Festival Season 2015 – Get Prepared!

Excited? Well you should be! With the season being royally kicked off by Vantastival this bank holiday weekend, and  a stellar lineup to boot, get prepared before you head off!

In 2010 I was bulk buying essentials in preparation for Oxegen. I had a short list but kept on getting sidetracked by other things I thought I would need. In the baby wipe section (essential!!!!) I found a folded piece of paper. When I opened it my heart skipped a beat! Someone, a girl, had left behind a very detailed and list for her trip to Oxegen.

I looked at hers (back to back, and handwritten no less), looked at mine, then decided to mostly go with hers! For the most part anyway.

And it was a wet one – glad I was prepared!

JJ Bird at Oxegen 2010
JJ Bird at Oxegen 2010

So check the list below, print it out and get prepared for the ample amount of up coming music festivals. You can’t go wrong with it really, especially if you are a girl, or a guy who likes to wear girls clothes to a festival.

Share this to make sure everyone is prepared for music festivals and they don’t forget anything – particularly the ‘obvious’ section.


Festival Necessities. All you need to know!
Festival Necessities. All you need to know!


Festival Alcohol and clothes. Wow.
Festival Alcohol and clothes. Wow.

Album Review, HamsandwicH, Stories from the Surface

Stories from the Surface has hit number 1 in the Irish charts (Friday 24th April 2015), and for good reason. It is most definitely their best work to date.

Stories from the Surface album cover
Stories from the Surface album cover

Their third studio album shows a wonderful leap forward lyrically, melodically, and creatively, and is a fitting follow on from 2010’s album White Fox which placed the indie band firmly in the spotlight. I can’t believe it has been 5 years since White Fox, an album which is still on occasional repeat in my house.

Having baked a cake with the right ingredients with songs like Ants and Models in 2010, HamsandwicH have continued this trend particularly with the first 6 songs on the new LP using a fantastic mixture of Willy Wonka-esque magic to keep listeners ears wanting more.  A great feat from an indie/alternative band and rewarding for new and old fans alike.

Load vocalist Niamh thankfully hasn’t changed her already uniquely soothing voice and the frequent, almost nonchalant, baritone harmonies from guitarist Podge seem second nature and effortless. It’s a great mix which worked perfectly on the last outing and I’m glad it hasn’t changed here. Damn you and your winning ingredients HamsandwicH!

2015 is already a landmark year for HamsandwicH – it’s hard to believe that we are only three studio albums in to their career. It feels like their summer sound has been around longer than their discography lends itself.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of a band with an already impressive career going from strength to strength and I haven’t even mentioned how crazy they are live! Vantastival 2012 anyone??

Podge from HansandwicH @ Vantastival 2012 - Courtesy of MauRamsPhoto
Podge from HamsandwicH @ Vantastival 2012 – Courtesy of MauRamsPhoto


Kudos HamsandwicH, kudos. Happy number 1!

Album Review – Villagers, Darling Arithmetic

I’m finding this album review really hard to write. This is the 7th draft. I generally listen to the album I am reviewing when writing about it and I can’t help but be brought to a different place when listening to Darling Arithmetic. In its stripped down and unambiguous offering, it is about love, love lost and learning to face your fears – I get totally swept away in thought from the moment I press play – it’s such a wonderful feeling.

Listening through the album, it tells a story from the beginning with ‘Courage’ which screams that Conor has been through a lot, but does it in a gallant, brave and honest way.  ‘Dawning on Me’ calmly weaves lyrics of infatuation in an amazingly poetic form. Conor then politely lets the listener know of his sexuality in ‘Hot Scary Summer’ and the relationship challenges he faced.

This album is not a coming out album. It’s an album that shows that love is universal. That breakups, lust, loathing, memories, and emotions are the same for both homosexuality and heterosexuality. This is so evident in songs three and four ‘Dawning on Me’ and ‘Hot Scary Summer’. Anybody who has loved, been loved or lost somebody can relate to these songs regardless.

Admirable this album is. I have always been a fan since the angry, yet haunting ‘Becoming a Jackal’ – this album saved me from severe injury (literally), to the loud statement that was ‘Awayland’, and the now frank, honest and mesmerising ‘Darling Arithmetic’.

This album is a triumph and will remain in my conscience for many moons to come.


All The Young Dudes – remembering Tony Fenton

Loads of you, just like myself, grew up listening to the dulcet velvety tones of Tony Fenton. His voice was instantly recognisable and always there in the background whether at work, at home, or in the car. I’ll never forget him anyway.

He was a great ambassador for Irish music and loved interviewing up and coming bands and singers. His interviews always brought a smile to my face because he had a great ability of making the interviewee feel at ease bur just having a chat. Radio gold.

All The Young Dudes
All The Young Dudes

In honour of his radio brilliance and Today FM’s Shave or Dye in support of the Irish Cancer Society, a charity gig is taking place in Vicar Street on the May 14th. The gig will feature bands and singers that Tony supported throughout the years.

More names have yet to be announced, but so far the likes of Mick Flannery, Aslan, Wallis Bird and The Minutes will hit the stage.

Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster and outlets priced at €26. It’s a great cause with great artists.


Review – Audible Joes, Medicine for Modern Living

Punk rock by its very nature is undoubtedly one of the hardest genres of music to gain significant recognition in. There are only a handful that stand out from the crowd.

I have thought long and hard about why it’s so difficult to rise above the crowd- the band needs to be confident, the lyrics clever, the melodies catchy, the songs short and epic, and the band members or front-man needs to likable and engaging.

Audible Joes Group Shot

For me, Audible Joes debut album Medicine for Modern Living ticks all of these boxes. All of the 13 tracks on the album have melodies that are somehow familiar enough to mosh along to from the moment you press play. The opener How to Build an Urban Soldier is an absolute banger of a tune sure to fill floors. It immediately tells you that these guys know what they are doing. It’s a textbook fan grabber – it was for me anyway!

Influences are obvious throughout; Green Day (the Dookie years), The Offspring, gritty/early Foo Fighters, Nirvana, The Sex Pistols…….. All reputable bands to sharpen your sword on, but it’s this variety of influences that sees Medicine for Modern Living carve its own niche while confidently standing in the corner shouting in your face.

The album is under 40 minutes, and it keeps the momentum and tempo throughout, only breaking this mold for the surprising stripped down acoustic Shame of Being Human. A nice simple tune full of angst ridden lyrics. To me, that’s where punk rock stands out from other genres – lyrics are always stripped back and honest, taking no prisoners.

I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t sure I would like this album – I have heard mountains of punk rock throughout the years that left me regretting pressing play. This album did the opposite.

Artwork by Sarah Mackey
Artwork by Sarah Mackey

I like these guys and I like their debut album. It made me feel like when I first heard Green Days Basket Case or the Foo Fighters debut album. Any album that does this is a winner for me and I look forward to seeing these guys live in Whelans in May- I have heard nothing but greatness.

Audible Joes Medicine for Modern Living – go get your fix!

Find them – Facebook (the bio alone has to be worth a like?!), Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp