Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Attention Guitar Lovers!!

Guitar enthusiasts and music fans across Dublin are in for a treat this week with the return of the Walton’s Guitar Festival of Ireland. Celebrating it’s 5th anniversary, this year’s festival is set to be one of the most exciting to date with a stellar line up and an awesome calibre of workshop mentors. Sponsored by Irelands pre-eminent instrument store, Waltons , the festival features performances from some of the world’s most critically acclaimed musicians who will be strumming their way through a number of different venues throughout Dublin from July 2nd – July 6th. Not only can punters experience some of the industry greats performing live, they will also have the rare opportunity to partake in workshops headed by the likes of Australian Tommy Emmanuel , who is widely reputed to be one of the world’s best acoustic guitar players, and Joscho Stephan, who is well known for his association with Django Reinhardt and the famous Hot Club de France.


The concerts kick off on Wednesday with a lunchtime performance by festival organiser, Alec O’Leary, and continue through to the evening with highly acclaimed Italian newcomers, Soloduo. Other highlights include performances by early music ensemble Tonos, and a collaboration of music by John Feely and Paraguayan Berta Rojas at the National Concert Hall. Croatian beauty Ana Vidovic brings her unsurpassed classical style to the National Gallery on Saturday lunchtime, followed by a performance in Tripod that evening by Tommy Emmanuel (Book early for this one, he really is amazing and the show is sure to be a sell out). The festival wraps up with the spectacular Joscho Stephan Trio who play an intimate show in the Sugar Club on Saturday night. As mentioned, the live shows are peppered with workshops and classes, including an exciting opportunity for budding guitarists to partake in ‘The G Factor’, a votes based competition on Wednesday with the winners being given the chance to perform a full concert at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. The full timetable of events is available here.

Balcony TV Awards 2008

The Sugar Club, 20th June 2008

It was back to the Sugar Club for me on Friday night, this time to attend the Balcony TV Awards 2008. The awards mark the second anniversary of the show where many of Ireland’s finest new musicians have cut their teeth and made their first foray into the public eye. Started in 2006 by 3 flatmates (Stephen O’Regan, Pauline Freeman and Tom Millett), Balcony TV started out life recording up and coming Irish acts from a tiny balcony on Dame Street. The recordings quickly became an internet sensation and Balcony TV was recently nominated for a prestigious ‘Webby Award’. Balcony TV now boasts a sister site in Hamburg and rumours about expansion into the US and Europe are rife.

With free admission before 10.30 and a poster bearing the promise of FREE BEER, it was no surprise that the venue was packed tighter than a tin of sardines. Throw in entertainment from the likes of Royseven, The Kinetiks, John Spillane and Reader’s Wives amongst others, and you have all the right ingredients for a cracking showcase of the cream of new Irish talent. The awards, which came in the form of little golden guitars, were presented throughout the night by the likes of Leanne Harte (last year’s winner of the ‘Best Female’ award) and Una Mullally (journalist and Dublin music scene queen).

A special mention goes to The Kinetiks, who played an impressively tight set, and to German beatbox master, Alberto the Musicbox, who rapidly transfixed the crowd with his phenomenal ability to emulate an unbelievable variety of music genres and instruments. Check out his myspace page here.

Alberto the Musicbox

Alberto the Musicbox.
(Photo courtesy of

Right, time to get down to business. And the award goes to…..

Best Male Keith O’Brien

Best Female Luan Parle

Best International Act Apes in the Orange Grove (Netherlands)

Best Alternative Show Raven

Balcony TV Hamburg Jan Baruschke & Markus Rollwage

Best Show Zoe Conway & John McIntyre

Best Band The Script

Congrats to all the winners and thanks to the organisers for a great night!

Free Tickets Quick Reminder

Remember we have 2 double passes to give away for Damon & Naomi this Wednesday at Whelans.

Put yourself in the draw by replying to this comment or emailing me at “mytop5 at”
I’ll contact the winners on Tuesday.

