Ye Vagabonds live @ Grand Social, Dublin, December 2nd 2015...

Pat Barrett witnesses magic – his review of Ye Vagabonds at the Grand Social, Dublin.

All Our Lives Spent Underground: Dublin’s finest music venue remembered Nov27

All Our Lives Spent Underground: Dublin’s finest music venue remembered...

Memories of Dublin’s finest music venue, The Underground Bar on Dame Street.

Heartworm – the Novel Nov12

Heartworm – the Novel...

We have three copies of Ben Vendetta’s fantastic second novel ‘Heartworm’ to give away. Ben was in Dublin recently to launch the book at the Garage Bar on what proved to be a wonderful evening.  To be in with a chance of winning a copy of the novel, leave a comment below.  It can be a few thoughts on the album ‘Heartworm’ by Whipping Boy; any recollections or anecdotes relating to the album, abuse or praise, your favourite song from the record, anything you like. The authors of our three favourite comments will receive a signed paperback copy of the book. Closing date is 9pm GMT Monday 16 November 2015. Winners will be notified by email, so make sure you leave a valid email address. More about Ben Vendetta Ben Vendetta has been writing about rock and roll for his entire adult life for a number of publications, including The Big Takeover and Skyscraper. He published Vendetta Magazine from 1995 to 2002 and was the director of publicity at Dionysus Records before co-founding independent record label, Elephant Stone Records, with his wife Arabella Proffer-Vendetta. He’s also a serious Masters Division runner. He has written two novels: Wivenhoe Park (Cooperative Trade, 2013) and Heartworm (Cooperative Trade, Oct. 2015). The Novel ‘Heartworm’ Britpop, booze, cults, and a questionable Chinese restaurant bar? It’s 1995 and small-time music critic Drew has a desire for destruction. While championing an underdog Irish band, Whipping Boy, he embarks on a voyage of sex and drugs from Boston to Belfast while burying memories of his estranged wife – who is now in danger. His life was once saved by rock ‘n’ roll, but it may be too late for redemption in the last days of the music industry before the bubble bursts. Whether dropped by your record label or...

Metz live @ Whelans, Dublin 6 November 2015...

Rock music is in safe hands while bands like Toronto trio Metz exist; their brand of blitzkrieg punk noise is a refreshing reminder of why we once fell in love with rock music in the first place. At Whelan’s on Friday night, they stirred the mosh pit into action before they even took to the stage – a guitar line check was enough to set the kids at the front of the stage off and running. Metz are straight out of the garage – no pretence, no torturous self regard, just balls out, scorching guitar music with its roots in punk and hardcore. They are a one trick pony, but by God, that one trick is pretty special. Opening with ‘Headache’ from their self-titled debut, they screamed through the first four songs like they had a plane to catch, a blur of thunderous drums and distorted guitars before ‘Spit You Out’, a highlight from their recently released sophomore effort took things to a different level. The recent album is a sharper, more dynamic attack than their debut, balancing the extreme noise with a growing appreciation for pop hooks and melody; their most recent songs were undoubtedly the standout performances on the night. Even a couple of technical issues that resulted in lengthy delays between songs failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd – their best song by some distance ‘Acetate’ drew a huge reaction and a cover of the Damned’s ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’ had the more grizzled members of the audience nodding their heads in approval. They closed the set with fan favourite ‘Wet Blanket’ after just over an hour of scintillating, white hot, guitar noise that left the predominantly youthful audience aglow. For those of us who don’t get out much anymore and probably spend far too many Friday nights...

Sufjan Stevens live @The Helix, Dublin 29 Aug 2015...

A very special night in the company of the wonderful Sufjan Stevens.

The Human League live @ Dublin 13 Aug 2015...

Eighties pop icons the Human League deliver a night of perfect pop nostalgia in the final gig of the Bulmers Live at Leopardstown series.

The Frames Live @The Marquee, Cork 11 July 2015...

Our man in Cork, Anthony Kelly, witnesses one of Ireland’s most popular rock bands celebrate 25 years of making music.

The Twilight Sad Live @ Whelans, Dublin 2nd May 2015...

Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad rolled into town last Saturday to present their own brand of Post Punk miserabilia before a Dublin audience for the first time since 2013. The weather gods could not have chosen a more fitting headline act – the relentlessly gloomy weather seemed rather apt for a band that cite ‘drinking and making miserable music’ as their most enjoyable pursuits on their Twitter bio. Though not a full house, a very respectable crowd turned up at Whelan’s to pay homage – with four very fine albums behind them since forming in 2003, the Twilight Sad are beginning to build up a dedicated live following. Opening with ‘There’s A Girl in The Corner’ from their most recent record, the broodingly powerful ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’,  The Twilight Sad delivered a tight and powerful set, drawing mainly from their new album, but containing a liberal sprinkling of material stretching back to their 2007 debut. Singer James Alexander Graham’s compelling if slightly contrived stage presence provided the main focal point as the band whipped up an impressive maelstrom of Post Punk noise before a very receptive Dublin audience. Graham was moved to remark that the show was ‘exactly what the band needed at this point’ in what seems like a long and arduous tour. The set was well paced, with no discernible lulls and plenty of highlights – ‘Last January’, ‘I Became A Prostitute’ and ‘The Wrong Car’ all raised the roof but it was the trio of songs from their debut album ‘Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters’ that turned out to be the big winners on the night. These three songs proved to be the most dramatic and dynamic songs in the set, with Graham’s voice showcased at its...

Echo and the Bunnymen Live @ The Olympia Theatre, Dublin 18 Feb 2015...

How many of us can pinpoint the exact moment we fell in love with music, the precise point in time when we ceased to be a casual fan and became completely and utterly smitten? For me that moment came on the 7 December 1985. Still in my teens and harbouring a growing interest in music, I went along to the now defunct SFX venue on Dublin’s northside. A live music virgin, Echo and the Bunnymen would be the second gig I ever attended; my previous sole foray having been a particularly uncomfortable night surrounded by screaming teens at a Frankie Goes To Hollywood show. But the Bunnymen represented something different, and that night turned out to be something of a life changing experience. I walked away from that show consumed with the idea of playing in a band; the power and majesty of the Bunnymen that night was the catalyst for me to pick up a guitar, an act that completely altered and shaped the direction my life took for the next 13 years. Given all that, the return of Echo and the Bunnymen to Dublin some thirty years after that show was always going to hold personal significance.  My love affair with their music has endured to this day, but with that, there is always that nervous anxiety around seeing returning idols all these years later. Of the original line-up, only singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant remain; the core creative force perhaps, but anyone who witnessed that 85 show will testify to the marked contribution made by bassist Les Pattison and the sadly departed Pete DeFreitas to the bands sound. Some twenty minutes late, the newest incarnation of the Bunnymen take to the Olympia stage – the early signs are promising.  A blistering version of the title track off their...