The West Cork Ukulele Orchestra::: Play their Farewell Gig

Cork Opera House

Sunday 2nd of September, 8pm

 

 

Sad news thatCork’s homegrown ukulele masters, The West Cork Ukulele Orchestra are calling it a day. They will play their final gig at Cork Opera House on 2nd of December 2012 for a night of joyous, bounce inducing happiness and to say a tearful goodbye to their fans from far and wide!

 

Leapfrogging over barriers of genre, time and taste, the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra is comprised of nine disparate musical talents, brought together for one purpose: to rock the planet, ukulele-style! They will plunder the last 60 years musical awesomeness to put a rip-roaring show full of lush harmonies and death-defying ukulele-playing.

 www.corkoperahouse.ie or by calling 021-4270022

 

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The Unthanks::: Cork Opera House

The spate of fantastic bookings at the Opera House continues today with the announcement of the Unthanks playing a show at the start of December. They will be bringing their unique brand of eclectic folk to Leeside on the 4 th of December, tickets are now on sale.

The Northumberland outfit have released three albums in less than a year, with Diversions Vol. 3 and an accompanying tour with a difference.Songs from the Shipyards is the beautiful and moving film tracing the story of shipbuilding, accompanied by a soundtrack performed live by The Unthanks. It’s also the title of Vol. 3 – a studio album containing the best of the music from the soundtrack of the Tyneside Cinema commissioned film.

This promises to be another unique night at the Cork Opera House.
On Sale on Thursday 8th Nov
Date: Dec 4th, 8pm . Tickets: euro;22/18

Beach House::: Cork Opera House 27/10/12

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This was a gig that had been marked in my calendar since it was announced a few months back. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally had to compete with the Jazz festival but they managed ably and by the time they took to the stage the place was packed. All credit must be given to Mary Hickson of the Opera House in managing to bring such a name act to Cork.

They seem like an act that are uncomfortable with their relative fame. There’s an endearing kind of awkward reluctance to embrace the fact that they’ve managed to become so big. Beach House are not an outfit that roll with rock star swagger and they’re as about as unassuming an act as you’re likely to find. In fact the banter about an ‘after’s party’ was probably the least relaxed bit of class clowning you’re likely to see from an act of Beach House’s size.

I missed the support act owing to my own stupidity, yes the ticket did say 8 and not 9. Good one Niall. But I managed to get over the scheduling mix-up and arrived to a seatless Opera house just as the main event took to the stage. A quick shimmy through the throng and I’d gotten myself a rather nifty spot up the front.

The audience were in fine voice and roared their approval for the classics from 2010’s Teen Dream. ‘Silver soul’, ‘Walk in the park’, and ‘Norway’ got things going in a set that was largely dominated by tunes from Teen Dream and their new long player Bloom. It was no bad thing, they were joined on stage by a drummer and managed to create a huge sound. It was perhaps strange for some for an act that made their mark on the intimate side of the musical spectrum but for my money it worked and by the time they rattled through ‘Zebra’ the crowd was well in hand. It was a great showing with Victoria hammering the keyboard with gusto and Alex really working through his paces with some fantastically shimmery guitar work .

I didn’t even bother trying to get to the bar at this point as I’d worked hard for my spot up the front and there was no way I was missing a minute of this. They finished with their final song  ‘10 mile stereo’ , Victoria had said to me in an earlier interview that the band were very careful in how they licence their music but if the amount of camera phones that sprang into action with this tune then their lending of the tune to Guinness was worth the gamble in terms of recognition.

There was never any danger of an abrupt end to proceedings and audience were baying for more .They retook the stage to deliver an absolutely belting encore with ‘Irene’. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable effort from Baltimore’s most recognisable export since The Wire

Life’s a Beach::: Cork Opera House 27/10/12

Word on the street is that tonight’s Beach House concert is fast approaching a sellout. If you’re lucky enough to have a golden ticket then you’re in for a treat as the Baltimore duo have been wowing audiences and critics alike on their current Frightened Eyes tour.

Fans can expect plenty of numbers off the current album ‘Bloom’ and of course a healthy smattering of hits from their breakthrough record ‘Teen Dream’. This punter is certainly looking forward to seeing them for the first time. They entered my radar with 2008’s ‘Devotion’ and they havn’t strayed far off it since with their star certainly in the ascendancy in recent years. I was quite surprised and delighted to see that they were going to be paying a vist to the banks of the Lee.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Singer/Keyboardist Victoria Legrand a couple of weeks ago and she was the kind of commited muso that makes music nerds like me buy records in the first place. So theres supposedly a few balcony tickets left for tonight, if you want to avoid the jazz hordes and catch a genuinely brilliant band then do yourself a favour and rock along to the Opera House.

Beach House play Cork Opera House tonight and Vicar St, Dublin tomorrow night.

Beach House::: Interview

I spoke to singer/keyboardist Victoria Legrand  about the new album ‘Bloom’, touring, ‘shit ideas’, the nature of the modern music industry and everything else besides ahead of the band’s  European tour and upcoming Irish dates.

Hi Victoria, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.Right to begin, you’re in the middle of a fairly extensive tour at the moment Victoria, Is it good to be back on the road again?

It is good, we’ve already played close to 60 shows, there are three shows left then we’re coming to Europe. That’s where we are, I’m in Boston at the moment.

To the new album Bloom. It’s definitely one of my favourite releases this year. Did you feel there was a lot of expectation with this album after the really good reaction to Teen Dream?

I’m sure there was, that’s what happens when people declare that an album is a good album. You take everything with a grain of salt, you have great hopes it will turn out well but it’s all about returning to the work and timing yourself, and that you haven’t lost that. Bloom was ready to be born, well into the teen dream touring cycle. We knew we were going to make another album; there was no doubt there was going to be a fourth record regardless of how teen dream did. If it was well or poorly received it didn’t matter as we had ideas. We had to survive and function, when you have ideas its part of the anatomy of creativity.

 We’ve been lucky in Beach House, we’ve played nearly 600 shows, been all over the world and our music has done that for us. You know, we’re humbled by it and we’re respectful of it. We know that you’re given a responsibility to your fans and to the people you speak to. It’s important we’re not something we’re not so we control a lot of aspects of our career. We’ve been growing steadily for the last 6-8 years. There was no lingering in the past with this record, in the music of teen dream. We’ve been doing the same things but in more intense ways. We tour and we work on our music.

You’ve said that it was important for Bloom to work as an album as opposed to a collection of singles. I think you’ve been very successful in achieving this. Do you think now that music tends to be disposable these days and that the public are forgetting the importance of the long player??

I don’t think that all music is disposable. There are kinds of music that is cheap but it’s not obvious. In the way that sometimes because of how fast things spread on the internet, there is so much out there, I think it’s very easy to overlook great things and there are a lot of crappy things being given accolades.

It’s the era we live in; it makes it easier to connect and to share, to get information. It creates a larger pot for everything to get lost in and become homogenous. There’s always going to be certain level s of conformity, if one thing is really successful, everything else is going to try and do that. You’re not breaking new ground, it can kind of mess with things as in you’re not going in the record store and buying the physical copy of the record. It can be kind of crappy sometimes. I don’t think music is disposable. In my heart music is powerful and necessary, it’s vital, even the crappiest pop song is necessary. Even the trashiest techno is vital for somebody.

The medium though which it’s shared and how it travels makes it feel cheap. I’m not being anti-INTERNET. We were a band with no label and we had a website and people found out about us and handed our demos about. It was a very sweet time in internet history in 2006, before everybody got really savvy. There were a lot of unknowns and people were just doing it. It’s like finding the secret dive bar before everybody else finds it. In music journalism, blogs and stuff it was a fresh time and we benefited from it. We used it as a tool and that’s how you control how your music gets out there. If people want to listen to bad quality mp3s its ok as an artist to let people know you haven’t put that out there, it’s a rip and they’ll be happier listening to it on vinyl, help yourself.

 

Definitely so, you worked again with Chris Coady on Bloom in a fairly remote part of Texas. How was the recording process?

I mean it was so many things. It was beautiful, it was intense, and it’s traumatic. That’s what happens when you’re making an album. If you don’t have some sort of conflict, or stress, I don’t think it’s going to be good. It’s a variety of things; it’s a whole spectrum of things that happen to you. I have very beautiful memories of recording, you block out the dark stuff. Glorify the golden days, that’s they it is, romantic notions.

Chris coady is an excellent collaborator, he understands us. We don’t treat producers the way some people treat producers. We’re not looking for producer to answer our questions, the questions we have we keep to ourselves. We don’t go looking to other people.

