Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

From all reports, the Lighthouse Cinema’s showing of the outlandish Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense (1984) a couple of months back was a huge success. I’ve heard great stories about a dance floor organically emerging in front of the screen around half way through the show.

However, this was by no means the first time that this film has been shown in a Dublin cinema. In 1986, Stop Making Sense was shown every weekend night for nearly twenty weeks in The Ambassador Theatre.

Stop Making Sense poster

Journalists, writers and music critics such as Dave Fanning, Graham Linehan, Jim Carroll, Donald Clarke and Gerard Byrne have all spoken on the significance of these last night showings.

Ciaran Carty in The Sunday Independent (10/03/85) first brought attention to the film’s showing and urged his readers not to “miss it” as it was “only booked for a week”. (As far as I can work out, the film was shown on March 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 in 1985 and then reappeared on January  14 1986 where it played every Friday and Saturday night until May 1986. That sound right?)

The Irish Times, 08 Mar 1985.

Dave Fanning in The Irish Times (30/07/86) wrote that the film had the effect of “transforming the Ambassador into a disco”.

Graham Linehan in his blog has admitted:

I went to see ‘Stop Making Sense’ every week for about fifteen weeks during its run at the Ambassador cinema in Dublin. They had to hire bouncers to stop people dancing, and when David Byrne ran round the stage, we ran round the Ambassador. Ah, me.

Jim Carroll (I.T. 11/12/03) also remembers the “couple of hundred party people” who used to “run laps around … the cinema” whenever David Byrne did something similar.

Simon Judge mentioned in a recent Le Cool piece that “bouncers were hired to curb the pogoing of the mental heads” while Gerard Byrne in Frieze Magazine  said that the “madness … usually ended with police intervention”.

Donald Clarke (I.T. 15/09/06) said the experience of these late night screenings was “akin to actually seeing the band in action”.

Still from the film

Dave Fanning summed up things quite well (I.T. 16/12/8) when he said that this sold out run of shows:

…provided one of the most memorable yet unsung highlights of the Irish rock decade and gave a whole new meaning to the phrase of ‘dancing in the aisles’

Things came full circle when David Byrne played The Ambassador, which had then been turned into a music venue, in July 2002.

Do you have any memories of going to see the film in The Ambassador?

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‘Dub Rudie Giles’, under pressure from the powers of Babylon and his press agent, came out on the Ray D’Arcy show (Tues May 8) on Today FM refuting the story that he is a reggae fanatic.

You can listen back here here. Tuesday, Part 3, 48mins in.

The dream lives on. Design – K. Squires

His friends in the Reggae community understand why he has done this and support him 100%.  Though it is 2012, it is still not safe for an esteemed football player and pundit to come out about his love of Roots Reggae, Jerk Chicken and heavy bass.

Rumours abound that he will be guest Selecta at the Rootical stage at Life Festival this year. Hold tight.

Life Festival, 2012.

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Up to five hundred people on Saturday took over, the once grassy mound, beside City Hall on Dame Street for a 3.5 hour street party.

The event was organised by Reclaim the Streets to mark the 10th anniversary of when police attacked partygoers at a similar event on Dame Street in 2002.

Here are some pictures and videos from the day:

Crowd making their way down Parliament Street. They had met originally at 2pm at the spire.

(c) Workers Solidarity Movement

A number of DJs played throughout the day:

(c) Workers Solidarity Movement

Section of the crowd:

(c) Workers Solidarity Movement

Boards were erected for people to graffiti:

(c) Paul C Reynolds


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Giles & Marley: One Love

(Note: Not all of the below may be 100% accurate)

Marley, 2012.

With the recent much-anticipated release of the documentary Marley, I thought there would be no better time to look at a little known anecdote that links the legendary Jamaican reggae singer with one of Ireland’s most beloved football players.

It may come as a surprise to you, it certainly did to me, to learn that Johnny Giles and Bob Marley were close friends right from the time they first met in London in August 1972 to the time of Marley’s untimely death in May 1981.

While some may know Marley as a football fan, most may not know that Johnny Giles was (and remains) a huge lover of both reggae music and Jamacian culture. He is affectionately known as ‘Dub Rudie Giles’ amongst the Afro-Caribbean community of Harbourne, Birmingham where he lives today. He has been the chairpeson of the Irish-Jamacian Fraternal Society of Harborne for the last eight years.

Bizarrely, Giles’ love of reggae is all down to George Best.

While Best just missed playing with Giles at Manchester United (he joined the year Giles left for Leeds), the two Irishman started up a long-lasting friendship around this time. The two clubs faced each other in the championship in 1965 with Manchester United coming out top. Dejected after this and Leeds’ defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup, Best invited Giles to accompany him on a trip home to Belfast to help him take his mind of things. No one could have forcast how life-changing this weekend away would be for Giles.

Johnny Giles (Pictured in 1976)


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A tasty little trailer from what will undoubtedly be one of the cultural highlights of the year once it’s released. ‘As An Talamh: Notes On Rave In Dublin’ is an ambitious project focusing on both Dublin’s rich rave history and today’s scene, talking to the promoters, bedroom producers, DJs, DIY record labels and radio shows who keep the flame alive.

Keep up to date on Tumblr and Facebook.

We’ve previously touched on Dublin’s rave history here while also taking a more contemporary look at the underground scene.

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Gutted I missed it but major props to legendary Dublin punk band The Radiators from Space for dropping into Freebird Records last Saturday to celebrate Record Store Day. They were also there of course to publicise their new album Sound City Beat.Reviews so far: Rabble, Totally Dublin, Hotpress, and The Irish Times.

Picture credit - John Foyle

A recent interview of mine with lead singer Philip Chevron can be read here.


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From Rabble Issue 3 by Mice Hell (http://triggerthumbs.wordpress.com)

Edit: RIP Phil. A true gent. x

This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Radiators from Space’s first single Television Screen. It’ll also see the release of their fourth studio album, Sound City Beat. As such, I thought it would be no better time to sit down and have a chat with lead singer and songwriter Philip Chevron. In my opinion, one of the greatest songwriters ever to come out of our fair city. A shortened version of the following was printed in the latest issue of Rabble, here is the full thing…

Were your parents from Dublin?

Yep, both inner city kids. My mother was from the Liberties, hence the Hugeunots. A lot of them ended up in the Liberties … as artisans and tradesman. My Dad was from Ballybough. So basically they were North and South inner city. Absolutely dyed in the wool Dublin, going back several generations. My father’s mother was from Drogheda. That’s the only Culchie blood at all.. and that only counts as North Dublin now anyways! In my Mother’s case, her Father was a trader in Dublin Corporation Fruit Market. He traded in potatoes .. and supplied Tayto crisps. It was one of the big contracts you could get at the time. That elevated my Grandfather into the frontline of the new middle classes in Dublin. As soon as they could, they got the hell out of the Liberties and moved to Terenure. My Mother was still a Liberties girl at heart though. She loved the fact that she moved up in the world. My Father stayed in Ballybough all along. There is that strange reverse snobbishness in Dublin as well, where my mother would say, “We live in Terenure but we’re from the Liberties”.

I heard your Father’s Mother was politically active?

Yes, She was in Cumann na mBan … but I found out after she died that her view of it was that it was great way to meet fellas. There was a bit of craic involved in it, hiding the guns in the prams. Innocence that only a seventeen-year-old girl could have really. That’s probably why they got away with it. Like everybody she hated the Black and Tans and wanted to see the back of them but more than anything it was “I wonder will your man be at the dance on Saturday night”. My grandfather on my Mother’s side, the potato merchant, was one of those Dubliners who covered all angels. He was in the Knights of Colobanus, in the old IRA I think but also the Masons. People then were pragmatic. They weren’t dogmatic or ideologists, idealists maybe though. They did what they had to do. If you’re a tradesman in Dublin, you had to keep everyone happy. Strangely, in his funeral in the early 1960s, he had fifteen-gun salute from the IRA. I was like ‘what the fuck’. Nobody knew. People thought ‘well then, I guess he must have been in the IRA’. I thought well ‘they don’t take the guns out for the fun of it’. The Civil War caused such a rift in this country. It’s as solid, in its own way, as the one that still separates America. In a sense, the Irish were incapable of talking about it. I suppose we all went through our lives not talking about it. Truth is, we will never know if there were 25,000 people in the GPO in 1916.

