Browsing articles tagged with "The Grand Social Archives - I Love Saturday"
Oct 17, 2013

Very Extremely Memphis – Rock’n’Roll Roots

Having another of our Sunday-like Mondays, me and the Bloke rocked along to the Grand Social that night for Very Extremely Memphis. Free gig, we parked ourselves upstairs in the Loft and ordered a pair of Guinness. The set up was a Q&A with film director Paul Duane and MC Pat McCabe about Duane’s latest release, Very Extremely Dangerous. A documentary on the life of the mad, bad Jerry McGill.

Opening tomorrow at the IFI, Duane’s film charts McGill’s musical beginnings in 1960s Memphis, through his odyssey of crime and jail to his present day ex-con lifestyle. No less wild than his younger days, he brings Duane on the road to recording a follow up to his 1959 single, Lovestruck. Off the rails, McGill isn’t a regular dude. Gruesome too, it deals with his terminal cancer. McGill passed away since.

It’s clear that music and it’s history are Duane’s passion. He spoke animatedly through a number of clips from hazy Memphis days. Really cool, rare stuff. Pure rock’n’roll. Alex Chilton and Jim Dickinson were two memorable features, anti-establishment figures with real rebel blood in their veins. It really gave Himself a thrill. A little slice of New Orleans in Dublin! Duane and McCabe were equally enthralled.

Time for a bit of music. First up were The Problem Blob (ex-Female Hercules), with singer and guitarist Conzo giving it socks. I loved the punky ‘tude of these guys. Using their instruments as weapons of intent. The Slick Hicks were a different kettle of fish. A polished rockabilly outfit, these cats sailed through a blinding set. We shuffled happily to the double bass rhythm. Then home to bed. Rock’n’roll.

Very Extremely Dangerous – Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin / www.ifi.ie

Oct 30, 2012

Ha’penny Flea – The Grand Social

A market in a pub, you say? Well yes! That is the unique beauty of the Ha’penny Flea. Recently re-opened after a Summer holiday, the market features plenty of vintage clothes and accessories, old records, handcrafts and of course a bar. So you can have a pint while you shop. But I must admit I’ve seen more than one bargainista deposit her fella at the bar, while she gets down to serious business!

The Ha’penny Flea has a huge offering of stuff, with regulars and newbies setting up every Saturday. The vibe is a bit San Francisco, a lot artsy nouveau Dublin. The Grand Social is one of those places that captures the capital’s post tiger spirit and runs with it to great success. Shabby chic is the name of game, the perfect afternoon hangout, with gigs on upstairs afterwards if you’re out for the long haul.

As a girl I always dreamed of being a shopkeeper (boutique owner?) and now I have my own little corner of the Ha’penny Flea. Selling my wares is super fun – dresses, handbags, shoes and jewellery at “Love” – as I can chat to people all day long. Bliss! The social aspect is what makes this market stand out from the crowd, as the intimate setting of the pub puts punters at ease and open to a good old mingle.

Charming stalls are dotted all around, not just mine! There’s Junk Orr Gems for vintage clothes and accessories, Lily Loves for quirky cake stands made with antique plates. Hegarty Hats for beautifully feminine handmade head wear, Magpie’s Nest for antique, vintage and modern jewellery. There’s lots of Sixties and Seventies fashion, which I love! The Ha’penny Flea is an antidote to blah high street shops.

Music from DJ Wild Child Will fits in with the carefree feeling – Motown classics and underground Disco. Bazaar life is rewarding too, as I get to recycle and pass my lovely pieces onto happy new owners. As a second hand style maven myself, I appreciate that flutter one gets on discovering a diamond. A silk blouse or a sparkly hat. A Bowie record or a Kafka book. There’s something about the Ha’penny Flea!

Ha’penny Flea – Saturday 12 to 6pm.  The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1

Sep 25, 2012

Pugwash – Love At First Sound

Ever go to see one of those bands that you’ve never heard of only to find yourself totally familiar with their tunes? Well that’s what happened to your fave reporter at the Grand Social last Friday night. Pugwash was the band. They’ve been around since my school days. Been on my radio. Singer Thomas Walsh even said hello to me before he got on stage and only then I realised he was the main man.

Now I can’t get their songs out of my head. Lucky me! Pugwash are the sort of accomplished band that need no red carpet nor champagne kisses, having earned their musical stripes over the years. The Loft upstairs at the Grand Social is a great little venue. Cosy with good acoustics and a vaulted ceiling that feels almost like a festival marquee, bunting and all. Pugwash filled the place up with feelgood vibes.

There were some proper gems in the set like “Fall Down” from their new album “The Olympus Sound”, a nice slice of holiday pop that rolled in melodic waves. Walsh’s ability to distill faraway feelings into his music and lyrics brings whimsical thoughts and solid sounds together so perfectly. The magic of songs is what he’s all about. “Answers On A Postcard” was another sweeping guitar sway along foot tapper.

The great thing about Pugwash is that all the band are involved with lots of layering going on between the boys. Their unique rollercoaster of Rickenbacker guitars and punchy lyrics had the crowd surfing the same high as the band. Between his singing and the banter Walsh brought the whole thing together into a Dublin love in with laughs and some serious jams. Pugwash make for a most mellow moshpit.

Support band on the night were The Urges, who I didn’t see as me and the Bloke had left just enough time for a Guinness to settle. Fashionably late! But my sources tell me that they come from the same school of music as Pugwash, channeling the original garage sound through psyhedelic rock ‘n’ roll. Pugwash bring echoes of The Beatles and ELO – Walsh spoke of his delight of a letter from Jeff Lynne.

The fine numbers played on with “Be My Friend Awhile” and “Nice To Be Nice” – the kind of songs that stick to your heart. Onstage, Walsh exudes the same easy romance as his songs and it’s plain to see that he’s in his element with lots of guitar changes and a great camaraderie with band members Tosh Flood, Shaun McGee and Joey Fitzgerald. They’re a tight knit yet beautifully fluid bunch of musicians.

“Dear Belinda” was dedicated to a friend and “Apples” from the album “Almanac” was a winding yellow brick road of a song. But my absolute fave was the delicious debut single “Finer Things In Life” from their first album “Almond Tea”. I’ve heard it before in daydreams. “Age Of Revolution” was a stomping sing along, from their Duckworth Lewis Method collaboration with the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon.

Sharing the last of their Friday night with us Pugwash finished up with “Two Wrongs”. I could see why everyone in the place loves them as Walsh gives as much as he gets. With words like “seasons pass faster than fruitflies, decades disolving like Solpadeine” what’s not to like? We were now four and rocked on to Sweeney’s, then the Foggy Dew for a glass or three. Pugwash had certainly put us in the mood.

Illustration by Glenn Brown

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

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 grandsocial.ie