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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True Confessions

Good Vibrations

Sometime in the middle of the 1990s, I spent a week of my holidays visiting the major cities on the island of Ireland. Specifically, I was going to these places to check out their record stores and bookshops. I was based in Limerick, so I made a few day trips by bus to Cork, Galway and Waterford. I also went to Dublin and stayed there with a friend in order to make my first visit to Belfast. This would have been a few years before the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and I remember a lot of my friends being a bit concerned about me going to Northern Ireland. I wasn’t too worried and was looking forward to visiting the record shops and bookstores I had somehow found out about

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Peas in a Pod

My brother is five years younger than me and likes vodka, gardening, and red bull, though not necessarily in that order. He lives in the countryside, so I visited him yesterday to see how he and his garden were getting along. As you can see from the pictures, things are blooming great. He’s been tending the garden for a few summers now and has been particularly busy this year. The main garden is in front of the house and you can actually see forty shades of green there. It’s got cabbage, courgettes, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, lettuce and gherkins and one or two other vegetables as well

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Bruges Part One: Culture & Fun

I’m just back from a weekend of culture and fun in Bruges. Perhaps some of you reading this don’t know where Bruges is. Well, it’s in Belgium. It’s a small little town that’s just over an hour’s train ride from Brussels on the way to Ostend on the coast. Bruges is what the town is called by French speakers, but it’s in the Flemish region of Flanders, so it’s known as Brugge there. It’s been a popular tourist destination for a while, but it was the success of a film by Martin McDonagh that really put the place on the map for me. I remember going to see In Bruges at the cinema when it was released and I was immediately blown away by the tightness of the script, the sparkling dialogue, the quality of the acting and, perhaps most importantly, the use of Bruges as the location. Previously, I had been vaguely familiar with the name of the town thanks to its football team, but the film made me fall in love with its buildings and canals, its nooks and crannies, its beer and, well, its beer. I’ve since watched the film a few times and have even sampled some of its beer that comes in those effeminate glasses

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Bruges Part Two: Going Around in a Boat

This is the second part of my double post about my recent trip to Bruges. You can read the first part about culture and fun in the Belgian town by following this link. I’ve already written about some of the sights to see on the streets of Bruges and it seems that every single street and footpath is made from cobblestone. There are few cars on the streets, though the occasional taxi or police car passes through now and then. There are a lot of bicycles and the cyclists tend to travel at faster speeds than the cars. Horse drawn carriages are another way of seeing the town, but we decided that going around in a boat while looking at stuff would be a far relaxing way to see Bruges. And it was. It was perfect weather to go cruising and there are many places where you can hop on a boat. There was a bit of a queue when we got there, but we didn’t have to wait too long to get on board. Each little craft fits about 30 people snugly and we took our place on the stern bench where we soon got talking to a couple of friendly Belgians

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Man at the Top

Long Time Comin'

And so Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band‘s Wrecking Ball Tour made its way around Europe and finished up with two nights in Kilkenny. I’d only planned to go to the two Munster gigs when the Irish dates had been announced last winter, but that plan went out the window following the first show in Limerick. I went online the next day and easily secured a pitch ticket for the second and final concert at Nowlan Park on July 28th. These two dates were going to be a bit of a celebration as half a dozen other acts would join Bruce and the band over the two days in what was being billed as the Wrecking Ball Weekender. My sister and her husband had already bought tickets for the Saturday and they both had yet another unforgettable night on what was their third gig of tour. Josh Ritter, Damien Dempsey and Glen Hansard had warmed up the crowd that night and Glen also returned to share the stage with Bruce during an impressive duet on Drive All Night. They also got the whole of the Born in the USA album and some nice weather, so it sounded like Sunday would be a tough act to follow

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One Way or Another

2013-07-02 15.26.30

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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