Swear I'm not Paul: 29/11/2009

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Watch: The Swell Season - New Song

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova played a new song that's not on Strict Joy at KCRW last night. What do you think of it? Should it have been on the album?

Preview: X Factor 2009 Live Finals, Week 9

Semi-finals week tonight on X Factor. There are only four acts remaining, and tomorrow that will become three finalists. With only two weeks remaining, things are getting very tense.

This week is Michael Jackson week, but in addition, they'll also be singing a second song of their (Simon's) choice. Here's the full list of songs.

Stacey Solomon
The Way You Make Me Feel
Somewhere - West Side Story

Joe McElderry
She's Out Of My Life
Open Arms - Journey

Danyl Johnson
Man In The Mirror
I Have Nothing - Whitney Houston

Olly Murs
Can You Feel It
We Can Work It Out - Stevie Wonder version

Friday, December 4, 2009

Download: Jonsi - Boy Lilikoi

Sigur Rós band leader is taking yet more time off from his main band. He released the Riceboy Sleeps with his other half Alex album this year, and is set to release a solo album in Spring 2010. Jónsi is currently working on a new solo album that will feature predominantly acoustic music and string arrangements from classical composer Nico Muhly. The album will be produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Tokyo Police Club). More details when I find out, but as for now, you can download 'Boy Lilikoi' from the album as an mp3 below.

Jonsi - 'Boy Lilikoi'

Setlist: Snow Patrol, Olympia Theatre, 2 December 2009

A nice Irish gig in the run-up to Christmas, and much more intimate than any of their gigs at Oxegen or the O2. Gary was full of chat and loved being able to connect with his hardcore fans. Bell x1's Paul Noonan also joined the band onstage for 'Olive Grove'.

The Finish Line
Crack the shutters
Fifteen Minutes Old
Batten Down the Hatch
You could be Happy
Olive Grove
Golden Floor
Grazed Knees
Take back the City
Dark Roman Wine
Spitting Games
Making Enemies
Set the Fire
You are my Joy
How to be Dead
One Day Like this
You're all I have
Chasing Cars
Just Say Yes
Shut Your Eyes

Watch 'Run':

List: Top 20 EPs of the 00s

My end of decade lists continue. But each day, we get nearer and nearer my list of the best 100 albums or so of the 00s! As I'm busy typing that list, I've split this into two halves. The second half, i.e. the top ten, features some fine blurbs, in case you decide you might have to buy some of these half-albums. Also, I left off Ryan Adams' Love is Hell EPs, as they would've held the top two positions, and will be high up my album list, as one sole album.

20. Bright Eyes - Four Winds (2007)
19. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Tallest Man on Earth (2006)
18. Bon Iver - Blood Bank (2009)
17. Gemma Hayes - Work to a Calm (2001)
16. Gorillaz - Tomorrow Comes Today (2000)
15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - IsIs (2007)
14. Ben Nichols - The Last Pale Light In the West (2009)
13. Mumford and Sons - Mumford and Sons (2008)
12. Jill Andrews - EP (2008)
11. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant (2008)

10. Joanna Newsom - Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band (2007)
Not only is this Joanna Newsom's beautiful follow-up to Ys, but it's also the best named release of the decade. A genius titled EP which contains three gorgeous, encapsulating songs. She's a marvellously consistent artist, and I can't wait to see what the next decade has in store for her.

9. Iron and Wine - Woman King (2005)
Sam Beam is also one of the most consistent artists around, and Woman King may well be his finest ever release under the Iron and Wine moniker. He's also fantastic live, so if and when he does return, I advise you to go to see him.

8. The National - Cherry Tree (2004)
The Virginia EP narrowly missed the top twenty here, but this is their better short-length record. Cherry Tree signalled the brilliance that was yet to come from the National on their excellent Alligator and Boxer full lengths.

7. TV on the Radio - Young Liars (2003)
Another teaser EP, this one showed glimpses of what TV on the Radio would come to be. Even still, it's a fantastic release, and one any artist would be delighted to have in their canon. Check out the excellent 'Staring at the Sun' and the phenomenal 'Blind', a seven minute tune which feels like it ends too soon..

6. Richard Hawley - Richard Hawley (2001)
This decade has been Hawley's decade. He has stood out on his own. Previously a session musician, his self-titled EP, with songs like 'Naked in Pitsmoor' and 'Coming Home' showed that Hawley could be the Roy Orbison of the 00s.

5. The Gaslight Anthem - Senor and the Queen (2008)
A lot of these EPs are teasers that the best is yet to come from an artist, but Senor and the Queen contains a lot of the Gaslight Anthem's best work. Overall it's their best ever release, mainly because of the song 'Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts'.

4. Kings of Leon - Holy Roller Novocaine (2003)
They weren't always pop darlings, you know? Long ago, before X Factor wannabes sang their songs, Kings of Leon were a fantastic rock band, up there with the White Stripes and the Strokes. They weren't polished in any way. They were raw, and they rocked. Hard.