Or to see U2 in the Dando!

Yes, exactly. I mean Lotte Lenya says about the opening night of The Threepenny Opera in Berlin – “If everybody who said they were there, were there, we’d have to tear down the theatre and build it again”.

Do you think those Civil War wounds are finally healing now? Is this the first generation that we can see that?

I wonder about that. Maybe the de Valera generation is dead. I don’t know. They might go away for a few years but they’ll be back. Hopefully, it is a generation thing. I know one of my uncles still praises Bertie after all this time. It’s because these family bonds die very hard. Saying that, I don’t know anyone personally under seventy who thinks like that. I think we’ve got through the worst of it. We’ve had a century of bullshit from the politicians, priests, teachers and everyone else as well. I genuinely believe that people are moving forward. It feels like people aren’t so easily prepared to take the bullshit, on face value anyway. The whole generation that came up during the time of The Radiators, not just musically but in literature, art, film and theatre, were the first to have had the courage, or the space maybe, to say, “Let’s change it! It’s crap!” It was kind of tentative because we all felt we were kind of transgressing in some deeply important way. In that we were almost being anti-Irish, anti-Catholic and anti-everything. The generation, who are now in their early 50s to early 60s, all felt individually that we were the only ones who felt this way. But when you got to meet people at The Project Arts Centre, you realised that other people were speaking the same language as you. In some ways, Geldof knocked down the last wall by saying “I’m going to talk about this – whether you like it or not”. Had we be been more aware that there was this greater movement towards change; it probably would have been a lot louder and angrier. But we also had a thing when just on the cusp of change it was ‘one step forward, two steps back’.  Look at the reaction the pope’s visit in 1978. I remember thinking ‘hang on, thing’s aren’t going the right way’. Suddenly there was a while generation being named John Paul. It was strange.

Pope John Paul II, Phoenix Park, 1979. (http://comma.english.ucsb.ed)

I thought Killing Bono visually illustrated that quite well in that scene when the band are in the empty bar while it seems the whole of Ireland are at the Phoenix Park.

Oh yes, absolutely. I had left by then, The Radiators had moved to London in 1977 but when I came back I felt that something, albeit temporarily, had gone wrong. I was even meeting people like Agnes Bernelle who said ‘It was wonderful, you should have seen it’. I thought ‘Why the fuck are you talking about? This guy is an utter bastard. Fuck off!’ We’re hosting the Eucharistic Congress this year and things literally couldn’t be more different than the one in 1932. It will be interesting to see that in action. It will be firm evidence to show that the country has changed. To see a film of the 1932 Eucharistic Congress is terrifying, I’d rather watch the Nuremburg rallies. It feels less regenerated and more artistically valid!

TV Tube Heart (1977)

Moving onto The Radiators first album TV Tube Heart, I thought the two trends running through it were the idea/impact of TV and the feelings of boredom/prison. Was this intentional?

First of all, regarding the aspect of television in the album. You have to understand that we were the first generation in the country to have TV introduced to us in our lifetime. We were not born with TV. Unlike say American kids. So, we had this strange phenomenon of being introduced to TV. Inevitably it had a hold on the imagination. At the time, The Late Late Show acted as a sort of ‘secular pulpit’. It genuinely opened up the doors for people to talk about things at the breakfast table that weren’t being talked abut. Suddenly, the words ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ and even ‘atheist’ were becoming topical because of TV. But TV also reduced people. While it was freeing people, it was reducing people to commodities and units of commerce. Essentially we were saying ‘What is this fucking thing?’. It was still an object of awe. We recognised it that it helped changed Ireland in our lifetime while similarly acknowledging that most TV was crap and the whole thing with Gary Gilmore. In the sense in ‘Electric Shares’ that even execution was a commodity.

