Abner Browns Live – Definitely a cut above

It has been a long time coming, but I was finally able to get my bum over to a live event in my local barber Abner Browns last week to catch Neev Kennedy and Scott Maher wow an enthusiastic and respectful crowd.

An odd thing really, saying you went to a gig in a barbershop. Good thing I like odd. And music. The set up is magnificently simple – it’s an acoustic session in a setting that requires nothing added to make it special. Every inch of every wall of Abners is chock full of music memorabilia from guitars to records to saxophones to gig posters. If Johnny Cash was a teenager now, this is how his bedroom would look. It oozes cool.

Neev Kennedy and David Payne kicked off the night. Well, I say kicked off, but it was more of a gentle pat on the shoulder and a kind whisper in the ear of the listener. God they were good. So understated, so gentle, so full of energy and emotion, that they commanded your full attention from the get go. Their melodies were fantastic too – akin at times to the familiar tones of HamsandwicH during their more gentle pieces. It was poetically romantic.

Neev Kennedy & David Payne!
Neev Kennedy & David Payne!

Next up was the headliner Scott Maher flying solo. This guy did things with a guitar and a loop pedal one can only dream about. Normally with a full band in tow, Scott compensated for this by singing directly in to the sound-hole, mimicking a saxophone, foot stomping, and guitar tapping. The loops were complex as his songs are quite layered, but he pulled it off. It was great to watch. His voice was powerful too – and we all enjoyed hearing the stories of how his week went at Facebook HQ et al. He wasn’t even phased when an audience member started chopping a lemon in front of him. Kudos.

Scott Maher
Scott Maher!

I didn’t drink on the night, but it is BYOB and free entry. Where do you out your beer did you ask? Why, you simply plonk it in the sinks full of ice. Genius.

Should you go? Yes. Will I be back? Yes. Is it cool? Ooooh yes.

Salute Abners, salute.

Saute!
Salute!

The Bootleg Project – 25th July Lineup

 

The Bootleg Project is very quickly becoming more popular than I could have ever imagined. The emails are coming in quicker than I can read/reply for bands and singers that want to jump in – Huzzah!

So who are the acts that are playing next? Feast your eyes below – Let’s get to know them….

  • Kate Dineen hails all the way from Tralee but we won’t hold that against her. We love that region! Lucky for us, Kate is now residing in Dublin – it would be some trek for the Bootleg otherwise! Currently doing the rounds in the Dublin music scene Kate loves to sing live, and says that ‘being invited to play the Bootleg Project is a dream come true’ – even more so than Ian Dempsey calling her ‘sweet and soulful’ after entering Today FM’s Even Better than the Real Thing competition! Currently working on her first EP, Kate is a promising act, and I haven’t even mentioned how she can play the spoons with her toes….. Original, soft yet punchy, we’re honoured to have her play.

    Kate Dineen!
    Kate Dineen!
  • Barry Jay Hughes is a Monaghan native and aself confessed ‘gigaholic’ (Ed – this has been toned down for our younger viewers!). Over the years he has played as a four piece, a two piece and now solo. By that reckoning and economies of scale, Barry will be awesome. Actually I know he will – he wouldn’t be playing otherwise. In his spare time, Barry likes to whisper sweet nothings in to his guitar’s sound-hole. Filth. In other news, Barry is a ‘classically trained pianist’ – I hope that means what I think it means……

    Barry Jay Hughes!
    Barry Jay Hughes!
  • Cian was born and raised on music. His musical tastes far outweighs men of his age bracket, and his talent outshines most. Cian loves to gig all over the planet, but when not sleeping on hotel roofs or recording track after track, he loves nothing more than attend parties, hen nights and even the odd stag as an Andy Samberg look-a-like. Soulful and honest in all that he writes and sings,Cian will have you singing along, and weeping with joy. Can’t wait.
    Cian!
    Cian!

So there you have it. All of that awesome talent for just €5 in Foley’s of Merrion Row, tunes before, during and afterwards and drinks promotions throughout.

See you here on the 25th!

Huzzah!

JJ

Listen – Jamie Duff, EP

Jamie Duff is a busy man – and with good reason – He’s good. In fact he’s very good.

The folk rock scene both nationally and internationally is in its heyday and has introduced the world to many great artists. After developing his confidence on guitar for the last few years, Jamie jumped right in to the folk rock scene with enough panache, good looks and charm to warrant the attention of his peers.

Jamie Duff!
Jamie Duff!

It’s refreshing to listen to an EP released in this genre that does stand out. So what makes Jamie different? Well, vocally, Jamie’s voice is punchy, gritty and reminiscent at times of an early Bob Dylan. The rhythm of the EP is fast paced but doesn’t leave the listener jaded – there’s enough electric guitar, powerful kick drum beatings and raw energy to warrant hitting the replay button. The biggest seller for me though is introducing the listener to catchy riffs interwoven with topical or sad lyrics that you have no right tapping your feet to. Topics that should depress not impress The sign of a good singer/songwriter? You bet.

