Friday, August 24, 2012

Popical Island All-Dayer

Popical Island is a local record label. Somewhat unusually for Dublin, they specialise in indie-pop music, something there had never really been much demand for here. As well as releasing records and stuff they also do occasional all-day musical events, like this one (which was on in the unappealing upstairs venue in Whelans). And I went to it, with my beloved and visiting Englishman Matt B (his name abbreviated to give the false impression that Matt Berry is our friend), as much because it was free and because we could not think of anything better to do than out of any real enthusiasm. And we actually drifted along quite late in the day too, as we did not know any of the bands playing and so had nothing particularly pressing to bring us along earlier. One annoying result from this was that we just missed Tieranniesaur, Popical's star band and an outfit who have a strong live reputation. They had not been publicised as playing and if I had known they were on the bill I would have raced down to see them.

The first actual band we saw were called Groom. Their main guy is apparently one of the main movers behind the whole Popical business. They turned out to be not unpleasant. They were appealingly melodic and had nice songs that referenced now long forgotten British comics from when I was small, so they are obviously one of the best things ever. They also had a song called 'Don't Listen To The Voices', words of wisdom we should all heed.

Next up was… eh, not sure, actually. I thought I had noted these important details, obviously not. This band were somewhat punky. I quite liked them but my beloved thought they were total rubbish. They did have somewhat poncey haircuts, something increasingly hairless me has increasingly little tolerance for.

And then there was Grand Pocket Orchestra. They may have had something going for them musically, maybe, but their really big problem for me was their lead singer, who liked himself a lot more than I did. Mine might however be a minority view, as there seemed to be quite a few people in the audience, especially young ladies, whose fondness for the singer was only slightly less than his own self-regard. But it was still enough to put me off the band completely. Apparently there is actual footage of them playing at this event. I would like to think that the camera pans through the mostly adoring crowd and then briefly alights on me looking old and unimpressed at the back.

At this point we realised that each band we had seen had been less interesting than the one before it, and that there were still more to come, so we cut our losses and left. I did pick up a copy of the second Popical Island compilation. It is now available for free on the Internet, as are the first and third, so you can download it for yourself if you want (I will not link to it as I want delay for as long as possible the Grand Pocket Orchestra people finding this blog and then getting Popical on my arse, but it should be eas). I think this would be worth doing, if only to hear the wonderful track 'Here Be Monsters' by Tieranniesaur. It is stylistically very different from its peers, having a kind of groove and vague resemblance to tracks like Fleetwood Mac's 'Sisters of the Moon' that puts it on a different level to the other indiepop tunes on the compilation.

The other tracks are not unentertaining, though I must admit that I have not listened to them that closely yet. That said, there is at least another entertaining one - 'Popicalia', by the wonderfully named Retarded Cop. It has a perky beat and lyrics about the singer's ineffectual attempts to cop off with some young lady (sample lyric 'If I'd known you were a vegetarian / I wouldn't have served you pork"). As the song goes on he brings her to a Popical Island event, but unfortunately things still go horribly wrong ("If I'd known you were a fucking lunatic / I mightn't have asked you out"). On a first listen I suspect the Hired Hands track might also repay further listening.

I wonder if it was just coincidence that this all-dayer took place while the Indietracks festival was on in darkest Derbyshire? If I was one of the people who ran Indietracks, I would be looking at the Popical Islands roster for bands to play at next year's event. As with Indietracks, even if the music of the Popical Islanders is largely not for me, I am glad it exists.

Pandical Island

An inuit panda production

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