Irish Press. Oct 08, 1979


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Gig poster.

Four fantastic bands are coming together on Saturday, 24 March 2012 in The Players Bar, Dalymount Park in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

This will be the last ever show for political hardcore five-piece legends Easpa Measa who have been described at various times as “punishing crust”, “crusty melodic hardcore fury” and “dual vocaled crust with poignant lyrics”

Formed in 2001, the band have toured Europe widely and released a number of records; Renounce & Dethrone (2004), a 7″ split with Atomgevitter (2004), a 7″ split with Nemetona (2005), a 7″ split with Silence (2007) and split LP with Divisions Ruin (2010). Personally, not my cup of tea but they’re the best at what they do and a great bunch of lads!

Easpa Measa @ GGI, 2010. Photo - Janer.

Next up on the line up are acclaimed streetpunk stars, The Freebooters, who will be playing their first Dublin gig since October 2010. On the go since 2005, the ban released their debut album Ordinary Level Oi! last year to glowing reviews. Definitely one of my favourite Irish bands!

The Freebooters, 2008. (Photo - Shay)

Local heroes Droppin’ Bombs who have been tearing the place up since 2004 are next on the bill. Moving on from their punky ska origins (a.k.a ‘thrashy ska-punk’ or ‘yipped out of it ska-core’) , the three-piece have been more recently labeled as ‘raging technical hardcore punk’. A part of me prefers the earlier more ska-themed stuff but I did really enjoy them at the Oi Polloi gig last weekend.

Droppin' Bombs, 2009. (Photo - Janer)

Finishing up this killer line-up are jap noise-core characters Disguise.

Doors 9pm. Admission €8. More information on the Facebook event.

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(Article first published in Look Left, Vol.2 Issue 10)

Featuring heavily on a recently issued Reekus Records anthology, ‘Too Late To Stop Now’, Sam McGrath explores the music and politics of The Blades.


Socially conscious, musically gifted and uncompromising in their attitude towards the manipulative music industry, The Blades remain one the most revered and important Irish bands of all time.

The genius of Paul Cleary, lead singer and songwriter of the band, lay in his ability to craft both memorable love songs and standout tracks about the critical issues of his generation – boredom, unemployment and a crippling recession. Class conscious and sympathetic to socialist politics, Cleary “tried to get that into (his) music without browbeating people”.

Lending support to various worthwhile causes, The Blades played numerous benefit gigs throughout the 1980s. These included gigs for Rock Against Sexism in UCD in February 1980, for the families of those who died in the Stardust fire in 1981, for the pro-choice Anti-Amendment campaign in September 1982 and for the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid striking workers in January 1985. In 1986, they famously shunned the ‘back-slapping’ Self-Aid to play the left-wing Rock The System one-day music festival at Liberty Hall.

Brian Foley & Paul Cleary (Photographer unknown)

The Blades roots lay in their working-class, southeast Dublin 4 neighborhood of Ringsend. Spurred into action by the Punk explosion, they made their live debut as a five piece at their local Catholic Young Men’s Society (CYMS) Hall in the summer of 1977. Ironically, the plug was pulled on the gig early when the sound engineer took exception to the band playing God Save the Queen; not understanding it was The Sex Pistols version (!).

Subsequently with Cleary on bass, his brother Lar on guitar and childhood friend Pat Larkin on drums, the band were a formidable trio. The sharply dressed, melodic post-punk outfit played ‘short, punchy, guitar-driven songs’ that suited the live, intense atmosphere of their first home, The Magnet, a tough local bar on Pearse Street.  These early gigs, only enjoyed by a room full of forty or so Mods and Soul Boys, would go down as some of the best in Dublin’s live music history.

A year later, they were in The Baggot Inn playing a famous six-week residency with another fledging Dublin band – U2. Dave Fanning, who DJ’d at the gigs, recalls that parts of the crowd would leave straight after The Blades, ignoring U2. The two bands couldn’t have been more different. While Cleary and co. would unleash an assault of high-tempo, three-minute pop/soul numbers, Bono used to come on stage and tell the “crowd of a dream he had the night before’


This first line up of The Blades, which lasted from 1977 to 1982, released two fantastic singles; the catchy summer pop classic Hot For You in 1980 followed a year later with the more mature, Ghost of a Chance which dealt with love across the class divide. Disenchanted with the failure of Energy Records to proceed with the planned LP, Lar and Pat left the band.

