Swear I'm not Paul: 22/11/2009

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Live Review: Bell x1, Olympia Theatre, 27 November 2009

Bell x1 Olympia 27-11-09

Bell x1 played the first of their homecoming gigs at the Olympia Theatre last night and were so much better than every other time I have seen them. Not that they were bad on other occasions, just that they were so good last night. This is a band who have really come into their own and easily sell out Dublin's middle venues on consecutive nights.

I had seen them in Vicar Street earlier this year and they were great, but last night's gig was a masterstroke in performing. Paul Noonan is a marvellous band leader and the rest of the band are equals, especially guitar/harmonica/banjo player David Geraghty. Marc's trousers were a travesty though.

Bell x1 played a mix of everything last night. They weren't supporting the new album Blue Lights on the Runway any longer, and thus could play what they (and the fans liked). Opener 'Ribs of a Broken Umbrella' was a fantastic way to start a show, and led into a tremendous run of songs including 'Reacharound' and 'How Your Heart Is Wired'. 'Bad Skin Day' slowed things down a little, and 'Next to You' featured a nice little tribute to Michael Jackson.

One of the many fan requests they played was an old school 'Eve, the Apple of the Eye' which went down a treat with the large crowd. The biggest cheer followed for 'The Great Defector' which was as fantastic as ever. 'Flame' and 'Rocky Took a Lover' were other fan favourites and 'Rocky' ended the main set perfectly.

The encore was almost as long as the main set and began with 'Slowset' and 'Just Like Mister Benn'. Both songs had been requested by fans on the band's messageboard (the Bellyboard) and went down a treat. Although the drunk gobsheens behind me were talking during 'Mr Benn' and almost got into a fight. Tools. The songs were glorious though.

'Alphabet Soup' was fantastic, as is every song from Music in Mouth - what an album. The Talking Heads tease was lovely too, and a great nod to their major influence. "More cowbell". Paul told us about new Bell X-onesies, which I really have to see. He also wondered whether people would buy one for adults. From the consensus last night, it seems they could be on to a winner.

'A Better Band' brought that requested cowbell, and the night ended with a stunning extended 'I'll See Your Heart and I'll Raise You Mine'. It was a high all the way through, and was probably the gig of the year. Saved the best til last? Definitely (although I have Macca to come in December. But can a Beatle top this? I doubt it.)

Preview: X Factor 2009 Live Finals, Week 8

Take That and Elton John week this week as each act has to sing two songs - one from each act. It's an awful pity John and Edward aren't there to do 'Crocodile Rock' and 'It Only Takes a Minute'. What songs do you think the twins would have done?

Something About The Way You Look Tonight - Elton John
Rule The World - Take That

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word - Elton John
Could It Be Magic - Take That

I'm Still Standing - Elton John
Million Love Songs - Take That

Your Song - Elton John
Relight My Fire - Take That

Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) - Elton John
Love Ain't Here Anymore - Take That

Awards: IMTV Video Music Awards Winners

The IMTV Video Music Awards clashed with everything last night. I was at Bell x1, so I missed them. But I do know who all the winners are...

Best Live Video:
Act: And So I watched you from afar
Video: Set Guitars to Kill
Director: Will McConnell

Best Dance Video
Act: Le Galaxie
Director: Killian Broderick & Le Galaxie

Best Styled Video
Act: Julie Feeney
Video: Impossibly Beautiful
Director: Vittoria Colonna

Best Solo Male Video
Act: Pearse McGloughlin
Video: Ways to Kill a Werewolf
Director:Kevin McGloughlin

Best Solo Female Video
Act: Wallis Bird
Video: To My Bones
Director:Philipp Kaessbohrer

Most Original Concept For Video
Act: Fight Like Apes
Video: Something Global
Director: Eoghan Kidney

Best Production/Special Effects in a Video
Act: Cap Pas Cap
Video: We are men
Director: Sam Boyd

Best Video by a Newcomer
Act: Bowlegged
Video: Red Lights
Director: Peter J McCarthy

Director of the Year 2009
WINNER: Eoghan Kidney

Best Video 2009
Act: Valerie Francis
Video: Punches
Director: Eoghan Kidney

Watch the best video of the year, Valerie Francis' 'Punches' (Peter will be happy):

Watch all the winning videos here:

Setlist: Bell x1, Olympia Theatre, 27 November 2009

Bell x1 played for their fans last night at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. They even took some requests through their official forum, and I was actually attending. What a show. I'll have a full review up later. But for now, here's the setlist.