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Lykke Rocks Sugar Club

Lykke Li, The Sugar Club
12th June 2008

The Sugar Club is renowned for it’s acoustically rich surroundings, perfectly suited to showcasing the honeysweet voice of Swedish songstress Lykke Li. Her impressive vocal range was particularly apparent on the beautifully melancholic Hanging High, which Lykke consideratly dedicated to “the most heartbroken person in the room”. However, I can’t help but imagine how uncomfortable it must feel to take to the tiny stage at the foot of the theatre-style seating area that overwhelms the venue and be confronted with a bunch of be-trilbied scenesters with one resounding message held in their eyes: impress me. So it’s fortunate for Lykke Li that she’s as mad as a bag of spanners then isn’t it? Following her stupendous three piece band onto stage to the beat of Dance, Dance, Dance sporting a rather impressive giant drumstick and an array of musical paraphernalia adorning her chest like an elaborate necklace, Lykke proceeded to get involved with every aspect of the musical process from start to finish. Unlike the sultry-voiced but ultimately stoic El Perro del Mar (AKA Sarah Assbring) who played support with a sufficiently nonchalant air, Lykke utilised every inch of the tiny stage, grabbing drumsticks, bellowing into loudspeakers and tooting on kazoos like a Maori tribesman on speed. Her manic exuberance was catching and before long the solitary dancing couple at the bottom of the stairs were joined by the, until now, rather inhibited crowd. The set crescendo with radio favourite I’m Good, I’m Gone followed up with a loudspeaker intro to the infectiously catchy Breaking It Up.
Following a brief stage exit, defensively declaring ‘I’m a debut artist!’, Lykke and co. heeded calls for more, asking the crowd whether they wanted to dance or cry. Needless to say, there didn’t seem to be too many morose buzz wreckers in the house so Lykke improvised by performing ragga version of I’m Good I’m Gone and delighted the crowd by breaking into a rather impressive rap which, after a few seconds of dazed confusion, became apparent as A Tribe Called Quest’s Can I Kick It? The newly elated crowed voiced their appreciation for Lykke’s enthusiasm by replying with a resounding ‘Yes you can!’
AS the gig wound up, finishing on a high note and leaving the room buzzing with energy and hankering for just a little bit more, there was a general post-gig consensus that the we, the audience, had laid witness to something just a little bit special.

Damon & Naomi, Free Tix!

Thanks to great people at Forever Presents we have a great indie band coming up and 2 double passes for you to go!

Damon & Naomi, Whelans, Wednesday 25 June.

How do you describe Damon & Naomi? Dream-pop, indie-folk, lo-fi? They’re just really good. Not flashy or extravagant. There are no grab-you-and-shake-you-by-the-collar melodies or riffs. Their music is delicate, intricate and atmospheric. A great band and a great price at 16euro.

To be in the draw for A FREE DOUBLE PASS. Leave a comment below (you’ll have to sign up but don’t worry we don’t send out anything) or email me at mytop5blog at

Listen to Damon & Naomi: ETA

Planning really far ahead

For those of you who missed the awesome but sold out Bon Iver show recently, tickets are now on sale for his next gig in October.

It’s ridiculous how far you have to plan ahead these days…

Get your tickets here.

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Future Days Festival! competition closed

From the 12-15 of June, Foggy Notions has organised the fantastic “Future Days” Festival. Split between the Andrew’s Lane Theatre and Vicar Street, the festival is showcasing some of the top alternative artists with a focus on genre defying, unique artists covering a wide variety of styles and tastes. Thanks to promoters Foggy Notions, WE HAVE 2 DOUBLE PASSES to give away for the big night on Saturday 14th featuring Dan Deacon, Deerhunter, Jape, White Williams and High Places. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post with a caption for the picture of the insane Mr. Deacon below, alternatively send me an email to

UPDATE: competition closed, congratulations Karen and Chris!

The Lineup
June 12. Andrew’s Lane Theatre. 8pm.
MATMOS Featuring: J Lesser & special guests: SI SCHROEDER
Californian duo Matmos have done it all, from lecturing at Harvard on sound art to playing for homeless teenagers. They’ve scored the soundtracks for five gay porn films, one pinball machine, and one NASCAR television commercial. Screw Bono singing from a roof, these guys are the real deal when it comes to innovation.
Listen to: Polychords

June 13. Andrew’s Lane Theatre. 8pm
LOW & special guests: ATLAS SOUND + THE HOLY ROMAN ARMY – followed by DJ DAVID KITT
Low’s minimalist, slow music helped a whole genre know known as “slowcore”. However their skills in creating atmosphere and mood are not just limited to their own brand of music as they have been known to do crazy covers of more popular artists. Support includes the excellent Atlas Sound who released the critically acclaimed “Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel” this year.
Listen: Low, Breaker