So now you can see just why he is in demand. He different. He’s unique, and after catching him in Bruxelles a few weeks ago, I can confirm that the women (and most probably the men) think he’s a dish. A musical trifecta sure to see him starside. Catch him while you can.

Jamie Duff EP Out Now!
Jamie Duff EP Out Now!

The EP is available now for download on Bandcamp here and iTunes here. Well worth more than the price offered if I’m honest.

 

Bootleg Project #3 – Saturday 25th July

Get your calendar ready people – the next Bootleg Project is happening in Foley’s on Saturday 25th of July – that’s Saturday week. Details guests playing will be revealed in the next few days.

Karla Chubb @ The Bootleg Project
Karla Chubb @ The Bootleg Project
Loop Culture at the first Bootleg Project in Foley's
Loop Culture

If you haven’t been able to make one yet, you can check out the shenanigans from the first one here and the second one here. The quality of the bands and solo singers that have played so far has been exceptional. They have been great fun too with jokes, sing-a-longs and dodgy stories.

See you there.

JJ

Hot Press – Longitude Site Preview

It’s time to start salivating – Hot Press has been to Marlay Park to scope out what Longitude 2015 looks like before it get bombarded by eager punters. Worth a look if you are heading there this weekend! Sweet.

Longitude Site Preview | Music | News | Hot Press.

The timetable is here too. So many great bands to see. If I had to pick a favourite day, it would be Saturday.

Longitude Timetable 2015
Longitude Timetable 2015

Listen – Paradox, Chapters

You  can’t spell Cork without Rock. I used that in a tweet recently and knew I would have to use it again. I knew I would want to use it again.

MTV had a profound effect on me when I was younger. Not the known MTV of now, but the MTV of yore when the likes of ‘Unplugged’ played to heavy hitters, grunge was being introduced to eager teenagers, and it actually played good music. I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was around to appreciate it for what it was.

20 years later, my musical tastes haven’t changed all that much – Sure, I like many more different types of music now, and have distinct views and tastes, but I still know good music when I hear it. Enter Paradox.

Paradox
Paradox. Photo credit Gilbert Fonteyn

In a time when it’s easy to get lost in the swarm of new and music wherever you go, it’s nice to get hit with an album that sounds like it was forgotten about in the 90’s only to be dug up in the digital era of now. For me, at the ripe age of 34, it’s a nice feeling.

Paradox hail from Cork – currently the grunge/rock/punk capital of Ireland as far as I’m concerned. A local music scene can create a popular bubble of the same musical genre in the area with many bands sounding the same, or playing homage to their surrounding peers. Paradox has been the band that others play homage to, and now they are bursting from that bubble and creating waves further a-field.

The lengthy 14 track album is distinctly different from their previous 3, a paradox in itself one could say – notes of Alice in Chains (particularly their Unplugged album), Nirvana, Silverchair, Mad Season and A Perfect Circle and NIN. As with these bands, there is a certain melancholy and assuredness to their sound particularly with top track and video ‘Nothing lasts’. I was sold on this song alone.

With an independent band producing music of this standard, my hopes are high for the future of the grunge/rock genre and era in Ireland, wherever it might exist. If MTV was to fall back to its 90’s roots right now, this band would be all over your TV screens, not just your computer screens. Just like the 90’s, pay your respects here.

 

Listen – Transmission Club, A Weak Heart

Transmission Club are an interesting and enticing band from Cork (yes another!). They first hit my radar when it was announced they were supporting one my favourite White Line Fever at this.  I did a little bit of research beforehand so had an idea of who they were and what they were like, but nothing beats that feeling of hearing a new band live. The goosebumps. We’ve all been there – I live for that feeling.

Transmission Club @ The Workman's
Transmission Club @ The Workman’s

Currently recording the new EP, Transmission Club’s newest tune Weak Heart  is on Soundcloud for all you aural pleasure. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them before, this single is a great introduction, and only the tip of the iceberg to their complete madness live.

I love the mix of violin and piano throughout – used very delicately indeed, it gives unique warming feeling to the song. I’ve always been a fan of strings in songs, so I’m instantly bias and I don’t care! Lyrically it’s deep and purposely understated – it’s quite a sad song, but like any great sad song, it has a catchy riff, a sing-a-long chorus and the ability to put the listener in a good mood.

Well worth a listen here now. Keep an eye on them here and make sure you catch them live. I’ll be first in line when they’re back in Dublin.

 

Bootleg Project #2 roundup

My energy levels are just coming back to me now hence this post only going live! The vibe last Friday was very different from the previous, but comparable in band/singer quality, effort and fun had by all.