3. Bloc Party - Bloc Party (2004)
I first downloaded this in 2004, on a recommendation from NME before their debut album was released. It was incorrectly titled Banquet EP, but that is mainly the reason it was so good. That one song. 'Banquet'. Perhaps the best rock song to come out of England this decade. And that includes everything Pete Doherty was involved in too.

2. Fight Like Apes - How Am I Supposed to Kill You if You Have All the Guns?
The best EP to come out of Ireland this decade? Certainly. Might well be the best EP to come out of Ireland ever. It also had a more normal souning name than any of their other EPs. It quickly sold out everywhere, and a wave of hype followed the band everywhere. It was truly deserved, as no-one can argue with songs like 'Battlestations' and future single 'Jake Summers' He's the man...

1. Arcade Fire - Arcade Fire (2003)
This is what good EPs are all about. Also known as the Us Kids Know EP. It introduced the world to the fascinating Win Butler and Rene Chassagne, and contained no songs that would appear on their debut album Funeral. (Although 'No Cars Go' was later re-recorded for Neon Bible). It's the perfect EP, as its unique tracklist makes it worth owning, as much as a full-length album.

Live: Westlife at Croke Park in 2010

You first heard it on the Late Late JohnJoe, sorry Toy Show, but now you're reading it here, complete with ticket and support information.

Westlife will be playing Croke Park in Dublin (again) on July 5th 2010. They'll be supported by X Factor runners-up JLS. Tickets for the Croke Park show go on sale next Friday, the 11th of December, at 8 a.m.

Here's the boys on the aforementioned Late Late Toy Show:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Download: John Mayer - Edge of Desire live

'Edge of Desire' is one of the standout tracks from John Mayer's recent album Battle Studies (Uncut gave it 4 stars, you know!) As a way of thanking all his fans for buying it (and sending it to #1 in the States), John has recorded a live version of the song in his apartment, complete with his phone going off in the background. It's a lovely version of the song, and can be downloaded from his blog, one forty plus.

John Mayer - 'Edge of Desire' live

Live: Christmas on Popical Island

Popical Island has announced Christmas revue (for that, read: PARTY!) of some of its bands on December 17th, upstairs in Whelan’s. Doors are at 8, and tickets are €5 including a free Christmas CD from Land Lovers. Bargain or what?

The full line-up is:
Land Lovers (wordy jangle-synth pop)
Lie Ins (literate acoustic guitar/drums tour de force)
I ♥ The Monster Hero (one-man pop overload)

There will also be some Popical DJs after the bands have finished, so it promises to be a long night of wonder and awe.

More info:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Album Cover: Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago

More news about Shearwater's upcoming album The Golden Archipelago. We now have a full tracklist as well as another fantastic cover. If you haven't heard their last album, Rook, I recommend you do. It came out last year and was very rocky. Much more than Will Sheff's other project, Okkervil River. They're playing Europe in February, but no Irish date, alas. You can download lead single 'Castaways' as an mp3 below.

01 Meridian
02 Black Eyes
03 Landscape at Speed
04 Hidden Lakes
05 Corridors
06 God Made Me
07 Runners of the Sun
08 Castaways
09 An Insular Life
10 Uniforms
11 Missing Islands

Shearwater - 'Castaways'

Album News: Joe Pug - Messenger

Joe Pug will be releasing the follow-up to his fantastic Nation of Heat EP. Messenger will be a full length album, and will be released on February 16th, 2010. It's coming out on Lightning Rod records which is the home of Jason Isbell, and is currently touring with Justin Townes Earle. You can see now why I'm so excited!

Track listing:
1. Messenger
2. How Good You Are
3. Not So Sure
4. The Sharpest Crown
5. The Door Was Always Open
6. The First Time I Saw You
7. Unsophisticated Heart
8. Disguised as Someone Else
9. Bury Me Far (From My Uniform)
10. Speak Plainly, Diana

You can join his mailing list and get a free EP here:

Interview: Mick Flannery

Another day, another interview. If only every week was like this! My latest victim is one of Ireland's finest young songwriters, Mick Flannery. The Corkman speaks about recording with a big label, the joy of playing live, Christmas albums, and how he approaches songwriting. He also shows his own love for fantastic music by picking his best album of the decade.

Did you find it a very different experience making White Lies with EMI after self-producing your debut?
I did yes. I was very much out of my comfort zone, a bit lost really. I was working with a new band and even though they were great I realise now how long it takes a group of people to actually become a band. I find we play the songs a lot more interestingly now at gigs than we did at the time of recording. EMI, Willie Kavanagh in particular, were very patient and understanding during that time, I suppose down to having seen it all before. I definitely learned a lot from the experience so I have no regrets really.

'Mad Man's Road' is one of your oldest songs, will we ever get to hear a studio version?
There is a recorded version from those sessions we did for White Lies. The recording is fine we just felt it didn’t fit in with the rest of the album so we held it back. It may be released later on sometime.

There's a song on your self-titled EP called 'Christmas Past', would you ever have an inkling to make a Christmas album?
I don’t think so. I’m not averse to themed albums but nothing as pansyish as a full dose of festive drivel.

