The Old & The Young

Last Wednesday, the six members of Midlake from Texas took to the stage of Dolan’s Warehouse and delivered an impressive 90-minute set. I wasn’t that familiar with their music beforehand, but I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s musicianship, vocal harmonies and their songs. They formed in 1999 and released albums in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Antiphon is the title of their fourth album and it will be released later this year

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Such a Night

I’m not usually a fan of tribute bands, but I saw one last weekend that proved to be the exception to the rule. It took place at Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick, though it would be more correct to call it a tribute to one of the greatest musical events in rock & roll. The show being celebrated was the 1976 farewell performance by The Band that took place at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco during Thanksgiving Day. This spectacular concert not only featured The Band along with an impressive horn section, but also some of the biggest names in music at the time. Thankfully, the show was filmed by Martin Scorsese and given a cinema release two years later as The Last Waltz. I first bought a copy on video cassette over twenty years ago and upgraded to DVD a few years ago. I’ve watched it dozens of times over the years and it always cheers me up no end when I put it on. It was no different at Dolan’s last Saturday night

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Mixing Pop & Politics

“It’s surprising how quick a little rain can clear the streets,” sang Billy Bragg on a wonderful rendition of The Saturday Boy at Dolan’s last night. The Limerick streets are used to rain, of course, and if they were empty on a Monday night it was because everyone was at the Warehouse to welcome the Bard of Barking to town for the first time. It’s hard enough to get people to come out any night to see a solo singer backing himself on guitar, but it was a testament to his standing that he attracted a full crowd on a cold and wet Monday night in October. I got to Dolan’s early and filled my stomach with some tasty Guinness stew and later washed it down with pints of porter in the Warehouse as I joined some friends to check out the opening act. Paddy Nash hails from Derry and he did a fine job warming up the crowd. He was quite comfortable with the audience and explained that he had walked out on his job in the film industry when they wouldn’t give him the week off to follow Billy around the country. A song called Billy Bragg Jeans was inspired by a story Paddy heard about Billy buying a pair of jeans for a few quid in a charity store. He also gave us a song called Rubber Bullets that was sung from the perspective of a child growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. His best song, and the one the audience enjoyed the most, was called Ballad of a Nobody. This was a witty song that told the story of an average man with an average life and had everybody in stitches as its key line was repeated each time

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Winding Up at Dolan’s Again

The appropriately-named Freezer Sessions took place at Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick on Thursday night. The event was put together in association with Hot Press magazine and Jaegermeister and featured four live acts: The Flaws from Co Monaghan, O Emperor from Waterford, and local bands The Last Days of Death Country and windings. It’s Never Late is the title of winding’s most recent album and you can find more information about it here. As an early Christmas present, the band’s label, Out on a Limb Records, has made their self-titled debut album available as a free download until the end of December. Cathedrals is my favourite song from the album and you can check it out below

Cathedrals – windings

There Once Was a Poet From Salford …

Last night, I was one of dozens of appreciative Limerick giggers and liquor-lovers who congregated upstairs at Dolan’s to witness the Salford performance poet John Cooper Clarke as he wowed the audience with his wonderful words and tickled our funny bones with his tantalising tales and volumes of verse. Shortly after 10.00pm, the tall, thin Mancunian appeared at the back door carrying a white carrier bag provided by Word Magazine and ambled towards the sparsely-populated stage. Born in Salford in 1949, Clarke was one of numerous artists who benefitted from the advent of punk rock in the late seventies. He was part of the Manchester scene that spawned the likes of Buzzcocks and Joy Division and opened for many associated acts at this time. In 1978, he released his debut record, Où est la maison de fromage?, an album that contained both studio recordings and live performances. His distinctive style comprised of scattergun lyrics delivered in a fast-paced rap and backed with rudimentary instruments. His wry observations on local life and popular culture were full of alliteration and heavy on rhyme and owed a great debt to similar techniques employed by Bob Dylan on his Subterranean Homesick Blues single. Clarke’s visual style was, and remains, reminiscent of Dylan’s look during the mid-sixties

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More Support For Bob

On Friday, I put on one of my newly-acquired cheque shirts and popped down to a packed Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick to watch a few local bands fight it out for the chance to open for Bob Dylan at Thomond Park in just over a week. I’d been watching a tense World Cup game between Spain and Chile, so I missed Animal Beats and Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra. I did arrive in time to see a lively set from Last Days of Death Country, a loud, grungy four piece with indecipherable lyrics and a lot of energy. There were followed by the more melodic and musically adept Brendan Markham and Band, who delivered quite an impressive set. I missed the final act, Windings, as I got stuck upstairs chatting about the England and Germany match in the World Cup and this and that. Last Days of Death Country emerged as the winners and hopefully I’ll arrive on time on the fourth of July to see them open for Bob. Congratulations to the Last Days of Death Country and here’s a Dylan cover from the Dirty Projectors for the four acts that missed out last night

Dark Eyes (Bob Dylan Cover) – Dirty Projectors

A Plug For Joe

Chicago singer-songwriter Joe Pug plays Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick this Sunday as support to his fellow countryman, Josh Ritter. He’s been writing songs and touring for three years now and has also played support to Steve Earle and M. Ward. Pug (an abbreviation of his actual name, Pugliese) had been studying playwriting at the University of Carolina when he decided to drop out at the beginning of his final year to pursue a musical career. While working as a carpenter, Joe used ideas from a play he had been working on to form the basis of the songs on his first EP, Nation of Heat. Since then, he has recorded another EP, In the Meantime, and his debut album, Messenger. With his literary background, it’s not surprising that the structure and lyrics of his songs are quite impressive. He also has a strong and distinctive voice and should certainly warm up the crowd for Josh Ritter at Dolan’s

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