Wyvern Lingo live @ Cyprus Avenue, Cork 26 Mar 2016...

Promising trio Wyvern Lingo play to a packed out at Cyprus Avenue watched by Anthony Kelly.

Richard Hawley live @ Cork Opera House 25 Feb 2016...

A regular visitor to these shores, Richard Hawley delivers at the Cork Opera House on 25 February watched by Anthony Kelly.

August Wells live @ Pine Lodge, Myrtleville, Cork 13 Feb 2016...

Quite a buzz around Ken Griffin’s new venture August Wells – Anthony Kelly sees them perform in the intimate environs of Pine Lodge in Cork.

John Grant @ Cork Opera House 26th January 2016...

Irish music fans have taken him to their hearts: John Grant bewitches the audience at the Cork Opera House watched by Anthony Kelly.

Festival Review – Eurosonic 2016...

Mairéad McGuinness looks back on another hugely successful Eurosonic Music Festival in Groningen.

Gaz Coombes live @ Cyprus Avenue, Cork 5 December 2015...

Anthony Kelly reviews ex Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes live in Cork.

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

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

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...

The Vincent(s) live @ Cyprus Avenue 19 September 2015...

Not for the first time this weekend I climb the small staircase up to Cyprus Avenue; it is one of my favourite walks as I love the pictures that adorn the walls of all the great bands who have played this wonderful little venue. For years now I have been threatening to bring a screwdriver some evening and confiscating one particular photograph of The Frames. Support for tonight’s show came from Dublin in the form of 5 piece indie rock band Slackers Symphony. Before opening number ‘Control’ frontman Ed Grannell calmly introduced the band to the crowd; that was the last time the word calmly could be used about this Slackers Symphony set as from there on in it was 100 miles per hour. Grannell’s enthusiasm is infectious and the rest of the band follow his lead and are wilful participants in this high octane stage show. ‘Outside’ a wonderfully catchy pop song was the pick of the bunch from the energetic Dubliners. ‘Cambodian’ and ‘Summer’ were tracks which also stood out for me. The first time I remember seeing the Vincent(s) was at Indiependance 2014. I remember trudging through the mud towards the main tent and hearing the drum beat of ‘Summer Song’ and finding it hypnotic and almost Pied Piper-like leading the crowd towards the tent. Courtney Taylor of Dandy Warhols fame has also fallen under their spell and had them as support for his Academy gig this summer and has recently mixed 2 singles for them, the second of which ‘Milk With Tea’ is due out within the month. An exciting upcoming supporting slot for Gary Numan should bring great exposure for the band but tonight at Cyprus Avenue is set to be The Vincent(s) last headline gig for the year...

Hope is Noise, Jonny Rep & Hags @ Cyprus Ave, Cork 18 Sept 2015...

Friday 18th September was the 8th annual Cork Culture Night and the city was chock-a-block with people flooding to the various free events. Cork Ignite, a project which projected 3D images on to the Cork College of Commerce building gathered and amazed a massive crowd around the Union Quay area. However not everyone was impressed by this spectacular visual attraction as one grumpy frequent gig-goer found his usual car parking space had been taken up to facilitate the event. However his anger was short lived as he remembered that the good people of Cork Culture Night were also providing free gigs as part of their program and one of these free gigs saw Cyprus Avenue host 3 excellent local bands. Hags were first on stage at 10:15 which was just a little bit later than the announced 9:40 start time due to the late arrival of their drummer. When he arrived he seemed unphased by the hold up and to his credit, (unlike his arrival) his time keeping on the drums was impeccable. As for his bandmates they were made up of a bass player and 2 guitarists one of which was also the lead singer. With a sound what crossed over between Indie rock and maybe even moved towards grunge at times Hags were not long grabbing the attention of the slowly growing crowd. The highlights of their set list were a new untitled grungy track which was described with tongue firmly in cheek as a ballad, the excellent ‘Leave’ which I recognised from Red FM’s Irish music show Green on Red and a great song called ‘New Tides’. They wound up with an excellent song called ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and  got a great cheers when they explained that they were...

Wild Beasts, Frank and Walters live @ Sounds From A Safe Harbour – 17-20 Sept, Cork...

The inaugural Sounds From A Safe Harbour festival took place this weekend in various locations around Cork city. Held over a period of four days and with a total of no less than 70 individual events taking place, it was always going to be difficult to get to take it all in so as usual I decided to focus on the live music aspect of this festival and in particular local artists. Saturday afternoon’s Boats and Bites event was the first I managed to get down to and when I did I found numerous pop up bars and food stalls flanking both sides of the Port Of Cork’s dock. The Frank and Walters provided the soundtrack for the afternoon. Now, where do you start with the Frank and Walters? The Franks have been Cork’s Indie-Pop kings for over a quarter of a century. They combine an excellent back catalogue with fresh and innovative gig ideas, my favourite of which before this afternoon was when they had a marching band lead a procession of fans to their Opera House gig last October. Today The Franks are performing on top of the naval vessel, the ‘LE Ciara’ which is currently docked at the Cork’s Anderson’s Quay. A mixture of new fans and a few very recognisable old faces gathered at the corner of the dock to hear the Franks belt out some of their greatest hits. Over the course of the next hour while people sampled the various local produce on offer  songs like ‘Tony Cochran’, ‘The Parson’, ‘Colours’ ,’How Do I Exist’ and ‘This Is Not  A Song’ have both young and old dancing on the dockside. The lads are at their quick witted best and as usual they have the crowd in hysterics due...

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.