Do you pay much attention to awards? You were nominated for Choice, and won at the Meteors. Were these proud moments?
I’ve forgotten about them. It was nice to have been nominated. No matter how modest or humble any band is, us included, they still want recognition for what they do and it is nice when it comes,

You lived in New York for a few months to try your hand at making it as a musician over there, what happened?
Mostly drinking to be honest. Very little in the way of ambitious endeavour.

You now play all over Ireland, do you enjoy touring and playing live?
I do, very much so. I’m very lucky that we all get on very well and have a good time in each other's company.

You've often spoken of your love of Tom Waits, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams etc. Who is the best act you've ever seen live? And have you taken anything from their show to put into your own?
Waits and Leonard Cohen are the best I’ve seen live. I don’t consciously rip any specific things off for our gigs. I’m always aware of the need for a few more upbeat songs to make a gig enjoyable for an audience.

How do you feel about collaborating? Is there any act you'd love to work with?
I’ve tried it in the past with no real results. I think I’m too shy really to write with other people.

How do you approach songwriting?
I have no particular approach. Ideas come at strange times so I keep a recording thingy with me and then work on the idea when I have the time. Mostly music first lyric afterwards.

How important are reviews to you? Do you google yourself to see what people are saying?
Reading a good review is nice but I don’t really pay a whole lot of attention to them.
I’ve never googled myself no, but now you asked I might, strange.

Do you ever get recognised in the streets?
Only by people I know really.

What advice would you give for younger musicians trying to make it?
A good manager is extremely important, someone who looks out for your interests no matter who they have to go up against.

What's next for Mick Flannery? More touring? A new album? An EP? A rest?
All of the above really. We’ve started doing demos for a new album. Hopefully we’ll be able to release next year.

I'm asking everyone this at the moment. What's your favourite album of the decade? And your favourite Irish album?
Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker. Van Morrison, Tupelo honey

Mick Flannery currently has a deluxe re-release of his excellent White Lies in stores. It includes an extra special bonus song, as well as Mick's entire live performance at the Opera House in Cork last year. The bonus song, 'Christmas Past' with Kate Walsh, can currently be heard on Mick's MySpace:

And you can buy the deluxe edition White Lies here:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Interview: Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers

My year end and decade end lists are coming up very shortly. You should expect the Drive-By Truckers to feature on both (especially the decade end one). So imagine my delight at being able to interview Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers. Here is what he had to say about returning to Ireland, new albums The Big To-Do and Go Go Boots, his favourite lyrics, his early band Adam's House Cat, working with Booker T, and even selected his favourite albums of the decade.

Firstly, thanks for taking the time out to do this. With three main songwriters in the band, how do you decide what gets on the albums and what gets cut?
Patterson Hood: There always seems to be a few dominant songs which kind of establishes a theme or running thread the it is a matter of what songs fit and what songs don't.
Everybody is really tough of themselves so the songs are generally really strong before they come in to the band. It is almost always the dominant writer who pulls a song out of running.
We all really love each other's songs so it is often me or Shonna arguing in defense of a song Cooley wrote and vice versa. There is no room for ego or hidden agendas in this band. We always say "song is king" and every decision is based upon that premise. I think that is a bog part of what makes our band as good as it is.

Mythology is featured in many of your songs, do you have a favourite story or folk tale?
PH: I do love myths and legends. Folklore, storytelling, etc. All of these things are a big part of what we do and things we apply to our music. It's a grand old tradition that isn't done as much nowadays as in days past. We are all very much into the idea of keeping that old tradition alive as best we can.

You released B-Sides album The Fine Print earlier this year, do you have any plans to ever release other outtakes and unreleased songs, such as Neil Young's Archives?
PH: We don't really have that many outtakes. We do edit ourselves very heavily, but usually before the recording process begins. Usually if we like a song enough to actually record it, it's considered a keeper. If we don't get a good enough take for it to make the album we can it and try again the next album. There is a good bit of live archives but we don't have any plans for them at this time. We do have our first live album (Alabama Ass Whuppin' from 2000) that has been out of print for several years. I'd like to reissue that one day as well as the old Adam's House Cat album that Cooley and I recorded in 1990 but right now our main concern is with our new material going forward.

What is your favourite lyric you have written? And what is a lyric you wish you had written yourself?
PH: Right now probably a new song (from the next album) called "The Wig He Made Her Wear" about a murder a few miles from where I grew up. I've always been really proud of "Heathens" "The Living Bubba" and "World of Hurt". I wish I had written "Zip City" which is my all time favorite DBT song, but of course no one on earth could have written that except for Mike Cooley. I'm just lucky I got to play on it.

A lot of your shows are available online for download for free (such as on archive.org ), do you feel this helps your fans to connect with the music better?
PH: It seems like a good thing. Our fans like it and I would think it has helped to grow our fan base. It kind of fills the void from all of the radio play that we don't get.

