Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Four Concerts. Four Days. Day Four.

I realise now that I forgot to post day four of my amazing Four Concerts in Four Days adventure. Here it is.

Hugh Lane Gallery: Celebrating Bartok
The Mercantile: Alan McGee v. The Jimmy Cake

Too make up the numbers, I had to go to two concerts on the Sunday. First up was a trip to the Hugh Lane for a midday concert billed as Celebrating Bartok. This gave us three pieces for piano and violin – Bela Bartok's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 enveloped by two pieces composed by Irish jazzer Ronan Guilfoyle. It was all great*.

That evening I was off to concert featuring popular local band The Jimmy Cake followed by DJing from former Creation records supremo Alan McGee, the man who gave the world Oasis (thanks Alan). This was on in a venue I was not familiar with, so I made contact with the young gentleman friend of a a Jimmy Cake member, learning from him that they would be coming onstage at around 9.30 pm.

When we arrived down at the venue at something like 9.10 there was tumbleweed blowing through it, and only the presence of Alan McGee himself at a table convinced me that we were not in the wrong place. The Jimmy Cake's appeal is becoming more selective, I thought. However, it turned out that scheduling had gone awry and everything was going to be happening a bit later than expected.

So it was that almost at 9.30 pm the first act came on – an English singer songwriter whose name we did not initially catch… could it be that we were in the presence of Creation sensation Mischka? Actually, no, it was some geezer called Craig Walker, and was not playing cod reggae tunes. I am a bit suspicious of singer songwriters, but Mr Walker seemed a bit more appealing than most, for all that members of the second support act and their entourage kept talking loudly through his short set.

The second support were in fact some fellows called The Vagabonds. They seem to have been from somewhere in Ireland other than Dublin. In appearance they looked a bit like they were a late 80s Creation band who somehow found themselves propelled forward to 2011. In musical terms, they were punky and maybe a bit shambolic. I thought possibly they showed potential, but they should do something about the shouty tuneless vocals. I was also fascinated by how one song ended with a shouted refrain of "The Workers! United! Will Never Be Defeated!" It was the 1st of May, so maybe this was their tribute to the Working Man.

And then The Jimmy Cake. I have not seen these guys in an age, so I was struck by how much they have changed. For one thing, they seem to have shed some more members, and are now a miniscule seven piece. They also seem to have changed their musical orientation, possibly based on which people have dropped from the band. While they still retain clarinet and trumpet for some tracks, they seem a lot more keyboardy and percussive now, albeit in a way that combines with guitars and suchlike. Their broader sound seems a lot more motorik, calling to mind Steve Reich or Neu! (or the Knack's 'My Sharona') far more than would previously have been the case with the band.

So I liked the Cake's new direction and would encourage people to check them out. I reckon that their old fans would be sufficiently forward thinking not to be put off by the new sound, while people who have hitherto proved resistant to the band's charms might find the new full-on Jimmy Cake more to their taste.

After the bands some geezer did a bit of DJing, and then Alan McGee took over. His playing was a bit hit and miss – great to hear The Hives and some of the other tunes, but there really is no call to be playing music by Oasis in public. Furthermore, while I love the Beatles as much as the next man, McGee's playing them something like five or six times in the hour and a half we saw of him was a bit wearing.

That ends my four gigs in four days.

*Displaying the incisive commentary that has me on the guest list for every musical event that requires subtle and descriptive analysis.

image source

An inuit panda production

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