Ribs of a Broken Umbrella
How Your Heart Is Wired
Bad Skin Day
Next To You (The Way You Make Me Feel interpolation)
My First Born For A Song
Eve, the Apple of My Eye
The Great Defector
Rocky Took A Lover
Just Like Mister Benn
Allphabet Soup (Once in a Lifetime interpolation)
A Better Band
I See Your Heart and I Raise You Mine >
Do You Realize?

Setlist: Oppenheimer, Olympia Theatre, 27 November 2009

Oppenheimer opened for Bell x1 on the first of their homecoming concerts at the Olympia Theatre last night. They are also supporting Bell x1 on their nationwide tour as well as at the rest of teh Dublin dates.

The Choice
This Is Not a Test
Major Television Events
Single Syllable Colours
I Don't Care What Anybody Says ABout You, I Think You're Alright
Ace of Spades (melodica tease)
Look Up
Six Blocks That Way
This Life

I didn't get any videos of this, but here's the official 'Look Up' video:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Live: Mumford and Sons at the Academy

One of my favourite bands of 2009 (and 2008 too, I've mentioned them a lot on these pages), Mumford and Sons are to play a UK & Irish Tour throughout March 2010. Here's the full list of dates in all four countries (there's no Welsh date strangely enough).

Mumford & Sons live:
3rd March - Glasgow ABC
4th March - Manchester Academy 2
6th March - Wolverhampton Wulfrun
7th March - Newcastle University
9th March - Liverpool Academy
10th March - Cambridge Junction
12th March - Brighton Corn Exchange
13th March - London Shepherd's Bush Empire
16th March – Edinburgh Queen’s Hall
18th March - Dublin The Academy
20th March - Belfast Spring & Airbrake

Tickets are priced €16.50 for Dublin, and Belfast is £14.50. They go on sale this Friday (tomorrow).

Watch new single 'Winter Winds' (out next weekend):

List: Mojo Magazine's Top 50 Albums of the Year

Mojo Magazine January 2010

Here is UK music tome Mojo Magazine's best fifty albums of 2009. It's a strange list, with a mixture, of well, everything. Read on...

50. Max Richter - Waltz With Bashir OST
49. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt II
48. Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid
47. Bruce Springsteen - Working On a Dream
46. The Black Crowes - Before the Frost...

45. Cate Le Bon - Me Oh My
44. Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics - Inspiration Informaton
43. Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones
42. Doug Paisley - Doug Paisley
41. Mos Def - The Ecstatic

40. Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
39. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band - Between My Head and the Sky
38. Sonic Youth - The Eternal
37. BLK JKS - After Robots
36. White Denim - Fits

35. Portico Quartet - Isla
34. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
33. Leonard Cohen - Live in London
32. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
31. Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens - What Have You Done, My Brother?

30. Staff Benda Bilili - Tres Tres Fort
29. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
28. Vetiver - Tight Knit
27. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - I Speak Fula
26. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

25. Alasdair Roberts - Spoils
24. Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo
23. Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
22. The XX - XX
21. Bat for Lashes - Two Suns

20. Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers
19. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Diamonds
18. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
17. The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
16. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

15. Kasabian - The West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum
14. Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement
13. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
12. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
11. The Cribs - Ignore the Ignorant

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
09. Madness - The Liberty of Nolton Folgate
08. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
07. Florence & the Machine - Lungs
06. Bob Dylan - Together Through Time

05. Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions
04. The Horrors - Primary Colours
03. Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter
02. Bill Calahan - Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle
01. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

So, how many of these does the average listener/reader actually own?

List: Uncut Magazine's Top 50 Albums of 2009

Uncut Magazine

Another week, another top albums of the year list. To go with all the decade ones (The AV Club's is the best I've seen so far, btw), here's Uncut Magazine's latest from the new issue which came out yesterday.

50. Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy
49. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
48. Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It
47. Alasdair Roberts – Spoils
46. Broadcast & The Focus Group - …Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age

45. Richmond Fontaine – We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
44. Reigning Sound – Love And Curses
43. Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
42. Richard Hawley – Truelove’s Gutter
41. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl

40. The Felice Brothers – Yonder Is The Cock
39. Cornershop – Judy Sucks On A Lemon For Breakfast
38. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
37. Dinosaur Jr – Farm
36. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

35. Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Companions
34. Trembling Bells – Carberth
33. Duke And The King – Nothing Gold Can Stay
32. Iggy Pop – Preliminaries
31. The Dead Weather – Horehound

30. Jim O’ Rourke – The Visitor
29. PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Woman A Man Walked By
28. Madness – The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
27. Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs
26. The Unthanks – Here’s The Tender Coming

25. Sunn 0))) – Monoliths And Dimensions
24. Micachu And The Shapes – Jewellery
23. Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers
22. Alela Diane – To Be Still
21. Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

20. The Horrors – Primary Colours
19. Sonic Youth – The Eternal
18. Graham Coxon – The Spinning Top
17. Doves – Kingdom Of Rust
16. Florence And The Machine – Lungs

15. Bassekou Kouyate And Ngoni Ba – I Speak Fula
14. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
13. White Denim – Fits
12. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
11. Bill Callaham – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

10. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
8. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
7. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
6. The XX – The XX

5. Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
4. Bob Dylan – Together Through Life
3. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
2. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years
1. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Far from the best list so far, but at least the Felice Brothers' Yonder is the Clock is on there. What an album. My number 1 and number 2 aren't though. I'm doing preliminary listing now. So my list should be coming some time in early December.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Watch: Neil Young - Fresh Prince Theme cover

Veteran rocker Neil Young TV host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel performed the theme tune from Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Monday night in full Neil Young guise. This is definitely worth watching. As is Jason Segel with the Swell Season. Great weekend for musical comedy!

(Oh, sorry, the post title is a lie ;) )

Watch Jimmy Kimmel/Neil Young 'Fresh Prince' theme:

Album Review: Norah Jones - The Fall

Norah Jones - The Fall album cover art

Norah Jones arrived on the music scene with almost everything already. Like Alanis Morrissette, she seemed to be too big too quick. But whereas Alanis's career drifted off (she's now doing Black Eyed Peas pastiches, if that's any indication), Ms. Jones (she's still Miss now, having split from long-term luvvie and songwriting partner Lee Alexander in 2007) has set about to reignight her career with a more uptempo solo album.

This is a bit more rock than her last few albums, with trashy guitars mixing in alongside Jones' trademark vocals. It's no El Madmo (google it) or definitely not the Little Willies (be careful googling that one), but those two avenues have no doubt given Jones more confidence for this.

The Fall opens with lead single 'Chasing Pirates', the song most like her previous albums. It eases you in to this, the darker Norah Jones album. This is her fourth solo album, and it seems to be here that she's really finding her feet. That said, 'Chasing Pirates' is a glorified radio hit. But one of those ones you won't be guilty singing along to.

'Even Though' offers a better glimpse of what The Fall actually is. It's gritty and dirty, a far cry from the smooth soul of Come Away With Me. This is down to both Jones' new direction, and her choice of producer this time around - Jacquire King, who has previously worked with Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Josh Ritter and Tom Waits. She has also enlisted a fine selection of session musicians, including Tom Waits' own guitarist Marc Ribot.

The songwriting here is fantastic too. As well as songs penned by her own hand, she has co-writes with Okkervil River/Shearwater's Will Sheff ('December') and Ryan Adams ('Light as a Feather'). The Adams song was one of the primary reasons I wanted to hear this album. I had enjoyed her previous work, 'Feels Like Home' never gets enough credit, but really wanted to hear what Adams had to offer her. Sadly, he's not on backing vocals or guitar, but without that, the song is still great.

'Young Blood' is the finest song on the album. It's a bruised hymn to aging (kind of), but what makes it good is the fact that it just rocks. If the Dead Weather is a little too dirty for you, this may be right up your alley. 'I Wouldn't Need You' could well be about Alexander, and features a marvellous interplay between piano and drums. Beck's drummer Joey Waronker is responsible for the latter.