And how do you stand on the whole issue of online music piracy?
PH: There are certainly abuses but I don't think there's any plausible way to fight it. I sure don't believe in suing our fans. We try to go the extra mile with our packaging and artwork to entice people to actually BUY the album. I would hope that by making it an appealing thing to actually own it would help sales. I would hope that people realize that we're very much a working class band. We make a lot of our music available for free but I would hope that people who enjoy those freebies would at least support the cause by actually buying that new album that comes out (even if they downloaded it earlier before it came out). As I said, even if it's to have the packaging. Our albums are packaged very beautifully.

Who are your influences, other than the groups and artists usually connected with you?
PH: Far too many to name. Todd Rundgren was a huge influence on me. All of us really love old country and soul music as well as punk rock and 70's arena rock.

You played a co-headline tour with the Hold Steady this year which was fantastic. Are there any other artists you'd love to share a stage with?
PH: Tons of great bands out there. Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, M Ward, Radiohead, Any Jack White project. If the Stones were to ask, I wouldn't say no.

And any you'd rather never play alongside again?
PH: No one I can think of. We've generally gotten along well with everyone we've ever toured with.

Since you spend a lot of time touring and playing live, surely there must be some really memorable concerts or concert moments that stand out. What has been the best concert? And the weirdest thing to happen at a gig?
PH: I have no idea. We've played way over 1,000 shows and I'm usually happy with them unless I'm sick or there's some bullshit technical thing that keeps us from doing what we want to do. Obviously the audience has a lot to do with it, but were very fortunate to usually have very kick ass audiences. I always long for that moment of transcendence where we all lose ourselves in the moment. It happens more nights than not. There have been nights where we played more or less perfectly, but that wasn't there and so I didn't like the night. Other nights that might have had plenty of technical fuckups but we all lost ourselves in the moment and were very happy at the end.

Are you still friends with Jason, and do you listen to his albums?
PH: Yes and Yes. We don't see each other very often, but I keep up with what he's doing. He's an amazing talent and I think his best days are still ahead. I'll probably see him over the holidays.

Southern Rock Opera is a concept album about Skynyrd, any intentions to do any more records like this in the future?
PH: For starters, It's only loosely based on their mythology and how that interacts with people's perceptions of the part of the country we come from. It's more printing the legend as John Ford would have said than a literal history. It could be argued that all of our albums are somewhat concept albums, even though some of them were not planned that way at all. The lines become very blurry, which of course I think is a good thing. I've come to terms with the fact that all of our albums deal with concepts, even when they're not concept albums. There is always a running theme (or joke, or both) that ties all of it together.

What can you tell us about the new album, The Big To Do? Will it be a change in direction, or what are your main influences for it?
PH: It's very much a Rock album. Very melodic and more Rocking than anything since disc 2 of Southern Rock Opera. We're very proud of it. We actually recorded two complete opposite albums this year. The second one will come out sometime later. It's called Go-Go Boots and is what we affectionately refer to as our R&B Murder Ballad album.

How did the album with Booker T come about?
PH: Booker T signed with ANTI Records, which put out the Bettye LaVette album that we played on (and I co-produced). Andy Kaulkin from ANTI asked if we'd like to do another project and we all said yes. Booker had always wanted to make a guitar based album and Andy played him some of our material and he thought it might work. We got together last fall and made the album in four days. I really hope we can make another one with him. We toured together some this year and I feel that we could really delve much further than we've been able to if given a chance.

Did you learn anything from working with Booker and Bettye LaVette that you have brought to your own shows or songwriting?
PH: We learned a lot from both of them. I think our last album (Brighter Than Creation's Dark) was heavily influenced by having made Bettye's album earlier that year and likewise I think working with Booker really influenced The Big To-Do. Booker's album being all instrumental taught us a lot of how to nuance things musically in ways that really paid off when we started writing our new one. it made us all better players also.

And should we expect any guests on your own upcoming album?
PH: No, not on this one. David Barbe plays on a few things (like he almost always does on our albums) but otherwise no guests. We would like to do a guest laden album at some point, but this wasn't the time.

I'm asking everyone this at the moment, but if you had to choose, what is your favourite album of the 00s?
PH: The Glands - The Glands (2000 - Capricorn Records) and Gillian Welch - Time The Revelator. I'm pretty obsessed with both of those albums.

Also, one last one, any chance of an Irish date in the future? You haven't been here in years, and there's a lot of whiskey here waiting to be drank...
PH: I can't wait to play Ireland again. Hopefully next spring after The Big To-Do comes out.

Album News: Ted Leo - The Brutalist Bricks

Ted Leo - The Brutalist Bricks

Ted Leo and the Pharmacist's new album, The Brutalist Bricks is due for release on March 9th, 2010, but already you can download a song from it.

Ted Leo - 'Even Heroes Have to Die'

Watch another new song here:

Watch: Brendan Benson - A Whole Lot Better

Now that Jack White is off with his side-project of a side-project, the other Raconteur, Brendan Benson can get back to what he does best. It features Benson himself along with a fantastic band: Brad Pemberton on drums (Ryan Adams), Jared Reynolds on bass (Ben Folds) and Mark Watrous on guitar and keys (The Raconteurs).

Maybe One Mississippi II is on the way? Or Two Mississippi?

The song is called 'A Whole Lot Better', and you can watch the fantastic video below:

Live: An Indiecater Night

The very first Indiecater Night is less than two weeks away. The 12th of December will see some of the Indiecater crew performing at Whelan's in Dublin for a very cheap €8! Playing on the night will be Storkboy Choons, the Ambience Affair and the Very Most who are travelling all the way from Idaho in the US of A.

As long as it doesn't clash with your Christmas party, I urge you to attend!

Find out more info and buy your tickets here:

Monday, November 30, 2009

The 00s: A Decade in Irish Music

Post 1,000 was a fairly special post for my on Swear I'm Not Paul, and as I haven't quite made it to 1,500, post 1,400 is also going to be pretty special. Here it is.

Reeling in the Years

You know how you love watching Reeling in the Years on a Sunday evening? Everyone must be watching them as they're still in the TAM Ratings ever week (are they still called the TAM Ratings? I remember them as that from the RTE Guide; nothing ever had more viewers than The Late Late Toy Show!)

Well, this is like a Reeling in the Years for the Irish single chart this decade. Here we go...


The decade started as the last one finished. With Westlife atop the singles chart. The chart topper was not just one song, but a double A side which was the 1999 Christmas number 1 on both sides of the Irish Sea. It contained covers of ABBA's 'I Have a Dream' and Terry Jacks/Jacques Brel's 'Seasons in the Sun', and remained at number one for most of January 2000. Was this the decade where Irish boybands would dominate once more?

This was what kick started the noughties:

In 2000, Britney Spears was still a credible pop star (not the looney toon queen of comebacks that she is now), and knocked the Irish fivesome (yes, Brian was still there back then) with the incredibly cheesy 'Born to Make You Happy'.

The next few weeks were a bit hectic as number ones were replaced by new songs every week in February. 'Silence' by Delerium was followed by Oasis's 'Go Let It Out', 'Rise' by Gabrielle and then All Saints' wonderful 'Pure Shores' from the movie The Beach.

March and April, however, were dominated by one song. A 2fm DJ spent ten weeks at number one on the Irish Singles Chart with his remix of Michael Sembello's 'Maniac'. Now there's no way you won't be able to get Mark McCabe's 'Maniac 2000' out of your head for the rest of the day.

May and June were similar. Thankfully, Mark McCabe was long gone, but what replaced him was not a lot better. First up was 'Bad Touch' by the Bloodhound Gang. Yeah, you remember it, the one about "Doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel". Then it was the turn of Samantha Mumba to dominate the airwaves with 'Gotta Tell You' from the album of the same name announcing her arrival on the scene. The song also hit #2 in the UK and #4 in the US. See, not only SuBo can break America!

Boyzone's Ronan Keating's solo career was really kicking off, and 'Life is a Rollercoaster' was at number one for a single week before being knocked off by Irish flavour of the month Eminem. Everyone I knew had his albums and loved his gritty persona. Not me, I always thought he was a dolt. He was on top for two weeks with 'The Real Slim Shady'. It was knocked off by another former boyband member, Robbie Williams with the fantastic 'Rock DJ'.

That was number one for four weeks before being replaced by Sophie Ellis Bextor's vocals on Spiller's 'Groovejet'. That was there for two weeks before Modjo's 'Lady (Hear Me Tonight)' knocked it off. Those two songs sound almost identical though. It was then time for Westlife to return with the lead single from their second album Coast to Coast, a duet with Mariah Carey on Phil Collins' 'Against All Odds'. That was number one for three weeks.

Another Irish institution was re-established in October 2000, as U2 released 'Beautiful Day' from their excellent All That You Can't Leave Behind. This stuck around for three weeks, before Westlife returned with 'My Love', itself a three weeker.

The Christmas number one was not to be a boyband hit. Well, not in Ireland anyway. LeeAn Rimes' 'Can't Fight the Moonlight' knocked them off in late November, and then Eminem's 'Stan' took up residence for December. It was the song that really introduced the world to Dido, and is probably the only Eminem song still worth listening to. The last four weeks of 2000 belonged to Marshall Bruce Mathers III and Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong. What names!


Those two remained at number one for the first two weeks of the new year before being kicked off by Rui da Silva featuring Cassandra with 'Touch Me'. Remember it? Me either. I wonder who bought it?

That was number one for two weeks, then a hazy period which had U2's 'Stuck in a Moment', Limp Bizkit's 'Rollin', Atomic Kitten's 'Whole Again', Samantha Mumba's 'Always Come Back To Your Love', and Shaggy's 'It Wasn't Me' all just staying around for a week at a time. Westlife settled things down again with Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl' staying around for six weeks.

'Survivor' was Beyonce's first Irish number one with her group Destiny's Child. Yes, at this stage you'd kind of forget that she once was in a band at all. It was there for a week, as was S Club 7's 'Don't Stop Movin', before Geri Halliwell decided to own the entire month of May with 'It's Raining Men'. Shaggy was once again number one in June, 'Angel' held on for four weeks before being replaced by 'Lady Marmalade' sung by the ensemble crew of Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya and Missy Elliott.

U2's 'Elevation' was number one for a solitary week, before the worst song of the decade was on top for six horrible weeks. That was DJ Otzi's massacre of 'Hey Baby'. It's so bad, I'm not going to put up a video of it. One week was enough time for Eve and Gwen Stefani's 'Let Me Blow Ya Mind' and Uncle Kracker's 'Follow Me'. In the case of the second one, more than enough time. Then we had the dominance of Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' and Afroman's 'Beacuse I Got High'. Four and three weeks at the top, respectively.

Westlife's third album World Of Our Own ushered in more number ones, with 'Queen of My Heart' taking the top spot for a fortnight. They were replaced by Ireland's favourite turkey taking on 'Sweet Caroline'. No, not Ronan Keating, Dustin! Then December was Kate Winslet's month, as she sold bucketloads of copies of 'What If' in the run up to Christmas. It was the centrepiece of that year's film version of A Christmas Carol.


Another three weeks in January Kate stayed around for, making her one of the best selling artists of the decade on our fair isle. Pink got 'The Party Started' for a whole week, and Enrique Iglesias's 'Hero' held on for two. Irish relaity TV popstars then chimed in with the nation's best selling single ever. 'There's a Whole Loy of Loving Going On'. Remember these verses?

Shakira's small but humble breasts stuck up for a week on 'Wherever, Whenever' or 'Whenever, Wherever' or whatever. Then Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates killed our eardrums with his take on 'Unchained Melody'. That was on top for three weeks before the song of the summer became 'How You Remind Me' by Nickelback.

2002 was one of those rare occasions where we had a World Cup to look forward to. Saipan anyone? For one week only, 'Here Come the Good Times' was number one. A horrendous tune, like all soccer songs. Apart from 'Put 'Em Under Pressure'! Eminem just wouldn't go away, and in 02 returned with 'Without Me' from The Eminem Show. That was number one for three weeks. As was Elvis Vs JXL's 'A Little Less Conversation' from this phenomenal advert:

No matter what you may think, Six were not one hit wonders, and were number one for two more weeks with 'Let Me Be the One'. Scooter's 'Logical Song' was there for a week, before Shakira came back with the question many men have been asking 'Underneath Your Clothes'. That was number one for three weeks before Mad'house squeaked in with 'Like a Prayer' for one week. I don't remember it either.

Kerry Katona and Atomic Kitten were number one for four weeks with 'The Tide is High' before Avril Lavigne launched herself with 'Complicated' (a two-weeker). Strangely, a europop song 'Asereje' was number one for a week, before coming back a month later to do the same again, except for two more weeks. You may remember it better as 'The Ketchup Song' by Las Ketchup. In between its summits were Nelly's 'Dilemma' (3 weeks) and Westlife's 'Unbreakable' (1).

Christina Aguilera's 'Dirrty' only stayed for a week at the end of December before Irish idiots went out and bought yet another Eminem single, making 'Lose Yourself' from the film 8 Mile number one for December and Christmas. Oh and he's not a good actor. He was playing himself for God's sake!


It was number one for just the first week of 2003 too, before the Popstars: The Rivals girlband Girls Aloud (featuring the liar from the Irish version, no less) dominated with their splendid 'Sound of the Underground'. More great girl pop was on top in February as faux-lesbian teens Tatu spent all of February at number one with 'All the Things She Said'.

March was Christina Aguilera' month with 'Beautiful' also spending four weeks on top. Westlife's 'Tonight' dethroned her, before another reality TV popstar took over. Simon Casey's 'A Better Plan' was number one for three weeks. Not bad at all son.

50 Cent's 'In Da Club' was number one for a week, before Simon Casey's rival on You're a Star and eventual Eurovision entrant Mickey Joe Harte's 'We've Got the World Tonight' made residence for five long weeks.

R. Kelly's 'Ignition' was the song of June before being replaced by a proper song: Ronan Tynan and Rita Connolly's 'May We Never Have to Say Goodbye', the theme from the 2003 Special Olympics, which was held in Ireland. What a marvellous occasion that was. For everyone. Beyonce and her (now) hubby Jay-Z spent four weeks atop the chart with her solo 'Crazy in Love', and launched her as a megastar.

XTM (I wouldn't have remembered their name) were number one for two weeks with their remix of Eurovision winner 'Fly on the Wings of Love' (us Irish do love the Eurovision), before being replaced by former pornstar Blu Cantrell's 'Breathe' (also 2 weeks). The next nine weeks all belonged to the Black Eyed Peas, and their breakout tune 'Where is the Love?'.

Fatman Scoop's 'Be Faithful' was a travesty to music, and luckily only lasted a week. Then Britney teamed up with Madonna on the so-so 'Me Against the Music', also for one week. Westlife's 'Mandy' (yet another cover) was number one for three weeks, then the Black Eyed Peas returned for one with 'Shut Up'. The year ended with Pop Idol winner Will Young at number one for Christmas with the absolutely gorgeous 'Leave Right Now'.


'Leave Right Now' also spent the first four weeks of 04 at number one, before Kelis dominated for five with the awful 'Milkshake'. Next up was Britney Spears' 'Toxic' for four weeks, meaning that in the first three months of 2004, there was only three different number ones.

Usher's 'Yeah!' was everywhere in the clubs in 04, and was on top of the charts for two weeks too. As was the horrible Eamon with 'Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)', he also popped up for an additional week after You're A Star winner Chris Doran had held on for two with 'If My World Stopped Turning'.

The rest of May, June and July only had three number ones as well. July's month was Mike Skinner and The Streets with chavtastic 'Dry Your Eyes', Britney once again owned June with 'Everytime', but May's was purely down to Tim O'Riordan and Natural Gas with 'The Langer'.

O-Zone's nonsense song 'Dragostea Din Tea' was around for a brief week, but was in our heads all summer. Then Natasha (brother of Daniel) Bedingfield spent three weeks at number one with the beautiful 'These Words'. Next up was Westlife dropout Brian McFadden with 'Real to Me' for four weeks, and Steve Winwood sampling Eric Prydz for four as well with 'Call on Me'.

Britney was once again our number one with 'My Prerogative', then U2's 'Vertigo' from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - both one week. Destiny's Child had a last hurrah before Beyonce totally went solo with 'Lose My Breath' before the 20th anniversary of 'Do They Know It's Christmas' put Band Aid at number one for five weeks. Remember the Dizzee Rascal furore?


Linkin Park teamed up with Jay-Z to reignite their career (and resell songs that they had already sold to their few adoring fans), and 'Numb/Encore' topped the charts for four weeks. Next up was long-gone pop band Zoo with their cover of 'Poison'. 'Almost Here' signalled the end of Kerry Katona's marriage as Brian McFadden teamed up with former Neighbours star Delta Goodrem, and were number one for a week.

Jennifer Lopez (or JLo to her...uhm...friends?) annoyed us for a week with a repeating sax on 'Get Right', before hip-hop star Nelly teamed up with country music's Tim McGraw for the strangely addictive 'Over and Over'. McFly's charity single 'All About You' was number one for a fortnight, before being knocked off by another charity tune: 'Amarillo' by Tony Christie and the unfunniest man in the world Peter Kay. That song was number one for five weeks. Worse was to come with Akon's eunuchlike 'Lonely' for the month of May, and then ringtone 'Axel F' by Crazy Frog for another four weeks in June.

2Pac returned from the dead for four weeks with 'Ghetto Gospel' (Elton John was on board too). Boring pop was the order of the day in July and August when James Blunt and Daniel Powter were on top with 'You're Beautiful' and 'Bad Day' resepectively. (4 weeks each) The Pussycat Dolls had three weeks in the sun with their debut 'Don't Cha' before the Sugababes had a hat-trick themselves with 'Push the Button'.

Westlife dominated once again with 'You Raise Me Up' topping the charts for six weeks. They couldn't hold on for Christmas though, with Black Eyed Peas' 'My Humps', Nizlopi's 'JCB Song' and Mario Rosenstock's 'Leave Right Now' all topping the charts in December. Mario was the eventual Christmas number one. Barely.


Had even less number ones than 2004. The first three months had only two. One was the X Factor winner Shayne Ward. He was number one for seven weeks with 'That's My Goal'. The other, for six weeks, was comedian and actor Pat Shortt with his 'Jumbo Breakfast Roll'.

Gnarls Barkley were number one for a week with 'Crazy', then Shayne Ward's 'No Promises' for a week, before Gnarls returned to the top to spend seven more weeks there. Sandi Thom's horrible 'I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker' thankfully was a one week wonder too. Shakira and Wycleff John had much more staying power and were at the top of the chart for nine whole weeks with 'Hips Don't Lie'.

Cascada were new on the scene (and are still on it now) with 'Everytime We Touch' filling dancefloors in Ireland and staying number one for two weeks, before Justin Timberlake did the same with the incredibly catchy 'SexyBack'. He was number one for four weeks before Cascada returned for four more weeks themselves.

Beyonce was 'Irreplacable' for only two weeks until U2 and Green Day replaced her with the shocking 'The Saints are Coming' and then Westlife with 'The Rose' (both for one week). Akon's 'Smack That' featuring Eminem was number one for four weeks before X Factor winner Leona Lewis chimed in for Christmas with 'A Moment Like This'.


Leona stuck around for another four weeks in 2007 (six in all), before being knocked off by one of BBC's Sounds of 2007, the overly camp Mika and his great 'Grace Kelly'. He was number one for seven weeks.

Another song I don't remember is 21 Demands' 'Give Me a Minute' which was number one on downloads alone. And they didn't even have a record contract. Sounds to me like they got all their mates to download it! The Fray cashed in on their Scrubs success with a week at the top for 'How to Save a Life'. Avril Lavigne was number one with 'Girlfriend' for a fortnight before my brother's favourite video was on top for a week. Shakira and Beyonce's 'Beautiful Liar'.

Brian McFadden's turgid 'Like Only a Woman Can' was number one for a week, then 'Beautiful Liar' again, and then Avril Lavigne again. How does this kind of thing happen? Akon's less screechy 'Don't Matter' (more like 'Barely Remember') was another one week thing, which didn't prepare us at all for Rihanna's eight week stint with 'Umbrella'.