We don’t ask Chris to help us figure it out, we have it figured out. He brings things out of us which is a beautiful thing. Like when you meet somebody, they can bring a laugh out of you. He understands our vision and there’s a mutual respect and that’s a great working environment. There has to be respect.

So it was more of a collaborative experience?

Yes, he has many talents we benefit from. Our first two albums we didn’t work with a producer, so we’ve done it many different ways. We might not always work with a producer as we have made the record in the basement and we’ve been in the studio, we’ve kind of done it all. No matter what we do. I think we will be fundamentally Beach House so at the core of it, it’s something we control. Other bands change their sound every record, in that case it might be a drastic thing if there’s no producer but that’s not the case with us. We won’t suffer I think, producer or no producer,

 You mentioned control Victoria, I think you’ve been quite particular in not licensing your music to anything that just comes along. Do you think it’s important to retain a degree of control as to how your music is used, be it in commercials or TV shows or whatever?

I do, for us. Every artist is different. It’s not something I can say for everyone. It’s important you try to avoid things that are too saccharine and that are not done well. We’re not anti-doing commercials. We’re anti shit ideas but that’s it. We’re not rewriting the book or curmudgeons or anything. We’ve had our music in TV shows and in movies I think a lot of people will never watch because we get asked by a lot of independent people. As projects come along, we look at it and think whether it’s good or not. It’s about the effects, if your music appears and people who have never heard it before it can be exciting. If it’s a company you have to think is it evil or something as it affects how people react to your music, so it’s important to keep control.  We should be able to decide whether we want to lose control or not, It’s not always easy.

Right Victoria last question anyways, In terms of the Beach House live experience, what can the Irish audience expect from your live dates later this month?

They can expect love; they can expect an intense experience. You know we will be bringing an excitement, we‘ve always enjoyed ourselves in Ireland, and that’s It. I don’t want to ruin the festivities but I think you’ll have a very good time. That’s all I can say, just bring your essences.

Beach House play Mandela Hall Belfast on Friday 26th of October

Cork Opera House Sat 27th of October

Whelan’s Dublin Sun 28th of October

Heineken Live Project:::Rizzle Kicks, Labrinth, Passion Pit,Le Galaxie & more

Arthur’s day has passed and now another drinks co. is bringing a series of live music to ireland. Heineken Live Project is bringing a number of top acts to Ireland for a series of shows before Christmas. 

The dates are as follows with tickets available through the heineken website two weeks before the gigs.

Cork, November 1st – Labrinth at The Savoy. (Tickets released on October 18th).

Cork, November 4th – Rizzle Kicks at The Cork Opera House. (Tickets released on October 22nd).

Dublin, November 11th – Passion Pit at The Olympia. (Tickets released on October 29th).

Carlow, December 6th – Jackbeats, The Magician, Maverick Sabre, Le Galaxie at Dinn Rí. (Tickets released on November 15th).

Tickets for all the shows are free and will be available through www.heinekenmusic.ie

Efterklang ::: Cork Opera House 15/9/12.

What a night. What a band. You knew as soon as the Orchestra took to the stage that you were in for a special night. Copenhagen’s finest exports were in town and they gave a performance to remember. From the opening strains of Hollow Mountain they gave a thrilling show that not once left the audience in anything other than a state of delight.

Kildare’s Inni-K gave fine support on the night and delivered her set with aplomb. Then around 9 bells the main event took to the stage. Never ones to shy away from innovation Efterklang were performing their new album with a 24 piece orchestra onstage. They delivered Piramida in its entirety and displayed a modesty and graciousness that instantly endeared them to their audience. The swirling of the strings and the brass allied to Casper Clausen’s vocals was all backed up with subtle bits of electronic aspects that worked in perfect harmony to deliver as striking and yet charming a performance as you’re likely to see.

From bass player Rasmus belatedly giving the album cover a quick flash to the audience to Caspers half joking reluctance to (briefly) go into the albums recording there was as a real sense that here were an act that were enjoying themselves. Backed up by an incredible orchestra and with a frontman who seemed almost humbled by the crowd’s appreciation they stormed through their set and departed the stage to rapturous applause. They came back on and played ‘Monopolist’ from their album Tripper and ‘Modern Drift’ from Magic Chairs, they left with a more than well-deserved standing ovation but the applause and cheering continued so an unscheduled second airing of ‘Ghosts’ had to be delivered. Nobody seemed to mind too much. In short this was a fantastic night’s entertainment from an act at the height of their creative powers.