One Way or Another

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I was in Cork city earlier this month with my two nephews when the shop window you see above and below took my eye. Both windows of the Irish Cancer Society’s facade were full of record covers and a very interesting collection it was too. Unfortunately, a sign amongst the records carried the bad news that the merchandise wouldn’t go on sale for another two weeks. I then realised that I wouldn’t be too far from Cork city that day as I’d be staying at my sister’s place following Bruce Springsteen’s gig at Páirc Úi Chaoimh the night before. So, I took a couple of photos of the windows and resolved to return on the morning of the 19th

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Rebel Rouser

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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s triumphant return to Ireland for their debut Limerick gig last Tuesday was followed two days later by the band’s first ever gig in Cork city. As I made my way down on the bus from Limerick, I thought about the last gig played at what was going to be Thursday night’s venue. Páirc Úi Chaoimh is the home of the GAA in Cork and also the home of the Cork hurling team that had been defeated by Limerick the previous Sunday. I had been there a lot throughout the ’90s, following the fortunes of a pretty decent Limerick hurling team and had actually been in attendence in July when Limerick won the 1996 Munster championship by beating Tipperary in a replay. I never thought it would be another 17 years before Limerick would win their next Munster title and, when I saw Oasis play there a month later, I never imagined that it would just as long before another concert would take place at Pairc Úi Chaoimh

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Too Much Apple Pie

On Saturday, my friend John and I braved the freezing weather conditions to go see The Wedding Present play Cyprus Avenue in Cork. The roads were dry on the way down and we arrived in plenty of time to buy a few books at Vibes & Scribes. Later, I bought a woolly hat to keep the cold out, though I was outdone by John who bought two. After some nice hot food and a cold beverage at the Bully restaurant we made it to Cyprus Avenue in plenty of time. It’s a small venue that’s divided into a main room and an adjacent one at the back that carries a live feed from the stage that can be viewed on a number of screens. We were surprised to see David Gedge standing at the merchandising stall with who I presumed was his partner and manager. While John bought a live CD of the band, I chatted with Dave about the gig. He told me they’d start with a few songs and then play their Bizarro album in full. John asked if they’d be playing the Camden Deluxe version of the album as it features their frenetic take on It’s Not Unusual. Dave said he wouldn’t be playing the deluxe version and politely turned down John’s request to play the Tom Jones number. We managed to drag ourselves away from Dave to watch the support act on the screen as they played in the next room, though we were also able to hear the band’s rudimentary musical skills and similar sounding songs. The band had the rather unusual moniker of So Cow and their musical style was a poor attempt at mimicking such bands as Green Day, Weezer and the like, but without the musicianship or the songs. Their punky version of Del Shannon’s Runaway was the highlight for me and I wouldn’t have minded if they had played more covers at the expense of their own material

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Welcome To The House Of Fun!

Last Friday, I attended my third gig in nine days when I went to see Madness play The Marquee in Cork. Regular readers shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that my friend John also attended and he was kind enough to drive up and down from Limerick. Of course, I repaid his kindness by playing music from my iPod on the way down and back, with a fair bit of ska and reggae numbers soundtracking our return from what was yet another great gig. John’s a bigger fan of the band than I am but, like me, this was his first time seeing The Nutty Boys in concert. The band formed in the latter half of the 70s and released their first singles in 1979. They had their biggest success in the 80s and many of these wonderful singles formed the basis of their show in Cork. They began the show with their first top ten UK hit, One Step Beyond, and went on to deliver familiar versions of Embarrassment, Our House and House of Fun as well as some songs from their most recent album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate. My own particular favourite on the night, however, was their version of My Girl, which Suggs introduced by singing a slowed down version of the first verse before the whole band and the crowd launched into the song

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Just Like the Rain

Last night I saw Richard Hawley play the Pavilion in Cork city. After many weeks of dry and sunny weather, the rain-soaked Cork streets resembled the noirish atmosphere of one of the Sheffield singer-songwriter’s songs. It was a different scene altogether inside the venue. The gig was sold-out and the old-fashioned theatre with its high ceiling was roasting throughout the show. All around the venue, the walls were covered with copies of the above sign. A feature of many of the gigs I’ve attended over the years is that a section of the audience don’t actually go to listen to the music, even though they’ve most likely paid full price for their tickets. It was good to see the management of the venue taking some action to ensure a little less conversation from the audience and it certainly helped the opening act to get his songs heard. James Eliot Taylor kicked things off just after eight and took to the stage dressed like a professor of literature. This image wasn’t completely inappropriate as Mr Taylor’s short set of a half dozen songs was full of witty and evocative lyrics and his songs weren’t short on melody, either

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Sheffield Steel

Last night I received a text message from a local musician inviting me to his gig in Limerick tonight. I had to text him back to say I wouldn’t be able to make it as I’m off to Cork to see Richard Hawley play the Pavilion. “Richard who?” was his response, so I sent him back this message:

He’s a Mercury Prize nominated singer-songwriter from the Steel City in England. He’s released six acclaimed albums over the last decade and he’s also an excellent guitarist

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Now & Then, There’s A Fool Such As I

Image from I Have Grave News

I often like to watch TV3 News for the laugh. While watching it tonight, I nearly fell off my chair. At first I thought it might be an April Fools joke, but it’s still only March 31st. Apparently, this dude is the spokesperson for taxi drivers in Cork. It turns out that they’re refusing to allow non-nationals join their union. You can check out a clip here [UPDATE: Unfortunately, TV3 has removed the clip]. Mr Coughlan agreed that this was the case and it was because their constitution only allows drivers from Cork to join! This guy’s views on integration are obviously as outdated as his hairstyle. This one’s for you, dude

A Fool Such As I – Elvis Presley