Replaced by bassist Brian Foley (ex. The Vipers) and drummer Jake Reilly, Cleary took over guitar duties. Coupled with the horns section of the Blues Brass, a ‘couple of renegade musicians from The Artane Boys Band’, this more developed and ambitious model recorded a LP with Elektra but in a nasty turn of events, the record company, who had recently lost a substantial amount trying to break Howard Jones into the American market, decided not to release it.

Left with a finished product (recorded in London with The Smiths’ producer John Porter) but with little else, The Blades found themselves in a frustrating scenario. Luckily the record was eventually released, to critical acclaim, by the pioneering Irish label Reekus. Cleary, a life long fan of George Orwell, titled the LP The Last Man In Europe, the original choice of name for 1984.

Before their one and only studio album was released, The Blades brought out three first-rate singles. The guitar-driven The Bride Wore White in March 1982 which was voted single of the year in the Hot Press National Poll with Cleary also winning Best Irish Songwriter beating Bono, Van Morrison and Phil Lynott. It was followed later that year by Revelations Of Heartbreak, the multi-layered brass-tastic dancefloor stomper.


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Reggae in Dublin 2012

An up to date list of regular ska/reggae nights and promoters/DJs in the city. Missing anything? Leave a comment. All information correct as of March 2012.


The Expojans @ The Turks Head, Monday nights.


Weedway or Seven Deadly Skins @ Turks Head, Thursdays.


The Bionic Rats & The Real Reggae Boys DJs @ Sin E, Friday nights.


Worries Outernational DJs with guests @ Sweeney Mongrels, Saturday nights.


The Bionic Rats plus DJs @ The Foggy Dew, Sunday nights.

There’s also regular gigs from the following Reggae & Ska promoters; the Punky Reggae Party, Poster Fish, Roots Corner, Irish Moss Records/The Dirty Dubsters, Junior Spesh, Ital Vibration, Community Hi-Fi, Firehouse Skank, Irish Roots Army and Saoirse Sounds.

The following ska/reggae bands also gig regularly around the city; The Little Beauties, Pressure Drop, Skazz, The Gangsters, Present Arms , The Very Specials , The Bionic Rats, Weedway , The Reggulators , Trenchtown , Indica,  Dubtown Vibration, Promises and Lies (UB40 tribute), Intinn, The Rebel Souls, The Dubtones , The Barley Mob and the Seven Deadly Skins.

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Unlock NAMA, a fantastic campaign dedicated to the promoting the ‘access NAMA properties for social and community use and to hold NAMA to account’, are hosting a kick ass fundraiser on Saturday night in King 7, Capel St.

Warming up the night’s proceeding will be aurally pleasurable Prog band E5 Disconnect, indie pop punks Ghost Trap and crust ‘dolecore’ Twisted Mass.

Taking us into the wee hours will be Kaboogie! legend PCP, RAID’s gKB, Drum n Bass connoisseur Executive Steve (Tribe / Ancient Ways) and Monaghan’s No1. DJ of all time Welfare (Jungle Boogie/Subversus / Choonage) who has been tearing up house parties, raves and club nights with a cheeky smile since 2004.

Facebook event here. Sharing is caring.

Poster - Dermo


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Where Were You?, the magnificent 304 full colour photo book on Dublin’s youth culture and street fashion published late last year, will be back in the shops on Thursday, April 12.

The first run sold out within weeks, so you’re advised to pre-order with Garry on the website here.

In the latest issue of History Ireland, Cllr. Cieran Perry wrote a fantastic review of the book which touched on issues of class and racism in Dublin’s 1970s punk and skinhead scenes.

Last October, I had the opportunity to interview the book’s editor Garry O’Neill which resulted in articles in Rabble (Issue 2) and Look Left (Vol. 2, No.8).

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