Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

February 13th, 2012 by

Early last year, The Hold Steady decided to take a rain check on the album/tour/album/tour roundabout (it can hardly be described as anything so pejorative as a treadmill) they’d been on since heaven was whenever (five albums in eight years, actually), which left their front man, singer and lyricist Craig Finn with time on his […]


Agnes Obel – Dublin

December 13th, 2011 by

Released in October 2010, Philharmonics by Danish born, Berlin-based, classically trained pianist Agnes Obel, has been one of the word-of-mouth success stories of the past year. Akin to Anna Calvi’s recent Vicar Street performance, tonight’s show has something of a triumphal end-of-year return about it, both for those in the audience who saw Obel in […]


Tom Waits – Bad As Me

December 6th, 2011 by

‘If you dress older when you are not / As you really age you look the same’ is advice Andy Warhol purportedly once gave to Lou Reed, leastways that’s what Reed tells us in ‘Faces and Names’ from Songs For Drella. It’s a statement that could have been coined with Tom Waits in mind. At […]


David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time

November 24th, 2011 by

Consider two contrasting accounts of creative genius. One is the ‘narrow but intense’ school of thought, which holds that you can only be really good at one thing, and all ventures into other fields are merely dilettantish pastimes which provide some respite or diversion from your true calling. James Joyce may have had a good […]


Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu

November 21st, 2011 by

To say that this album has received overwhelmingly negative reviews would be perhaps the most monumental understatement of the now nearly 12 year old century (apologies, but the hyperbole is sanctioned by Lou Reed’s own pre-release assertion to the effect that, ‘It’s maybe the best thing done by anyone, ever’ – a statement which, in […]


Charlie Parr – Dublin

November 14th, 2011 by

Frankly, I’m amazed that Duluth’s Charlie Parr is not, you know, FAMOUS, or at least better known. Of course, it’s the way of the world that major talent can languish in obscurity for years, but Charlie has been at it for at least a decade now. His back catalogue is all over the place, between […]


Steve Earle and the Dukes & Duchesses – Dublin

November 9th, 2011 by

Steve Earle is no stranger to this island, or to the Olympia stage, having played his first show in Ireland at this venue in 1988, when there used to be Midnight At The Olympia gigs. As soon as the intro bagpipe sample from ‘Copperhead Road’ went off, signalling the start of the show, the bar […]


Richmond Fontaine – Dublin

November 8th, 2011 by

‘No tricks’ wrote poet and short story writer Raymond Carver in his short essay On Writing, and it’s advice that Willy Vlautin, whose work as both a lyricist and novelist owes more than a little to Carver’s terse, dirty realist takes on American blue collar life, has taken to heart. Attired in regulation plaid shirts […]


3epkano – Hans The Reluctant Wolf Juggler

November 2nd, 2011 by

3epkano are a seven piece Dublin-based ensemble who specialise in composing and performing live soundtracks for silent films. This is their second album of original music, after 2007’s At Land, and a six track eponymous EP debut in 2006. Though often tagged (or pigeon-holed) as ‘instrumental post rock’, there is much to admire in their […]


Emmy The Great – Dublin

October 19th, 2011 by

It’s Monday night, it’s cold and wet, so a queue isn’t exactly forming all the way down Leeson Street outside The Sugar Club for the visit of Emma Lee-Moss and her band. Inside, the atmosphere is equally subdued. Most tables are taken, but it’s far from packed out. Emmy the Great has been something of […]


Patti Smith – Outside Society

October 17th, 2011 by

‘I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future’ Patti Smith may have announced in the first line of her poem ‘Babelogue’, which also provided the intro to ‘Rock’n’Roll Nigger’ from her third album Easter. These days, however, she would appear to spend a fair amount of time looking back, […]


Rubberbandits – Dublin

October 11th, 2011 by

By now it should be apparent that Limerick’s Rubberbandits are more than just a novelty act and weren’t just one hit wonders with ‘Horse Outside’. You only have to YouTube the prank phone calls they specialised in early in their careers, and it becomes obvious that they are arch situationists, who owe as much to […]


Jeffrey Lewis – Dublin

October 11th, 2011 by

A sparse yet obviously obsessively devoted audience is gathered in The Button Factory for this gig by Brooklyn anti-folk singer/songwriter (and noted cartoonist) Jeffrey Lewis, a man who almost single-handedly defines the phrase ‘cult figure’. One of the most oft-heard criticisms of Lewis (and, by extension, of the entire anti-folk movement, all the way back […]


John Cale – Extra Playful EP

October 6th, 2011 by

It has always been impossible to classify John Cale’s work simply in terms of genre. From his early classical training leading to adventures in minimalist new music with ’60s drone pioneers Terry Riley and LaMonte Young, to the ‘everything from lyrical torch ballads to distorted noise rock’ aesthetic of his collaborations with Lou Reed in […]