Indiependence Music & Arts, Cork 31 Jul – 2 Aug 2015...

While other music festivals struggle, Cork’s Indiependence Music and Arts Festival continues to go from strength to strength. Anthony Kelly was there this year to witness it all.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live @ The Marquee, 14 July 2015...

The final show of the live at the Marquee series in Cork: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Words by Anthony Kelly.

Damien Rice Live @ The Marquee, Cork 13 July 2015...

Another top Irish performer live at the Marquee, Cork – Damien Rice in concert. Words by Anthony Kelly.

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.

Chic Live @The Marquee, Cork 10 July 2015...

A night of celebration – Anthony Kelly witnesses Nile Rodgers and Chic’s return to these shores.

Hollow Sounds Festival @ Set Theatre, Kilkenny 4th July 2015...

Anthony Kelly reviews day 2 of the Hollow Sounds Festival, Kilkenny.

Beck Live @ The Marquee, Cork 16th June 2015...

Anthony Kelly witnesses the ever popular Beck doing his thing in Cork.

Swans live @ The Button Factory, Dublin 25 May 2015...

A Monday night on Dublin’s live circuit is usually the preserve of only the most committed music fan, but this is no ordinary Monday night, and New York’s Swans are no ordinary band. On the back of two of the most highly rated albums of the last five years, Michael Gira and his cohorts arrived to play a sold out show in the Button Factory, a return to the same venue they played in August 2013. The place is rammed; their reputation as a band capable of delivering a near religious experience ensures that the Button Factory is thronged with the devoted, the curious and a healthy cluster of those who like to be seen when the latest hip band rolls into town. I had been looking forward to this for months – last year’s To Be Kind was my favourite album of the year (reviewed here) and the prospect of seeing Gira and the band deliver these frighteningly intense songs in a live setting meant that this was one of my most eagerly anticipated gigs in quite some time. Their reputation as one of the loudest bands on the circuit is well earned – arriving late,  I had to force myself in through the only entrance where people weren’t literally spilling out the doors. Unfortunately, this happened to be the entrance right next to the stage so for the first thirty minutes, I felt the full force of the Swans brutal aural assault. Swans aren’t just loud – their sound completely swamps the senses – you cannot hear yourself think or breathe when they are at full blast. On first impact, you can’t help but be impressed. Their singular form of musical brutality retains an almost masochistic thrill but somewhere after they play ‘A Little God in My Hands’, the impact begins to diminish.  The fifteen minutes of drones and shrill, cacophonous feedback that follows gives away to another piece of music of long, meandering nothingness punctuated by punishing, all out, sonic meltdowns.  The dynamic, measured build ups that are such a feature of To Be Kind are lost. Gira is at the centre of the maelstrom they create on stage but seems somewhat detached and disinterested, limply conducting proceedings by waving his hands around in the air, and throwing the occasional glare in the direction of the musicians. His vocal chants are largely garbled and unintelligible and an hour into the set, I begin to feel something I did not expect to feel entering the venue – boredom. Retreating to the back of the room robs the music of much of its sheer visceral power, and those long, noodling instrumental passages begin to become nothing more than a test of endurance. The pummelling ‘Bring The Sun Toussaint L’ouverture’ stirs things up briefly, but the effect of yet another punishing bout of heavy riffing begins to feel like being beaten over the head with a blunt instrument; as the show reaches the two hour mark, the realisation hits home that this has been a crushingly disappointing experience. There is no doubt that there will be many who came away from the show feeling they got the near religious experience they had hoped for. Swans live are uncompromising, experimental and challenging but for me, they just didn’t excite or entertain. It was a curiously and disappointingly hollow show, a turgid two hours of art rock delivered with maximum force but devoid of...

Jape Live @ The Secret Garden, Cork 21st May 2015...

Anthony Kelly reviews the ever popular Jape.

Villagers live @ the Cork Opera House 23rd May 2015...

Anthony Kelly reviews Villagers at the Cork Opera House.

Ham Sandwich live @ Cyprus Avenue Saturday May 2nd 2015...

Anthony Kelly reports on Ham Sandwich’s return to Cork on the back of a number one album in the Irish charts.

Le Galaxie live @ Cyprus Avenue, Cork 3rd May 2015...

Cyprus Avenue was the venue for the second time this bank holiday weekend for one of Ireland’s best and most energetic live acts Le Galaxie. I first saw Le Galaxie on the Sunday afternoon at a festival many years ago. Truth be told I had no idea who they were at the time and my main reasons for going to see them were shelter from the rain and an opening on the railing which at the time was too enticing to pass up.  Within minutes they had blown the cobwebs off and by the end of their set they had also blown my socks off too. Cork band Kashkao were on warm up duties this evening and within minutes they had the place bopping along to their own brand of Funk. Often sounding like they may only be a second from launching into a Chic cover and looking as far removed from your typical funk band as the Average White Band once used to. None of this ever stops Kashkao from keeping the crowd thoroughly entertained. The highlight of their set was a funky cover of ‘There Must Be an Angel’ by Annie Lennox. Le Galaxie arrive on stage and begin proceedings with the ceremonial lighting of the ‘Le Club’ neon sign before starting their set with ‘Humanize’. Disaster strikes as early as the beginning of the 3rd song ‘Love System’ when technical difficulty with a keyboard causes the show to come to a halt temporarily. To pass the time, Dave of the band tries to introduce himself to every member of the audience individually and to his credit, gets through a fair amount of the sizeable crowd in attendance. After a short break and a change of keyboard the show is back underway...