Browsing articles in "Music"
Jun 22, 2012

The Grand Social – Vintage Tea Dance!

Last Tuesday night, I found myself footloose and fancy free. Sure aren’t I always, you ask? Anyway I was stuck betwixt footie and beer, England v Ukraine, and a lovely Vintage Tea Dance. A girl and her whims… As it happens I rocked up to The Grand Social just in time for Rooney’s wicked header, so Euro 2012 fix sorted, I wafted upstairs where the main action was. Oooh, what a treat I was in for!

The beer garden / terrace had been transformed into a mini market, with second hand clothes, accessories and a pop up beauty parlour. And a barbie on the go – burger and beer only five euro! I had a giggle with a pretty young thing having a bouffant make over from Hair Through the Ages – suits you Sir! Then to Kate Betts Hats, where the lovely Kate offered a box of her creations for me to try on.

Inside, the vaulted room had been transformed into an Alice in Wonderland delight with circus bunting and candy stripes enveloping a floor of round tables and a bright satin draped stage. Tea and homemade cakes were on hand, each confection numbered and ready to be judged as well as enjoyed, like little butter icing jewels. It really was charming as dressed up boys and girls waltzed away with abandon.

The Dolly Mixture Cabaret turned up the entertainment with a brilliantly silly stage show. Our foxy maestro Kat, fabulous in fishnets and tails, introduced us to The Protectors, a quirky drama act whose childlike simplicity was a tonic to the big bad world outside. Next up was marvelous storyteller, Paul Timoney, who had us enthralled with a highly energetic rendition his urban tale of “Mr Faraway Fox”.

I munched on a pink sprinkles cupcake as Paul read us some of his original poems, and showed us his drawings. Very talented guy! It was time for a bit more singing and dancing as a band of beautiful flappers took the stage for a rousing performance, followed by the honey voiced pirate Bepo. He serenaded us on guitar with his unique songs, while the best dressed lady and gentleman were chosen.

My cheeks were a-glow by the end of the night with fun of it all – an interactive finale story by Paul Timoney brought the house down. The Grand Social is an excellent venue for showcasing such events, with folk seeking out an alternative pub experience nowadays. Rumours reach me that the Ha’penny Flea Market is no more, but in a city crackling with creativity something will surely rise from it’s ashes.

The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 / www.the

Jun 19, 2012

Oscar Verne’s Masque – Ferocious Mingle Market

Hopping from one party to another last Saturday night I must say I was mighty impressed with little ol’ me! Considering I’d been in bed all day battling Friday night’s gin ‘n’ juice, I had plenty of ammunition for Oscar Verne’s Masque at the Ferocious Mingle Market. I pulled a mask down over my cheeky chops and made my way to Thomas Street for a late night speakeasy – this girl was back in the game!

Shimmying under the shutter – this was an invite only do – me and my Cuz knew we were in for some serious fun. The Ferocious Mingle Market does what it says on the tin in daylight hours, selling fab vintage threads, exquisite hand crafts and home baked goodies. Being a stone’s throw from NCAD the place simply buzzes with creativity. We entered the twilight zone that it transformed into after dark.

I found one of my friends among a sea of masked creatures and he brought us into the belly of the beast where the gang were sipping BYOB. We picked up drinkies at the bar and joined in. My thirst wasn’t up to much but in a place like this, a lady doesn’t have to be a lush to have a good time! There were boys dressed as girls, dames spilling out of corsets and pretty faces half hiden with tinsel and glitter.

Part of the charm was wandering around the market chalets, which were like glamour camps containing their own mini gatherings. I swapped style tips with a lovely stall owner who produced a darling handbag that fell in love with me at first sight. Sigh… Meanwhile the stage came alive, with a hot mama singer belting out 80s pop and disco faves in her deliciously wild voice, howling, whistling and all.