'Waiting' is another of the softer songs, that harks back to the debut. And you know what? It's fantastic. It reminds me a bit of Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' 'Happy', which is definitely not a bad thing. The Will Sheff co-write 'Stuck' is the longest song on here at over five minutes, but never outstays its welcome. Instead, it drags its mucky boots all over the clean carpet and has you cursing when it's gone.

Overall, this isn't a Norah Jones album for everyone. The Fall charted at number twenty in Ireland which is a disappointment, but not totally unexpected. It's not one for people who loved her debut and rank it alongside Michael Bublé and Dean Martin. It is one for those of you who like your music a little edgier, a little rawer, and damn good.

Watch 'Chasing Pirates' live on Later... with Jools Holland:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Download: Warren Zevon - 1999-11-22 Bootleg

Warren Zevon

This show is taken from the late, great Warren Zevon's 1999 tour. This is from the Barrymore Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin on November 22nd. It's a fantastic performance, and a reminder why Warren was such a fantastic musician.

Lawyers, Guns and Money
I Was In the House When the House Burned Down
Mr. Bad Example
The Factory
Boom Boom Mancini
Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
Back in the High Life Again
My Shit's Fucked Up
Excitable Boy
Seminole Bingo
Accidentally Like a Martyr
Play it All Night Long
For My Next Trick
Let Us Be Together Tonight
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead
Werewolves of London

Warren Zevon - 'Excitable Boy'
Warren Zevon - 'Roland the Thompson Gunner'
Warren Zevon - 'Werewolves of London'

Full Show

Album News: Massive Attack - Heligoland

Massive Attack - Heligoland album cover art

Massive Attack are back in 2010 with a new album, Heligoland. No idea what the title actually means, but when it's Massive Attack, the music does all the talking. It should be great. The album is due on the 8th of February. Guests on this one are Guy Garvey and Damon Albarn.

'Pray For Rain'
'Splitting The Atom'
'Girl I Love You'
'Flat Of The Blade'
'Paradise Circus'
'Rush Minute'
'Saturday Come Slow'
'Atlas Air'

Live: Lynyrd Skynyrd at the O2

Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd will be coming to Dublin to play the O2 on March 10th 2010 as part of their European Tour. They'll be supported by Black Stone Cherry.

Tickets cost €49.20 and €54.80 depending on whether you're rocking out standing up or sitting down!

Watch Lynyrd Skynyrd playing 'Free Bird' live in 2003:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: X Factor 2009 Live Finals Week 7

It was George Michael and Wham week this week on X Factor. But sadly Week 7 was the last week for the Irish twins. Sniff. Boo. :( Worst week in Irish history? I think so. :P

Anyhow, on Saturday night, Lloyd Daniels was first up with 'Faith', but was as terrible as he always is. He got a new look this week via a new haircut. It does suit him and make him look better, but sadly it doesn't improve his voice. If he stays in next week, I'll go mental. Although that said, JEdward's fans could well switch over to him. He's the closest in age and talent.

Stacey Solomon warbled her way through 'I Can't Make You Love Me', and she can't. I never will like her. But I must comment on the awfulness of her Group song costume. My dear Jesus, horrid.

Next up was John and Edward in their last ever Saturday performance. They sang 'I'm Your Man' and jumped from a high scaffolding. That was about the only entertaining bit this week. They weren't as funny as any other week, but sadly we'll never get to see them rise to the top again. They were on This Morning this morning (ha), you can watch them here:

Danyl Johnson was poor again singing 'Carless Whisper' and failed to find any groove. We know he has it, remember his first audition? But it's long disappeared. Simon promises to get it back next week though. Come on Stella!

Olly Murs sang 'Fastlove' and it also was his worst performance so far. However, Olly is a fantastic singer, and will be back on top again next week. I doubt he'll be in the bottom two next week either. People may have thought that he was safe and didn't phone in. He has to be more liked than Danyl!

Last up was Joe McElderry singing 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me'. He was the best by miles this weekend, and is rightly the current favourite. Plus he got a standing ovation from all four judges. John and Edward never got that. Alas.

