th, 2013 by

It has long been an open secret, at least among ‘us critics’, that the good Doctor, Sean Millar, is Ireland’s greatest living singer-songwriter. That this critical acclaim has never been matched by commercial success is immaterial (in the philosophical sense, at least, if not the financial one), as such mainstream acceptance has eluded lots of […]


The Strypes – Dublin

September 20th, 2013 by

Everyone knows The Strypes are retro, but what of it? There’s good retro and bad retro, and these guys fortunately fall into the former category. As they’ve said themselves, perhaps with a touch of hubris, The Stones started out playing covers. So did The Beatles, for that matter. Most bands do, unless they can’t actually […]



Low – Dublin

August 27th, 2013 by

Low’s current tour is heavily weighted towards promoting, or at least playing, their most recent album, the Jeff Tweedy-produced The Invisible Way, and they kick off with ‘On My Own’, followed in quick succession by ‘Clarence White’, ‘Plastic Cup’ and ‘Holy Ghost’ (the later, incidentally, covered in short order by Mavis Staples, on her latest […]


Swans – Dublin

August 19th, 2013 by

The Button Factory is thronged for a band whose reputation, more so than most live acts, precedes them – renown for punishingly load, confrontational sets, where pure sound noise displaces any hint of melody. Swans – or rather main man Michael Gira and the current incarnation of his project, a line-up which is proving increasingly […]


Spiritualized – Dublin

August 13th, 2013 by

Considered by many to be their masterpiece, this isn’t the first time that Spiritualized have performed 1997’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space in its entirety. I saw them at The Barbican Centre in London in December 2009, as part of the Don’t Look Back strand at the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, but […]


Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me OST

August 6th, 2013 by

The titular Big Star documentary, directed by Drew DiNicola, has been doing the rounds Stateside for the past eighteen months, but has as yet to see the light of day this side of the pond. However, the soundtrack, compiled by original producer, Ardent Records/Studios founder John Fry, along with head of Omnivore Cheryl Pawelski, is […]


John Murry… The Sound and the Fury

May 7th, 2013 by

First night back in Amsterdam, after too long an absence, and I have the undiluted double pleasure of 1) interviewing John Murry before his show at the Paradiso, and 2) then watching him and his band play. After establishing that I first saw him perform six years ago, on a Sunday morning in the back […]