Next we shook our tail feathers to alt rock gods Saint John the Gambler, who brought their own brand of class to the party. The dance floor was filled with exotic beautiful people sweating out an amazing Saturday night. We were busting some crazy moves and it was a well earned wind down when a gorgeous young thing floated on stage to serenade us to sweet oblivion. He was just divine…

A finale of Adele’s “Someone Like You” brought a tear to the eye and a promise from my pals to see this guy again. Oscar Verne’s Masque was still in full swing, with groups tucked into corners and cool kids lounging in the theatre seats. We took on the dance floor ’til the death with a killer Bollywood soundtrack and by the time I hit the streets I gotta say I’d got my groove back! Oh what a night! / Ferocious Mingle Market, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

May 22, 2012

Rose Lawless – La Belle Chanteuse

When I heard that Rose Lawless, the original rich girl gone wrong, was performing at the Centre For Creative Practices I signed up straight away. I last saw the beautiful and the damned good-time girl at the Matchbox Theatre, this time last year, in her fabulous Cabaret Revolution show. Rose has been busy writing (and getting engaged!) so her return to stage was not to be missed.

The Centre For Creative Practices on Pembroke Street proved an intimate venue for her showcase, with comfy beanbags dotted around the room. BYOB was ideal, the place has a handy kitchen with glasses and bottle openers on hand, and I shared a nice vino with my friends. A clever dash en route to Mao on Baggot Street for a tasty curry ensured plenty of soakage for the night.

I had the chance to catch up with Rose beforehand and she was charming as ever, telling me of her delight at finding the perfect vintage wedding dress. And of her latest antics, which she puts so well into song! With that naughty glint in her eye, Rose warmed up the audience with saucy one liners and cheeky asides, singling out some lucky chaps for her special attention!

Serenading us with “Feather Boa” Rose kicked off the show in style, with Julie Cruickshank on keyboard putting melody to her every move. We were treated to a rousing version of “Man with a Moustache”, one of which there was of course for Rose to playfully tease. The show is unique as only Rose can swing from a flirty and filthy ballad to a heartfelt love song, taking us on the crest of her mood as she does.

Rose’s sense of humour is sharp as a knife with “Philosopher Man” and “The Dan Song” speaking to all of us ladies who’ve ever been in love. And of course we have! But brazen Rose Lawless can pontificate the pitfalls of her heart with such… brutal honesty! While still making it sound like great fun. “Dirty Rotten Love Song” encapsulates her ability to grant her lover a double edged tribute.

Enchanted as we were by her hilarious anecdotes, Rose had a surprise up her vintage silk sleeve. A rap song! “Up Da Pole” saw her dropping the trademark husky tone for an earthy Dublin-ese, as she assumed the role of an inner city Virgin Mary. Priceless… Our siren songstress saw us out on a delicate note, poetry and Cohen, befitting the cosy feel of the evening. Le cabaret c’est magnifique.

We drained our glasses and Rose blew a red lipstick kiss goodnight. But the buzz was still alive at CFCP with singer David Noone taking to the keyboard to play a preview of his Nick Cave set, which is happening this Thursday. Retiring to Matt the Thresher, a smart bar across the street, we had one for the road and inspired by the delectable Rose, a good old gab about wonderful terrible love. / / Centre For Creative Practices, 15 Pembroke Street Lwr, Dublin 2

Apr 28, 2012

The Riptide Movement Rock The Academy

When my mate was looking for bods to go see The Riptide Movement at The Academy last Saturday, she raved about how great this band is. I must admit that I’d heard of these lads but I didn’t know their stuff. A crafty gander on Youtube and I was impressed with the tunage. Sign me up! The gang met in The Oval on Middle Abbey Street for apres gig pints and chips for dinner.

The Academy is a smart venue, anyone who was a regular of Spirit back in the day will be familiar with the layout. Old folk that we are, we got comfy upstairs on the balcony, with a nice view of the moshpit. The Academy’s stage is quite big relative to the size of the place, a bonus for bands. This gaff inspires a dream sequence of my teenage nights in the Tivoli. When I used to be down the front…

It wasn’t long before The Riptide Movement were storming the stage. Their sound is billed as folk rock but I think it’s that with a good injection of testosterone. I’m channeling Led Zep as they tore through a stomping “Shake Shake”. There’s a retro feel to The Riptide Movement that’s unstudied and feeds the type of on stage adrenalin that makes great live music. A proper man’s band.