Josie Harrington hit the mic first. And hit it she did – her voice is so powerful even Janis Joplin would have perked up to have a listen. I needn’t have bothered setting up the mic for her, but as powerful as her voice was, her lyrics and stories behind each song were all the more powerful. A belter of an opener, Josie promises to be back in the loft soon. Make sure you check out her album available on iTunes here.  Keep an eye out for my review soon.

Josie Harrington @ The Bootleg Project
Josie Harrington @ The Bootleg Project

After the break saw Kevin Casey up next. Usually with a full band present, we were honoured to have him play solo. The lovechild of Bruce Springsteen and David Gray, Kevin song with the soul and emotion normally seen on the bigger stage. With beads of sweat rolling down his face, he had the crowd in the palm of his hands, particularly with his rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’. Catch his next big gig in Odessa here. He has promised to return to the Bootleg with full band in tow. Can’t wait.

Kevin Casey @ The Bootleg Project
Kevin Casey @ The Bootleg Project

Next up saw Karla Chubb and Sean rock the crowd. Karla’s gritty voice immediately hushed the room with her originals, while Sean’s harmonies added a nice sweet richness in baritone. Content that they had the crowd by the heartstrings, the pair also belted out a few covers, including Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, which had all of us singing along. It was pretty cool if I do say so!

Karla Chubb @ The Bootleg Project
Karla Chubb @ The Bootleg Project

The next Bootleg Project will be in two weeks – date to be confirmed. Hope to see you all there!

 

The Bootleg Project #2 Lineup – 10th July

The first ever Bootleg night really went down a treat. It was a great night, with music from some very fine musicians. We have lots more on the way.

Bootleg Project #2 hits your lobes this Friday 10th. Doors open at 8pm so you can grab your spot and eye up the talent!

So who are the acts that are playing? Feast your eyes below – Let’s get to know them….

  • Josie Harrington is a rock queen meets folk angel meets singer/ songwriter & producer. Her debut album ‘The Red Road’ is available on iTunes here . Well worth a listen. She is the only person I know who ever used the phrase ‘like a suckler calf’ on stage in the middle of a gig! Many people don’t know that Josie is also an artist (with colours like), and a champion dancer. I want to see her do both at the same time – let’s ask her Friday so!

    Josie Harrington!
    Josie Harrington!
  • Kevin Casey has been rocking out the Dublin and countrywide music scene for as long as you can think back. You name it, he’s played at it. Kevin’s music style ranges from hard-hitting blues rock, to softer homebrew ballads. His new single It all begins here is on the horizon and he’s hosting a special intimate night to go with it. No smooching in the back row! Judging by the shameless crotch/white tee/blue jeans shot below, he’s a definite fan of The Boss. Let’s hope he has room in our cosy surroundings to pull off a few of these moves! For you Kevin, we’ll make room.
Kevin Casey!
Kevin Casey!
  • Karla Chubb (and the 3 handsome men) are a four piece indie/folk/rock/every-influence-under-the-sun band. After meeting through mutual friends, the band have quickly gained a reputation for energetic, entertaining and enthusiastic live shows. From snapping strings, spilling pints and breaking leads, you can be sure Karla and the gang will put on a great show.

    Recent finalists in the Workman’s club Battle of the Bands, the guys proved they give it all or nothing in every show, with Karla even bruising her hand from playing the tambourine too vigorously!

    Their emotive lyrics, clever songwriting and booming performances are really all just a cover to keep their handsome spanish guitarist, Sergio, in Ireland long enough to find his dream girl. Currently competing in another battle of the bands, you can liking/sharing votes here!

    Karla Chubb (and the 3 handsome men)!
    Karla Chubb (and the 3 handsome men)!

So there you have it. All of that awesome talent for just €5 in Foley’s of Merrion Row, tunes before, during and afterwards and drinks promotions throughout.

See you here on the 10th!

Huzzah!

JJ

Listen Now – MINDRIOT, New Release

A couple of months ago I was introduced and reviewed the track ‘Low’ by the Corkonian rock band MINDRIOT.  A fresh Seattle sounding tune which filled me full of nostalgia, it’s well worth a listen and I’m not the only one who thinks so – the EP itself is nominated for ‘Best EP’ in the Pure M Awards 2015. Full details here.

Today sees the Mitchelstown group release another two songs ahead of their upcoming album later this year – ‘Angel Town’ and ‘Billy Ray’. Working alongside their favoured Producer/Engineer Ciaran O Shea at WhiteWell Studios in Cork, the new tracks do not disappoint in quality or immediate catchiness.

MINDRIOT mt
MINDRIOT mt

The forthcoming album name and artwork have yet to be released – as soon as I get my grubby hands on them I’ll let you know. In the meantime feast your ears on the tracks using the links below. If the likes of Therapy? Kerbdog, Alice in Chains etc are your tipple, you are going to enjoy these. I, for one, can’t stop listening.

Spotify

iTunes (available Monday 6th)

MINDRIOT play Fibbers on the 18th July. Go see them. You will not be disappointed. Have a goo at their latest video below too!