The group song this week was 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go' and was phenomenally cheesy. I actually thought that was the song teh Grimes twins might have sang this week. Alas no.

Celebrities on it this week were George Mich...oh no wait, he wasn't here. Wonder why they didn't have Mariah week or SuBo week? Susan Boyle was great but I thought she performed 'Wild Horses' much better on America's Got Talent or American Idol (whichever one she was on) a few weeks back. Her debut album is out this week.

As is Mariah's debut album. She sang her new cover of 'I Want to Know What Love Is' and was as screechy as always. The Foreigner version is a million times better!

It was the end of the road for Jedward as they sang 'No Matter What' by Boyzone. They finally got a chance to sing properly, but it was too little too late, and only their mentor, Louis saved them.

Also, have a look at myself and Sweary discussing the show live on Saturday and Sunday night here:

Check out Sue_de_nim's take here:

Live Review: Stuntman Jack, Phelan's, Carlow, 21 November 2009

Phelan's is like the country version of Whelan's. Some nights it has a lot of drunks, and some nights it has some great live music. Saturday night was one of those nights which had both. I was home in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow as my brother was visiting yesterday, and decided to go out to the local for one (or three). I arrived just in time for the live band. Sometimes these are good and sometimes they are awful. Saturday was neither option. The live band were fantastic.

They're called Stuntman Jack and at the moment play lots of covers. However, I was talking to the bassist afterwards, who said that they are working on some original material. If it's half as good as the rest of the show, then it'll be fantastic.

They play a lot of classics with a mixture of old tunes. At the start of the show, frontman, guitarist and harmonica player, David Quirke announced "we're going to keep it country for the first half." Luckily it wasn't the country that my father likes. More a beautiful blues rock that was never over the top.

There were many highlights in the show. Them/Van Morrison's 'Gloria' was fantastic, as was their take on Kings of Leon's 'Molly's Chambers'. It was great to see a band like this playing good tunes, rather than just radio friendly songs (i.e. no 'Sex on Fire'). Quirke is a great leader and is a good showman, interacting with the crowd very well. He's also a fantastic guitarist and harmonica player. The band's other guitar player, Mick Kelly also provided backing vocals, but on the two or three songs where he took over full singing duties, he really shone. He's got a great rock voice, and if they let him lead a few more songs, there would be fantastic variety.

Stuntman Jack's takes on Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold' and 'Rockin in the Free World' were glorious, and the interpolation of the Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams' into 'Seven Nation Army' was inspired. The rhythm section of the group, Graham Hynes on bass and Tom Ward on drums were also excellent. Understated but note perfect throughout.

This is an act to look out for in the future. If they stay as a mainly-covers band, they should be playing universities, colleges, and live venues around the country. But if they choose to become a group in their own right, they could be phenomenal.

More info:
Stuntman Jack on Bebo

Watch Stuntman Jack's beautiful cover of Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold':

Album News: Laura Veirs - July Flame

July Flame is the name of the new Laura Veirs album, due in... January (not July at all). It'll be out January 12th via her own Raven Marching Band Records. It's the follow-up to the fantastic Saltbreakers, and has an album cover that's almost as good. (Also, word on the grapevine is that some naughty person has leaked this to torrents and rapidshare and the like. Tut tut tut.) You can download two free songs from the album at her official store, here.

01) I Can See Your Tracks
02) July Flame
03) Sun Is King
04) Where Are You Driving?
05) Life Is Good Blues
06) Silo Song
07) Little Deschutes
08) Summer Is The Champion
09) When You Give Your Heart
10) Sleeper In The Valley
11) Wide-Eyed, Legless
12) Carol Kaye
13) Make Something Good

Download: The Chapters - Videotapes (Lights remix)

Lights have remixed The Chapters 'Videotapes', their excellent single (and the track that was featured on Emmerdale). They've (I should say he, since it's Neil Dixon who does the work) done a dubstep remix of the tune and it sounds great. Stream it here and then download it. It's a fine complement to the album!



Watch: The Swell Season featuring Jason Segel

Jason Segel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall and How I Met Your Mother (where he's interestingly enough, called... Marshall) joined Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for a special performance last week. Both brilliant and funny, this is definitely worth watching.