Friday, August 26, 2011

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Is this not the greatest reincarnation of Motown's hip-shaking essence? Ok, there's quite a dose of enthusiasm there, but it's healthy. LA indie-soul heads Fitz & The Tantrums have blown my mind, they're my new favourite band (The Hives never were, sorry Hives, good title though). The piano, the brass, the vocals, the groove... reminds me of what a great song can do - make you wish you were in the band. Oh how I do.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lovey Dovey Stuff

Single Review: So In Love by Lilly Wright.

A catchy dance floor filler, So In Love's strength is that after one listen the chorus has planted itself firmly in your ear. Not a wholely original sound, Lilly Wright's vocals are effortless (see them showcased on her youtube channel) and with its slick beat and production the track sounds ready to be unleashed upon a Saturday night crowd looking for a chant and stomp. Bordering on repetitive, it would probably benefit from a chord variation in the middle, but will duly serve its purpose as a tune to groove to. 

Photograph courtesy of Sneaky Vermouth, seemed to fit the bill...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Surf's Up

In weather that'd put Marti Pellow and his cohorts to shame (and the name alone should've given that away) nobody at Sea Sessions was deterred from having anything but a damn good time. At three days and, especially by Irish standards, a pocket-friendly price, the Bundoran festival brought the intimate back in to a scene that seems to sprawl by the year. With only two major tents pitched opposite each other, catching a bit of everything was a cinch and made light work of ducking in for shelter when the rain teamed, which of course, was often. 

Ham Sandwich and the North Shore tent made fast friends, with easy banter and willing sing-a-longs kicking off the Friday evening. Japanese Popstars thumped the main tent in to oblivion, delighting fans and 'big fish little fish' shape-shifters as the evening drew to a close. Saturday was the day of the festival, with surf competitions and tag rugby on the beach and the hungover brigade taking in the sea air as a substitute for Alka Seltzer, the biggest throngs arrived despite the drizzle. The Riptide Movement got hips shaking and the first chants of the day going, not least due to their rather wired drummer with a snare perched helmet-like on his head. Ballyporeen's finest, Gemma Hayes, was the surprise of the day. Playing more tunes than most realised they could sing verbatim and livening up the afternoon with her delicate charms. 

Fresh from a stint in the States, Bell X1 revealed their latest offering Bloodless Coup in a tented sweatbox of sorts, and after a subdued start had an elated crowd take over the vocals and welcome them home. Their new Talking Heads-esque material stood as strong as its predecessors albeit with an extra helping of funk and some scuzzy bass. The inimitable (who'd even try?) Grandmaster Flash took those on cloud nine after Bell X1, up to eleven and left them there. Those with aching joints the next morning had his ninety pulsating minutes of moving and shaking to blame. Getting the laughs in early and making no apologies, Flash opened with mixes of Dexy's Midnight Runners and Matthew Wilder's naff-fest Break My Stride, proudly proclaiming "If it's a hit, I'll play it!", kicking off what could've been mistaken for the biggest wedding afters ever. Old school hits and hip hop anthems followed with healthy dollops of Bowie, AC/DC, Blondie and Eurythmics interspersed 21st century stalwarts Snoop Dogg and Jay Z. With the tent bursting to capacity and a triumphant Flash departing the stage, the over-spill of revellers went off in to the damp air in search of another party.

Over-used dancing shoes and even worse outdoor conditions saw Sunday get off to a slow start so lounging in the shelter of tents and the bar was the only thing for it for most. Fred did their best to wake up a waning crowd but succeeded in the end, after which a trip to the Eco Bus Cafe and a long journey home was on the cards. Stormy conditions and storming sets are, surely, the only way to spend a weekend in the wilds of Donegal. Well, asking for sun would just be greedy now, wouldn't it?