Lead singer, Mal Tuohy, took the spotlight with his rich gravelly vocals and electric blue guitar, owning the stage during “Alive Inside”. As far as rock star crushes go, this guy has got what it takes. In spades. A cross between George Best and Jim Morrison, Mal is a good old fashioned strappin’ fella. Quite a refreshing change from the usual metro Nancy boys. And talented to boot.

The front row were seriously wigging out and it’s obvious that this is the sort of band The Academy is made for. Wall to wall sound, the band filled the room. Clapping, chanting and singalongs, The Riptide Movement know how to work their audience. They’re a natural band that fans can believe in. Honest rock ‘n’ roll. And a comedy drummer too, who can play with kit on his head!

The band got rootsy with “Oh Row the Rattlin’ Bog” a real crowd pleaser, ensuing a fantastic jam by musicians who clearly know each other inside out. The Who came to mind as they slid into a slow number, all rusty vocals and soaring guitars. Next up was a brass section and female vocalist for “Without You” and then the didgeridoo in a zen-like “Roll On Train”.

The Riptide Movement are a band who truly understand music. Soulful yet raw, they go where the energy takes them. And us. One of those unforgettable Dublin nights. That’s entertainment as Paul Weller once said. Mal took us to the heights with his voice coming from deep inside for “Hot Tramp” as the whole building got high on JPR Dalton’s sweet anthem guitar.

We promised to buy their new album “Keep On Keepin’ On” as the lads bid us farewell. Certainly this hardworking band deserve success, not just because of the pure graft in staying up all night signing sleeves, playing a matinee gig and then tonight’s roof raiser. But because they have potential to be Ireland’s next big thing. Everything about them is authentically good.

The Riptide Movement saw us out with a rip roaring “Keep On Keepin’ On”. A class act. We stayed in The Academy, in need of a few more Paulaners after our toe tapping antics. Then the dance floor started up with Propaganda and The Postman on DJ duty. We liked what we heard and decided to ditch our pipe and slippers and get down with the kids. Proper old skool choons! / The Academy, 57 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1 /

Apr 4, 2012

Film Fatale – North By Northwest

There’s something about the Sugar Club that evokes old school glamour. Going back to it’s cinematic roots, it was the perfect venue to host Film Fatale’s “North By Northwest” screening on Saturday night. The event was a dress up affair, beginning with the Hitchcock classic, followed by a live set from Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, finishing with DJs the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers.

Channeling the Mad Men theme, I slipped into a slinky LBD, killer heels and topped off my retro look with a Kate Betts pill box hat. And a feather boa for some OTT glam – why not? The Sugar Club was packed with gorgeous guys and dolls all working different vibes, from Teddy Boy to Va Va Voom. Special house cocktails added extra sophistication to the occasion.

Spiced gin cocktail in hand, I asked a handsome usher if the popcorn was complimentary. As I paid for my snack he winked and said “Fabulous hat”. Ooh sir… North By Northwest is one of Hitch’s best loved films, a clever thriller featuring the suave Cary Grant and an ice cool Eva Marie Saint. The movie is widely regarded as a huge influence on subsequent spy romps.

Everything from the suspense and the innuendo to the fashion and the interiors are a joy to watch. Seamless Hitchcock. And it’s funny too, in that innocent way that a 1950’s production can be. However, the film was made on the cusp of the 1960’s and reflects changing times in the US. Even Cary Grant’s grey suit was revolutionary in it’s tailoring. Debonair indeed.

Apres movie we enjoyed the sounds of Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, four piece jazz ensemble who play contemporary as well as vintage tunes. They warmed up the dance floor for the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers, who kept the house a rockin’ and a rollin’ until 3am. I was very impressed by some of the jives my gang were pulling off. Those crazy cats.

Film Fatale organiser Fernanda told me that the night had been a great success. She thinks people just like the fun of it all, something a bit different to your average Saturday night. As we were celebrating a birthday, my mates were in the party mood and suggested a nightcap in Leggs. But, your Girl Friday was done. I flagged the nearest cab and got outta Dodge.

The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 /

Mar 20, 2012

Spring Break – St Patrick’s Day!

As a veteran Spring Break fan – since my power suits and vodka Tab heyday… I just couldn’t miss their Paddy’s Day spectacular in the Button Factory on Saturday night. Spring Break are one of those bands that does what it says on the tin. These maestros of 80’s Americana rock are second to none at entertaining the masses stadium style, all big hair and tight trousers.

Being the night that was in it my trusty driver dropped me at the mouth of Temple Bar, cruising Fleet Street was a no go. It was quite fun tackling the cobble stones with the mad throng of leprechauns, tarts and drunks. And that was just the tourists. Once inside the familiar belly of the Button Factory I ordered a cheeky G&T and flicked my shades, ready for some serious dance action.

Always ones to ramp up the camp Spring Break stormed the stage as a Scots bagpiper moved among the screaming crowd. Pure class. Every time feels like the first time! Lead singer Jan Van Couver cut a dashing figure in full Grand Marshall regalia. The man loves an audience that loves him back. The boys belted out Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” starting as they meant to go on.

It wasn’t long before the Button Factory was awash with sweat, hormones and dry ice, singing along to Toto’s “Africa”, Baywatch theme “I’ll Be Ready” and “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits. Spring Break’s sexy chanteuse Teri Campari treated us to a Whitney tribute with “How Will I Know”, all sharp vocals, killer heels and swaying hips. What a lady!

Under the neon lights of the night the band put every detail of their set to bed, with Van Couver working the harmonica for Hall & Oates “Maneater” and red hot guitarist Kendrick Berrera sweetly strumming “She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze, mane flowing in the breeze. As the body heat rose, fans were whipped into a frenzy by an epic version of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”.

Spring Break were simply doing what they do best – a bit of air shillelagh, plenty of “oh yeahs” and jumping in unison as the front row went wild. “Barman, more ice” I said as the band broke into Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”. My dancing shoes were on fire! Ready for the home leg of the gig, the crowd shook their furry mullets, sequins and leg warmers to the feelgood beats.

Grand finale time and Van Couver strutted his stuff in signature Top Gun white uniform. Spring Break were in the zone, laying on Paul Simon’s “Call Me Al”, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” by Foreigner and Dirty Dancing stomper “Time of My Life”. The building was shaking, with kids leaping like crazy to last tune “Waiting For a Star to Fall” by Boy Meets Girl.

What a show! Spring Break are a polished act, who not only get your feet moving but clearly enjoy themselves on stage. As seasoned musicians and one of the country’s most popular wedding bands, they go the extra mile for their art. Featuring on Today FM’s Ray Foley Show last week, Spring Break’s future is even brighter than their glamorous past.

Mar 10, 2012

Cars Love Girls – Skip School

Last night saw hot Dublin band Cars Love Girls launch their debut album “Skip School” at the Workman’s Club. I rocked along to the shabby chic music venue on Wellington Quay – blood red walls and rickety furnishings give this place a lived in look that just about works. Somehow I couldn’t picture the stylish Cars Love Girls on the ancient stage but it turns out they can add gloss to any room.

CLG kicked off with “These Girls” a sing along tune that brought me back to the Top Hat roller disco circa 1986. I wasn’t the only one basking in retro vibes, as the crowd swayed to the band’s easy mix of luxurious riffs and melodic vocals. With winning brother and sister combo Bres and Orla working in harmony with an accomplished band, the songs are high tempo floor fillers that play so well live.

I wasn’t surprised to hear CLG single “Lose Your Mind” playing in one of my fave boutiques last week. Their stuff is seriously radio friendly. Bres’ obvious musical talent shines through but it’s Orla, all skinny jeans and cheekbones who has potential to own the stage. She’s the sort of blonde front woman who transcends Topshop cool and I think as her persona develops so too will the bands success.

But if songs are the bottom line then CLG have certainly got the goods. “Skip School” has all kinds of moments from Prince to Kate Bush to Fleetwood Mac but it’s the palpable feeling of “Pretty in Pink” or just something of another era that strikes a chord with me. Maybe a lady of certain vintage like moi can appreciate a Sunshine 101 worthy guitar solo but I do see the crossover to a greener audience.

