Thicke'ing' all the right boxes but leaving 5 Marooned
This Post was submitted by Guest Blogger Amy Connolly.I saw Maroon 5 perform in the o2 in late January of this year. I had waited a long time to see them as they were initially supposed to be in Dublin June 2013, but postponed their dates by nearly half a year! As their new date did approach I was pleased to see that Robin Thicke was their support act! In fact, I think, as the date got closer, I was more looking forward to Robin Thicke than Maroon 5.Robin Thicke's performance on the night was fantastic. Everyone there seemed to enjoy it. He made use of every inch of the stage strutting his stuff. His songs were fun and light with bags of swagger. I would definitely get a ticket to see him again. If you would like to hear his album 'Blurred Lines' check out the deluxe edition available at the Music Library. His performance of his chart-topping hit 'Blurred Lines' on the night was fantastic. It was bouncy, fun and had everyone moving to the beat. Thicke is an all round entertainer; he can sing, he can dance and most importantly he can draw every single member of his audience in to enjoying every moment he’s on stage.Maroon 5 flawlessly executed their night’s set list; the tunes were energetic and had everyone dancing. They were so good that it was like listening to them on CD or the radio. If you would like to hear their albums then take a look at what’s available at the Music Library, you won’t be disappointed. There was energy in their performance on the night but it lacked something. It was enjoyable but not inspiring. But, as I have already said there were no errors or mistakes detectable in their work, it was technically perfect, but that might be what was wrong – it lacked heart.Unfortunately having waited so long to see them live I was disappointed by a couple of things on the night:Firstly, there was virtually no crowd interaction between front man Adam Levine and fans. It was as if he just wanted to get through the night, do his songs and head off home. I do understand it can be difficult for artists to be "on" all the time but when thousands of people have paid for their tickets I think you should at least pretend to like where you are for a couple of hours.Secondly, wherever you are, no matter what, surely everyone knows you should never toe away a flag thrown on stage for you from your loving fans, pushing it off the stage on to the floor. Part of me wonders did Mr Levine know that it was actually the flag of Ireland and therefore was ignorant of why it had being thrown onto stage for him. This would explain another mystery - part of the act involved a large screen at the back of the stage displaying a Union Jack and shots of London and other places in the UK. Perhaps all Adam Levine is guilty of is not being good at geography. Let’s hope so.Despite these two aforementioned criticisms a great night was had. I think Maroon 5 did make up for leaving fans waiting so long to see them after cancelling their show scheduled originally for the previous summer, however, it was not by an unbelievably inspiring or awesome performance, which never materialised on the night, but rather the inclusion of the 'Blurred Lines' hit maker as their support act. All was forgiven from the moment Robin Thicke took to the o2 arena stage and it was clear on the night that the entertaining Robin Thicke overshadowed an under-performing Maroon 5.
DESERT ISLAND PICKSSo. If you were marooned on a desert island, and could have only one book, one film, and one cd with you, what would they be? Frankly I’m doing well to get it down to five of each: choosing just one is incredibly difficult, and, in a couple of months time, I’d probably give completely different answers. It all depends on what mood we’re in, and where we are in our lives. So I’ve simply gone with: which ones do I keep coming back to over time. Feel free to post your own up. BOOKWatership Down by Richard Adams. I was given this as a present when I was 9. I ignored it for a few months, because, despite the picture of the rabbit on the cover, I assumed it was something to do with ships: eventually I read it, and a love affair was born. I still have my original copy, held together with sellotape, and with my name and address written on the edge in marker (the full address, ending in Earth, The Universe). I read it every 3 or 4 years, and I still get completely involved each time, even though I know it backwards.These are no Beatrix Potter bunnies, dressing up in trousers and going off to work in the office. There has to be some element of anthropomorphism, obviously, or there’d be no story, but Adams keeps it to a plausible minimum, and portrays them as authentically as possible within that frame, while giving them distinct, rounded personalities: the visionary Fiver; intelligent Blackberry; macho Bigwig; crazy Woundwort; and peevish Hawkbit, the only rabbit I’ve ever wanted to slap.It can be read as an allegory, I suppose, with Woundwort and Efrafa representing totalitarianism, but that’s turning it into too much work for my liking. I read it as a story – exciting, sad, scary, inspiring, engaging, and very very imaginative. FILMI’m not really much of a film person, I lack the attention span for them, but there are a few that make it through my lack of visual awareness. Harold and Maude turns the idea of love on its head, and manages to be simultaneously dark, light, daft, clever, quirky, and sweet. It covers the big themes – love, fear, death, freedom – in a very low-key and flaky way that’s beautifully humane and life-affirming. Cat Stevens provides the soundtrack that catches the mood perfectly. MUSICGuitar legend Richard Thompson proves his versatility in 1000 years of popular music. Literally what it says on the tin. Alongside Thompson are Judith Owens (Mrs Harry Shearer) on keyboards, and the magnificent Debra Dobkin on drums; and between the three of them they take us through the centuries, beginning with some seriously catchy medieval songs and covering pretty much every genre along the way, including ballads, music hall, honky tonk, a glorious version of The Easybeats’ ‘Friday on my mind’, before delivering a very tongue-in-cheek rendition of Britney’s ‘Oops I did it again’. The box set comes with 2 CDs (perfect for singing along to in the car) and a DVD of the gig, which includes all the between-song banter. Rich, versatile, educational in the best sense of the word.
This Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.A 'Killer' Show: Live at the o2 Arena and Phoenix Park DublinThe Killers released their new album 'Direct Hits', a best of collection recently. Their previous album 'Battle Born' hit the shelves in late 2012 and gave me the opportunity to see them play live not once but twice during 2013! It was very interesting seeing them perform in two very different venues. They are equally amazing to listen to in the enclosed environs of the o2 arena and the outdoor setting of the Phoenix Park in July. Both venues providing great sound quality and listening experiences for fans. My boyfriend and myself attended their sell-out show in the o2 in February, the tickets were a gift for my boyfriend’s birthday, and he had a fantastic night, particularly listening to his all time favourite song 'Mr. Brightside'. The rock band’s show was energetic and called for lots of dancing throughout the night.During the performance at the o2 arena I was particularly impressed with the overall attitude The Killers had to their fans, particularly when a fight broke out between two men in the centre of the standing area. Rather than continuing to play as the men fought, lead singer Brandon Flowers stopped singing and called for his band mates to stop playing. Speaking directly to those causing the disturbance Flowers appealed to them to make peace and return to enjoying the show, and to stop ruining the atmosphere for others attending the show. It was a remarkable show of respect and care from the band for their fans and one that when witnessed can’t easily be forgotten. When the interruption was over the band returned to playing their music and continued to entertain their Irish fans with the same enthusiasm and high spirits as they had started with earlier on that dank February night.Going to their second gig in Dublin for 2013 in the Phoenix Park was an equally rocking experience. We were lucky with the fine dry weather that Saturday summer’s evening. The walk from the LUAS stop at Heuston to the site in the Park was unforgettably long. By the time we entered the concert and cleared security checks, we were happy to sit on the dry grass in the sunshine. Unlike the o2 arena, being an unseated venue, there was plenty of room to comfortably stand away from the main stage and still fully enjoy the performance.The Killers didn’t fail to provide a great night’s entertainment. The only criticism my boyfriend had of his favourite band was the omission of 'Flesh and Bone' from the night’s set. They played songs from their recent album Battle Born and hits from their previous albums such as the smash hit 'Hot Fuss', and unlike their concert in the o2 earlier in the year they threw in a few covers of popular songs, including an unusual and catchy rendition of Tiffany's 'I Think We’re Alone Now', indeed a cover itself.My favourite song of both nights’ was 'Someone Told Me'. The song, as fans already know, is catchy, the lyrics fun, and listening to it live was fantastic. I don’t think its possible to really appreciate The Killers music without experiencing their rocking tunes live, however if you are not already a fan you should checkout the Dublin City Public Libraries online catalogue or drop into your local branch to reserve one of their albums. You can’t help but dance and sing along to the infectious riffs of their songs, their music is truly impossible to resist.I look forward with great anticipation to seeing them play live again in the future, but in the meantime I’ll plunder the library catalogue. I urge you to do so too.AlbumsHot Fuss (album, 2004)Sam's Town (album, 2006)Sawdust (compilation album, 2007)Day and Age (album, 2008)Battle Born (album, 2012) not in stockDirect Hits (compilation album, 2013)
This Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.I recently saw a Christmas bucket list of things everyone should do before the Christmas holidays and one in particular caught my eye; see a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This entry jumped out at me because I received tickets for my birthday to see The Monica Loughman Ballet School perform The Nutcracker in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Dublin City Public Libraries has many items in stock that will allow you to accustom yourself to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. There are children's books that will allow little ones to become familiar with the story behind this ballet and there are also CDs in the Music Library which allow you to hear the incredible and awesome compositions of this 19th century Russian genius. I particularly recommend Swan Lake for the uninitiated.The performance was mesmerising. The dancers were dressed in beautiful costumes with a wintry theme complimented by the finely decorated scenery. A large Christmas tree covered in twinkling white lights dominated the stage from the moment the deep green curtains opened. The performance was filled with fun and wonder, a perfect Christmas night out.The dancers were elegant in their movements; each and every movement performed with ease and exquisite precision. Seeing such talented ballet dancers perform you can’t help but be struck by the awesome visual impact this type of dance has. You find yourself thinking how impossible some of the movements appear. It is wonderful to experience The Nutcracker live; it is a feast for your eyes and your ears. Listening to Tchaikovsky music and seeing the beautifully choreographed ballet fills you with a childish excitement, which greatly adds to anyone’s Christmas. The performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier is hypnotically spellbinding.There is little more I can say, as words can't describe the beauty of the performance, as it is simply magical. This really does deserve its place on everyone’s Christmas bucket list. It is enjoyable for all ages, definitely something for all the family.
Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.The Velvet Underground were formed in 1964 and played as the house band in Andy Warhol's Factory. Reed and John Cale were the main composers. Their first Album The Velvet Underground and Nico is so unusual, some tracks sound like Bo Diddley duelling with a violin and other tracks are so achingly beautiful and simple the album is hard to forget. There is no point in me trying to explain it, just listen! It is still one of the most unusual records I have ever heard. When you look back to what was happening in the charts at the time, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, The Doors, the world was not ready for The Velvet Underground.The album only sold 30,000 copies, but as musician Brian Eno said "each one of those people who bought the record started a band".Lou Reed went on to record twenty solo albums after The Velvet Underground disbanded. He died of complications following a liver transplant.His life partner is artist Laurie Anderson.
A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.O'Neil travelled around Dublin meeting people to look through their albums and hear about the scenes that were happening at the time. He also received material from different parts of the globe offered by people who had emigrated. The chapters are organised by decades starting with the 50s and 60s.Each chapter has a very readable preface setting the scene for that era by mentioning clubs,dances, streets and shops that were frequented by young people. They also include quotes from people who were interviewed, here is a very good one from the 50s and 60s "You dressed like your folks or you look like you were dressed by your folks". The pages of photographs also have ticket stubs from gigs, posters and flyers for clubs and really cute adverts from the time.It also documents the violence that sometimes surrounded street culture for example the Boot Boys and Skinheads in the seventies. So from suave suits in the sixties to break dancing, skateboarding and raving in the nineties I would highly recommend buying this book. If you've been stuck out in the suburbs for a while borrow or buy this book and you will remember just how colourful Dublin can be.Another interesting layer to this book is O'Neil's collaborator Niall McCormick who is a great graphic artist based in Dublin. Has designed book covers for O'Brien and Lilliput press. After you have enjoyed "Where Were You?" feast your eyes on Niall's website.
Doc Watson was the best American Folk guitarist that lived. He died on the 29 May 2012 at the age of 89. He was born into a musical family and lost his sight before his first birthday. Although he never had a hit record or was in the American Billboard chart, he was a leader of the American folk music that became commercially popular particularly through the Coen Brothers film, "O Brother Where Art Thou?". His distinctive style was born out of playing fiddle parts in a country swing band. Before that the guitar was a background instrument to the ukulele and fiddle. His lightening quick finger and flat picking style is a pleasure to listen to as it accompanies his mellow voice filled with sincerity.He has won seven Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.The Album Trouble in Mind is a compilation of performances and background of the earliest folk and blues songs that inspired him while growing up.I think if you are new to his music then The Essential Doc Watson Volume 1 is a great place to begin. Both of these titles and more are available in the Music Library. There is also a biography available called Blind But Now I See.If you are a fan of the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album Raising Sand, then you are familiar with an original Watson song, Your Long Journey. Just go to www.youtube.com, and type his name in, enjoy!
There's some lovely stuff in our new stock, I came across these gems.I'll start with Under the Ivy: The story of Kate Bush. Kate Bush.... need I say more? No, but I will remind you that she was the first female artist ever to have a UK number one with a self penned song at the age of nineteen. This book is a series of interviews with people who worked closely with her throughout her career. To quote the Mojo Magazine (which is held in the Music Library) it's a "compelling examination of her music". Get your boxfresh copy now. Something old and something new for Sandy Denny, who would be to British folk music what Kate would be to British pop. I came across this Sandy Denny Live at the BBC DVD and Cd set in the new stock in the Music Library.The DVD has some spine chilling moments with the great dame performing solo with self accompaniment on guitar and piano. The music CD is such a treat I've been playing it non stop at home. If you would like to find out more about the lady behind the wonderful voice you can check this book out which has been hanging out on our shelves for a few years, No More Sad Refrains: The Life and Times of Sandy Denny. A well written account of a very talented and much too short life.And to round things off I found this little book in the new book section of the Music Library: English and Scottish Ballads by James Child.
Hello again,this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.The narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.The other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. Apart from the drug and alcohol accounts (which can be pretty boring just reading about someone else's good time) this is an insightful account of how The Rolling Stones started out and just how hard they worked, in one year they had just two days off!Also if you play guitar you will appreciate the detailed information on how he developed his sound. So enjoy this month's picks and let me know what you think!