June 14. Vicar Street. 7pm
This is the big one and we’ve got tickets for you! This show is an incredible one-off opportunity to catch five of the most exciting new artists in the world on the same bill. The one man carnival-of-fun Dan Deacon makes his third visit to Dublin. If that wasn’t enough, Deerhunter bring their mish mash of ambient punk noise rock to the bill and somehow Jape, White Williams and High Places are squished into what promises to be an amazing night.
Listen to: Dan Deacon, Snake Mistakes
Deacon Caption Comp

June 14. Andrew’s Lane Theatre. 11pm
The Clampdown are providing us with a pretty awesome after show party for the big Vicar Street blow-out with an exclusive Hot Chip DJs set and regular bwoys Johnny Moy and Jamie Skillz.

June 15. Vicar Street. 8pm

Andrew’s Lane Theatre. 8pm

Andrew’s Lane Theatre. 11pm

For more info check out the foggy notions myspace

Cool Dubliners: Unarocks Mullally

Una If you live in Dublin you’ve probably bumped into Una without realising it. The woman is EVERYWHERE. Whether it’s writing articles for the Tribune, blogging at the famous Unarocks, rocking out with MeNoFemBo, talking on Phantom or RTE or just partying it up in town. We cornered Una and asked her a few questions about our favourite city.

What is your favourite thing about living in Dublin?

At the moment, the live music scene. Apart from the thriving underbelly of hard working local bands, a rising disposable income of the population, a couple of incredibly competitive promoters, and the proliferation of independent promoters has seen a dramatic increase in gigs – both big and small – venues, festivals and events. Sometimes you look at the weekend club and gig listings and realise that they rival New York and London for content and diversity. It’s pretty awesome.

Dublin Gig Guide: the next 2 weeks

May has been a monster month for gigs and June looks to be similar. So here are my choice cuts for the next 2 weeks (26th May – 9th June). It’s a Bank Holiday music extravanganza!

Radiohead at Malahide Castle. Sat & Sun 6-7 June. Do I need to say anymore? Thom Yorke and Co. deliver a great show and this should be no different. Unfortunately, tickets to both shows are sold out now but if you can snag a last minute ticket it’ll be well worth it.
Taster song: Electioneering

Hercules and Love Affair, Academy €30. Sunday 1st June. H&LA’s self titled album has been drawing praise from all corners this year. They combine catchy electro-pop hooks with some groovy soul vibes. It’s addictive stuff that will you make forget you can’t dance and hit the floor.
Taster song: Blind (feat Antony Hegarty)

Bon Iver. Crawdaddy €15. Mon 2nd June. Bon Iver (pronounced like the French for “good winter”) created a fantastic album this year by locking himself in a cabin in the wilderness and dividing his time between chopping wood and writing music. The result was a raw and lonely crop of songs delivered with a similar edginess to Ray LaMontagne. At €15 euro this would be my pick of the lot but I have a sneaky suspicion tickets might be sold out. Bring a date and you can hold hands and sway.
Taster song: Skinny Love

Local Band Picks

Large Mound. Whelans. €8. Fri 6th June. These Dublin rockers have been around for a while and are growing into one of the best rockers in town. One of the few bands in Ireland which still have guitar solos, be prepared for big distorted guitars but mixed in with a indie sound. The Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. comparisons are accurate and this could be a band that is best savoured live.
Taster Song: Cursed with the Knowledge

Jinx Lennon. Sugarclub. Fri 6th June. The Dundalk punk rapper poet is in town with support from Miss Paula Flynn (remember she did the David Bowie cover for Tipperary Water). Ticket prices not announced yet but expect them to be very reasonable <€18. Jinx’s music and social commentary can stretch from hilarious to vicious but go with an open mind and you will leave with no doubt that the man is a genius.
Taster Video from Balcony TV: Forgive the Cunts


Have I missed anything?

Barbeque Mixtapes

The recent weather has prompted a good start to barbeque season so I thought I’d take the chance to help you guys out and plug my other blog. My Top Five is a blog where every week I post my favourite songs around a particular theme or scenario. People go to the blog and leave their favourites and after a week I compile 10-12 songs together and podcast them.

This week we’re looking for songs to play at barbeques, so if you have any good suggestions or want to see what others think head over to You can also check out our previous podcasts there or on iTunes

The Barbeque Mixtape will be podcasted Friday 30th May.


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