Black Eyed Peas' main lady Fergie had one week at the top with 'Big Girls Don't Cry' before uber-producer Timbaland hooked up with Keri Hilson for five weeks of grammatical nightmare 'The Way I Are'. Sean Kingston's horrid 'Beautiful Girls' and Shayne Ward's 'If That's OK With You' were at the top for four weeks each. Shayne actually started the domination of the X Factor winners, as he was followed by Leona Lewis's 'Bleeding Love' for 8 weeks and then Leon Jackson's 'When You Believe' for two.


Leon was number one for the first week of 08, but was knocked off his perch by yet another Britney comeback. This time it was 'Piece of Me' for two weeks. Basshunter spent five weeks on top with 'Now That You're Gone' before another BBC pick, the sound of 08, Duffy chimed in with 'Mercy'. It was also back at number one for a week at the end of March. In between was the touching tribute 'The Ballad of Ronnie Drew'.

'Low' by Flo-Rida and T'Pain spent a week at the top, as did 'The Munster Song' by Glen Keating and Greg Ryan, which celebrated their Heinken Cup victory. Five weeks of April and May were taken up by Mundy and Sharon Shannon with their 'Galway Girl'. Please note: the original Steve Earle version is a million times better than this load of waffle.

Madonna and Justin Timberlake had only '4 Minutes' to save the world and only seven days at the top, as they were quickly replaced by Rihanna's 'Take a Bow' (for four weeks), and then Chris Brown's 'Forever'. Homegrown hero Leanne Moore was another You're a Star winner (the last I think) and was on top for a week with 'On Wings', before Brown went back for a week himself.

Basshunter were again number one with 'All I Ever Wanted' for a fortnight. Then Kid Rock singlehandedly murdered two classics (one more classic than the other - 'Werewolves of London' is so fantastic) with his 'All Summer Long' thankfully not living up to its promise and only sticking around for four weeks. Then saw the launch of Katy Perry and her fantastic 'I Kissed a Girl'. It was a four week hero also.

There was some rock to be found in 08 as Kings of Leon's 'Sex on Fire' topped the charts for two weeks. Pink's 'So What' was number one for three weeks, with the Saw Doctors' cover of the Sugababes 'About You Now' sneaking in midway through. Then, once again, it was X Factor time. First came the twelve 2008 finalists with their cover of Mariah Carey's 'Hero' for three weeks, then Leona's cover of Snow Patrol's 'Run' for four, and Alexandra Burke's massacre of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'.


Like a bad smell, Alexandra hung around for another two weeks in 2009. She was still there even after the last of the turkey sandwiches had been polished off. 2009's breakout star Lady Gaga replaced her on top with 'Just Dance', but I wish she never entered the charts either with her stupid music and even stupider (more stupid) persona. Five weeks we had to put up with that before U2's return with the stagnant 'Get on Your Boots' was number one for a single week.

She was back at it with 'Poker Face' at the end of February (two weeks) and again at the end of April (same song for another week). In between we had Julieanne Dineen with 'Do You Believe' (1 week), Flo Rida's Pete Burns love-in 'Right Round' (3 weeks), AR Rahman/The Pussycat Dolls 'Jai Ho' (2 weeks), and Eminem's 'We Made You' for 1 week. There's just no getting rid of Eminem unfortunately.

Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz were 'Number 1' for five weeks (couldn't resist, it was too easy) with the first ever song called number one to chart at number one in either the Uk or Ireland! Aussie sisters The Veronicas were around for a week with 'Untouched', as was David Guetta's 'When Love Takes Over' and Industry's 'My Baby's Waiting', before David Guetta and Kelly Rowland returned to the top for another solitary week.

Six weeks were taken up by Black Eyed Peas' 'I Got a Feeling' from their album The E.N.D., before locals Industry went to number one again with 'Burn'. Amazingly, the Peas came back for another six weeks with the same song, before it became X Factor time once again. Last night's winner Alexandra Burke's 'Bad Boys' spent a week at number one, then judge (and Girls Aloud member) Cheryl Cole launched her solo career with 'Fight For This Love' for four weeks. Currently, this year's finalists are number one with a cover of the late Michael Jackson's 'You are Not Alone', and no doubt Leona and the eventual winner will be #1 from here til year end.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Setlist: Bell x1, Olympia Theatre, 28 November 2009

Setlist from the second of Bell x1's November Dublin dates. Provided by whatswiththeangel on the Bellyboard (the band's official forum). From the look of it, I think I went to the right gig. Friday's setlist looks so much better (and longer) than Saturday's!

Ribs of a Broken Umbrella
My First Born for a Song
Next to you
Bad skin day
How your Heart is Wired
The Great Defector
Man on Mir
Eve, the Apple of My Eye

Oh, and 'Snakes & Snakes' was on there somewhere too!

Watch: Bell x1 - Mister Benn at the Olympia Theatre

Watch 'Just Like Mister Benn' from the first of Bell x1's Olympia Theatre dates. I recorded this myself. Also, check out my review of the gig here.