Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 - A Review!

Happy 2010 to you all. Much appreciation to you the reader for kind words and comments which only help to encourage the progression of this blog!

How was 2009 for you?

Top 3 Songs of 2009

1. Daybreak Somewhere by David Hope
2. Frozen Lake by Iain Archer
3. Bobby D by Lisa O'Neill

Top 3 Albums of 2009

1. Declan DeBarra - A Fire To Scare The Sun
2. Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album
3. Martin Finke - Make Daylight

Top 3 Performances in The 2UIBestow Sessions in Boyles, Slane

1. Kiernan McMullen [June 4th]
2. Van Cleef [August 6th]
3. Junah [December 18th]

Top 3 Music Blogs

1. Swear I'm Not Paul
2. Mp3Hugger
3. Nialler9

Top 3 Bands/Artists in terms of Attitude and all round Cuteness!

1. I Am Not Lefthanded
2. Bobby Noonan
3. Brian Canavan

Top 3 Industry Friends of 2UIBestow

1. Swear I'm Not Paul
2. Bandwagon TV/Profile Music/Backroom Navan
3. GoodSeed PR

Top 3 Sessions Nights in Dublin

1. The Glór Sessions
2. The Zodiac Sessions
3. The Song Room

Top 3 Venues in Ireland [excluding Boyles]

1. The Backroom, Navan
2. The Sugar Club
3. Whelans [main room]

Top 3 Live Performances

1. Mark Geary - Whelans [Oct 6th]
2. Damien Dempsey - Ryans, Slane [August]
3. LiveMic Weekend - Conary, Wicklow [May]

Top 3 at HWCH

1. The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
2. A Plastic Rose
3. Heritage Centre

Top 3 Personal Moments

1. Glen Hansard supported Mark Dignam in Whelans and played an intimate 6 song set in front of maybe 80 people. So intimate I'd have felt like a knob taking out the camera for YouTube!

2. The Glor Sessions late in November was a mad mad night! There's an excellent review of the night here; Have a read and give yourself a laugh!

3. I felt really proud of myself when Ham Sandwich played to a packed Boyles to kick off our monthly sessions night in June.

Any and all suggestions on the improvement of the blog is most welcome. The 2UIBestow Sessions is becomming 'Live at Boyles' and it kicks off in 4 weeks on Jan 28th in Boyles, Slane.

Here's to a great 2010!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Swell Season - Vicar Street Review

I am completely ecstatic that Glen and Marketa have found impressive success in the music world. Their music has the ability to make me go from laughing to singing to crying in a matter of minutes. Glen's voice has never sounded so passionate. The band clearly enjoyed playing in their backyard and the return of The Frames favourites in the encore capped off a perfect evening.

Fallen From The Sky [Glen & Marketa]
Lies [G & M]
Low Rising [The Swell Season]
Feeling The Pull [TSS]
In These Arms [TSS]
The Rain [TSS]
The Moon [TSS]
If You Want Me [TSS]
Fantasy Man [TSS]
Say It To Me Now [Glen Solo]
Leave [G]
Paper Cup [G]
Astral Weeks [G]
Once [TSS]
When Your Minds Made Up [TSS]


The first three songs in the encore were sung with the help of the choir from Glen's old primary school Holy Spirit School in Ballymun.

Falling Slowly [G & M]
High Horses [TSS]
Star Star - O Holy Night - Christmastime in the Mountains [TSS]
Heyday [TSS]

Encore 2

Revelate [The Frames]
The Stars Are Underground [TF]
God Bless Mom [TF]
Lay Me Down [TF]
Fitzcaraldo [TSS]

Glen finished the night with The Parting Glass in honour of Liam Clancy RIP. The inclusion of The Holy Spirit Choir was sentimental and a tad over of the top. Redemption did come in the form of Star Star and those five classic songs from The Frames back catalogue. I was urging them to keep playing songs like Fake, Seven Day Mile, Finally, Angel at my Table, Dream Awake, Santa Maria .... and it made me think WOW.... can't wait for the next concert from 'The Frames'!

Here's a video clip of Say It To Me sung completely acoustically;

Monday, 14 December 2009

Garrett Wall Band - Hands & Imperfections [Album Review]

Garrett Wall has been a feature in the Irish music scene since his debut album in 1994. The second album and his most successful to date was released in 1997 and included some great singles. According to the GWB biography Garrett went to live in Spain to escape music and found a whole new beginning. The Garrett Wall Band consists of Garrett Wall (guitar/piano/voice), Howard Brown (trumpet/voice), Robbie K. Jones (cajón) and Dave Mooney (bass/doublebass). The debut album 'Sky Pointing' was released in 2007 and the follow up is 'Hands & Imperfections'

I'm fast becoming a big fan of the Trumpet and this album is awash with it's sound. The songs are really typical of Garrett's solo career. They are well crafted pop tracks with clever lyrics and nice melodies. However the songs really do benefit from the range of Spanish influenced instruments on offer above.

Standout tracks include the wonder 'Is There No Freedom', 'Better Days' and 'The Ballad of an Exorcism'. Garrett's voice is as good as it was when I was a big fan of his solo work back in 1997. 'Hands & Imperfections' is a really good pop-rock album.

Garrett Wall Band - Han & Imperfections; [8 out of 12]

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Best Irish Songs and Albums of 2009

That institute in the blogsphere Nialler9 is asking for people to nominate their top 10 albums of the year and top 10 songs of the year. All the details are here:

Here are my lists which I'm going to copy onto the comment section of the above post;

Top 10 albums of 2009

1. Declan DeBarra - A Fire To Scare The Sun
2. Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album
3. Martin Finke - Make Daylight
4. Miss Paula Flynn - Self-titled
5. Pearse McGloughlin - Busy Whispers
6. Alphastates - Human Nature
7. Iain Archer - To The Pine Roots
8. The Chapters - Perfect Stranger
9. SEBP - Night Horses
10. You Kiss By The Book - Bear Leader

Top 10 songs of 2009

1. Daybreak Somewhere by David Hope
2. Frozen Lake by Iain Archer
3. Bobby D by Lisa O'Neill
4. Passion Song by Pearse McGloughlin
5. I Will Protect You by Heritage Centre
6. Cossfire by Bill Coleman
7. Running out of Time by Henrietta Game
8. I'm Not Afraid by Sean Needham
9. Peace in my Mind by Wayne Brennan
10. Death of a Songwriter by Groom

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Whelans 20th Anniversary [Concert Review]

On 7th December 1989 Whelans opened it's doors as a music venue on the southern outskirts of Dublin. Check out this site for a detailed history of Whelans;

"One feature of the bar is the Stone man, a life size statue of a lone Dublin drinker propped against the Stone Bar. The statue is made with fired wood chips, a sort of complex paper mache." ... taken from the link above!

Fast forward to 2009 and alot has changed in Dublin and Ireland since the post Commitment and Joshua Tree days! Last night kicked off with the hint that it would be a well organised celebration and in the end corporate Whelans stepped back and allowed our best musicians to perform to a packed house of punters making the most of the free admission!

In general each of the following eight acts had about 25 minutes of stage time;

Nick Kelly ft Sean Millar,
Juliet Turner,
Luka Bloom,
Maria Doyle Kennedy,
The Flaws,
Ham Sandwich,
Paddy Casey

Highlight #1: Maria Doyle Kennedy was a sensation with her new songs and an amazing chanting song which brought about the kind of sing-song that has made Whelans survive 20 years. 'Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas' was a real treat!

Highlight #2: It was great to hear Paddy Casey sing 'Sweet Suburban Sky' and reminded me of how much I liked his debut.

Highlight #3: I'll never get tired of hearing Ham Sandwich perform 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush. However what topped this was Niamh joining Mundy onstage for 'To You I Bestow'

Hidden Highlight: Mundy didn't sing 'Galway Girl' and slagged off David Kitt who he was replacing on the bill!

Low light: The lack of a compere or MC resulted in a lack of focus. Some of the acts shared Whelans stories but there was a sense that these artists were just happy to play to a packed crowd on a Monday night!

My hope for Whelans is that their focus is on good quality music rather than just focus on the bottom line of till receipts! Here's to many more years in Whelans!