My fave tune is the epic “Funny Little Thing” and CLG have saved the best ’til last. I love how the whole band got stuck into it, Bres melting into his guitar and Orla reaching the high notes as deep as she would a whisper. This one is a kissing at the disco slow number too. And that’s what I think CLG are all about. For all the delicious New York sexy licks there’s a universal boy girl theme to their lyrics.


Feb 25, 2012

The Moog 69s – Sugar Club Time Warp

Catching a cab from chez moi to An Lar last night I was amazed to be asked out by yet another driver. Ladies, is it just me or are there a lot of lonely taxi men in this town? Rocking up to the Sugar Club with a smile on my face I was between two shows – Joe Pug and The Moog 69s. A doorstep chat with DJ Bob brought me back to days of yore, spilling out of the Sugar Club onto Leeson Street, milling about with friends and strangers.

The place is more subdued these days but still puts on some great bands, the late show being a nice alternative to the bump and grind of a night club. Bob told me that The Moog 69s were due on at 12.30 so I adjourned to Houricans to meet my pals. We enjoyed creamy pints of Guinness and a nice goss in the pub’s cosy confines, before nipping back next door. The Sugar Club is free in before midnight, and cocktails are 5 euro on Friday and Saturday. We got the drinks in while Bob whipped up the mood with some killer 90’s classics.

A familiar Dublin bolthole, the Sugar Club retains an air of insouciance with it’s tiered booths and intimate stage. I’d heard good things about The Moog 69s – a popular wedding band they have a solid reputation. As the band took to the stage all eyes were on lead singer Joanna Charles, a glamorous blonde she looked the part in a glitzy LBD. A proper old fashioned front woman Joanna’s charisma shone through opener “Rolling in the Deep” – I was impressed with her setting the bar at Adele.

Next up was one of my absolute faves, disco queen Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”. The Moog 69s ran the gamut of genre nailing numbers like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, “I Need a Miracle” by Fragma and Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music”. The band, made up of veteran axe man Mark Levins and Jon O’Connell on bass, with Keith Lawless and Dave Lawless on keys and drums, were in their element for a medley of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythimics.

We tapped our toes granny style while sipping G&Ts in the comfort of our seats, as the tempo upped to more 90’s chart busters. Once upon a time I would have owned the dance floor to such sounds. But I was glad to see a few groovy guys and girls shaking their limbs to those old skool choons. Joanna, a trooper despite her sore throat, belted them out with sass and shimmy until closing time. As the band wound up we slipped out into the city air heads full of songs gone but not forgotten. Well, even the Noughties seem retro now… / / The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2


Dec 20, 2011

Imelda May Brings Rock ‘n’ Roll Home to The O2

Last Friday & Saturday nights were Imelda May’s as she rocked Dublin’s O2, the Point Depot to you and me, in a double homecoming gig. And boy did the Liberties belle make some noise – the shows were rollicking from beginning to end. Of course I’d heard about Bono’s surprise appearance on stage on Friday night, where he dueted a stomping “Desire” with May. We made our way to the venue across a wind swept Eastlink bridge on Saturday night wondering if there would be a Second Coming…

Irish singer/song writer Mundy opened the show, rocking out in his cowboy hat and getting us in the mood with “Galway Girl”. As elves set up the stage for the main event, a montage of vintage Americana flashed across giant video screens setting the Christmas tone. May’s band, including her guitarist husband Darrel Higham, soon appeared followed by the lady herself. Imelda May was every inch the star in a hip hugging sequined number, complete with her signature red lips and blonde pin curl.

Getting stuck in straight off, May delivered “Love Tattoo” followed by Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”. A born entertainer who cut her teeth in Bruxelles and honed her craft in the pubs and clubs ofLondon, May let us know she was here to rock. “Kentish Town Waltz” and “Big Bad Handsome Man” perfectly showcased her sassy brand of smooth to growling vocals. This very sexy sound is owned by May. She was joined next by Mary Black for an emotional rendition of “Mountains to the Sea”.

The show was punctuated by May’s own stories of her musical history and her genuine affection for Dublin is touching, the audience connected with her familiar accent. May belted out gems from her latest album “Mayhem” with an assured je ne sais quoi, shimmying seductively against blasts of Rockabilly energy from her band. Her second guest of honour was Paul Brady, who like Black was a hit with the middle aged crowd. “The World is What You Make it” made a great team of May and Brady.

The special thing about May is the twinkle in her eye and a palpable sense of mischief – and that is why she’s on her way to becoming an Irish musical legend. May launched into blistering versions of “Mayhem” and “Johnny Got a Boom Boom” before exiting the stage. She was soon back with Black, Brady and her singer sister Maria in tow for a Christmas themed finale. Fluffy snow filled the O2 during a beautiful “Silent Night”. We were left on a retro festive high – good times Imelda!

Oct 5, 2011

Mamma Mia – Thank You For The Music!

I don’t know what had me more excited, Abba musical Mamma Mia or a visit to the Grand Canal Theatre. Anyone who saw my favourite Docklands neighbour Harry Crosbie on the Saturday Night Show last week will know that the theatre was born of blood, sweat and tears. And well worth it too! Home to many top productions since its opening, the Grand Canal Theatre is modern, comfortable and relaxed. But the view of the impressive canal basin is the best bit – and you can see Harry’s gaff from here!

After a cheeky Murphy’s in the bar, we took our seats in the circle balcony. I always think an eagle eye view is best for a big show. Mamma Mia opened on a Greek island, under crystal clear lighting, with the shows heroine Sophie singing “I Have a Dream”. When her bridesmaids burst onto the scene it was camp drama all round – I knew the show was going to be high octane! We were introduced to the story line by the trio – I won’t give the game away but let’s just say Sophie’s wedding is unusual…

Enter Sophie’s mother Donna and her sisters, who poured their infectious energy into smart one liners and of course belting song and dance. Mamma Mia has a typical musical feel, but is quite different from a sophisticated Lloyd Webber production. Written by Catherine Johnson, the show is unapologetically laced with clichés and the story is told through the music of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. For all of Mamma Mia’s silly conflict and comedy moments the songs tell of true relationships.

Show stopper “Dancing Queen” brought Donna and her sisters to the stage in full Abba white satin uniform. This was the moment the audience engaged, with the first burst of laughter at the girl’s slapstick moves. From here on in it was all clapping along and fits of giggles – and no, it wasn’t just me! It wasn’t only the thigh slapping numbers either, Sophie and her hubby to be Sky evoked pure Sandy and Danny with their version of “Lay Your Love on Me”. The tempo flowed easily from high to low.

Mia Mamma’s plot thickened as daughter Sophie searched for meaning in her past while mother Donna avoided hers, creating an emotional build up to the wedding. The crescendo was Donna’s stomping “Winner Takes it All”, proving her to be the show’s real star. Everyone’s story is told from the cougar to the feminist, and the young buck to the divorcee through a huge spectrum of Abba songs. Not only is this clever but I was surprised to find the music of my childhood pulling at my heartstrings…

Alas there’s a surprise nuptial twist and it’s not like any wedding I’ve been to! Sophie and Sky make off into the finale sunset singing “I Have a Dream” as they go. There’s no single moral of the story with Mamma Mia but rather it was a rollercoaster commentary on our expectations of life. The audience rose to their feet for a rip roaring neon satin romp by the ensemble cast – clapping, dancing and swaying to an Abba medley. I’m sure a fair portion of my neighbours were in a happy 1970’s time warp!

I was still smiling when we repaired to nearby Ely Gastro Pub. It’s actually more of a slick wine bar but cosy with it, perfect for a late supper. Our waitress, a sweet girl who encouraged our post show high jinks, brought us mini fish, scampi and chips served in cute little frying baskets. Supping wine and beer we finished with a chocolate pyramid and strawberry meringue. I didn’t know what to expect from Mamma Mia but Billy Barrie for grown ups is all I can say! And sure why not?