Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

Song of today comes courtesy of Conor J. O’Brien‘s Irish creation Villagers. Taken off their Mercury-nominated 2010 debut Becoming A JackalThat Day inspires an acoustic-folky sing-along similar in essence to Mumford & Sons. Enchanting, enlightening, emotional –  I’m a converted Jackal!


Conor’s cereal bowl haircut caused quite a stir on YouTube discussions, which inevitably dissolve into a fully-waged war of verbal volleying.

Villagers are signed to Domino Records, the same London-based label as Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and The Kills, amongst others. One characteristic of the neighbourly fivesome is their ability to defy categorisation! Try finding their musical genre on their Wikipedia page. Search me.

Réalisé par Myles O’Reilly, regardez un autre clip pour la chanson The Pact (I’ll be Your Fever) ici. C’est ok Tweek?

How did The Waterboys evade me for this long? After spectating on their three-song Jools Holland set and reading StevoMusicMan’s review, I am now immersing myself in their Best Of ’81-’90 album.

Album cover – The Best Of the Waterboys ’81-’90.

Formed in 1983 by ‘madman/genius’ Scottish songwriter Mike Scott, The Waterboys have gone on to become an age-defying project that has encompassed Celtic folk and rock influences. Although an 80’s child myself (Calvin Harris has love for me), The Waterboys’ big music didn’t quite penetrate my unfused two-week-old braincase. Hence I am playing catch up as per usual!

Highlight of the Best Of disc is Ivor Novello award-winning The Whole of The Moon – a marching romp that reaches cacophony levels by the time it encounters trumpets. Funnily enough, a main feature of Don’t Bang The Drum is the walloping percussions reminiscent of any Top of The Pops 2 edition.

New tenth album An Appointment with Mr Yeats is Scott’s musical embodiment of W.B Yeats’ poetry. Sweet Dancer is a crooning melody littered with endearing piano keys and romantic lines. In the beautiful waltzing Mad as the Mist and Snow I genuinely believe the Anglo-Scottish-Irish act could have an outsider for Christmas number one. In an ideal world of course.

With The Pogues supposedly now retired from Christmas concerts following their 2010 Farewell tour, Mike Scott and co can claim the season as their own. I can just see the snow machines sprinkling winter venues now… Catch the rest of the Jools set at:

The Pogues

@ O2 Academy, Sheffield


Fabled festive farewell or not, this was a grand performance from The Pogues in a season which they dominate. The agonising wait until they take to the floor is warmed by recited choruses of Body of an American from the eager crowd.

     When the doddery Shane MacGowan finally blunders onto stage he’s greeted with a hero’s reception and passionate chants of ‘Shano’ despite appearing as if he has been unceremoniously awoken or directed away from the backstage bar. Is that a sloshing pint of vodka or water accompanying his constantly lit cigarette? For most of this evening’s gig MacGowan mutters unintelligible snippets to the crowd which tin whistle player Spider Stacy on our right translates as song introductions.

     First up is Streams of Whiskey, aptly appreciated by the average beer-fuelled bald nut at the front, followed soon after by the jumpy If I Should Fall from Grace with God. Thereafter the tempo of the set oscillates perfectly with the terrific two-paced The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn inciting a riotous response while And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda provides respite and swaying material.

     The Irish outfit also sandwich in the brass instrumental Metropolis, the beautiful accordion-led London Girl and the much anticipated, energetic The Irish Rover. Not even a minor wire-slip/blown amp sound explosion can dampen the celebratory carnival atmosphere created by the loyal gathering packed inside the often soulless Academy. This is further fuelled when MacGowan dons the band’s green and white scarf which is hurled onstage later on.

     And so The Pogues return for their encore (Shano’s fifth) which culminates in a classic rendition of Fairytales of New York which sees him grapple his female compatriot in an awkward arm-in-arm waltz under a sea of confetti. They finish with Fiesta and the baking tray head-bashing antics of Spider Stacy which, although many are too-spent to sustain their bouncing for, has the balcony viewers swinging and leaves us with a special something to hum and whistle along to into the freezing Sheffield night. This one will live long in the memory – or at least until this time next year?

Rating: 9 out of 10

This review was published by CLUAS and can be found at: