Monday, December 15, 2008

Multitouch gestures on new firefox beta for Mac

Last week I downloaded the new beta of firefox for my mac (3.1b). I usually don't download beta versions of products I use regularly, but the the fact that I could use multitouch gestures on the trackpad of my macbook was reason enough to try it. I am really pleased I did. It is even better than what you can do in Safari. So far, they have implemented:
  • swipe: move three fingers on the trackpad on any direction
  • twist: rotate two fingers
  • pinch: move two fingers away or closer to each other
And the actions you can perform with the different gestures:

  • Swipe Left: Go back in history [press Cmd to open it in a tab]
  • Swipe Right: Go forwards in history
  • Swipe Up: Go to the top of the page
  • Swipe Down: Go to the end of the page
  • Pinch Together: Zoom out
  • Pinch Apart: Zoom in
  • Twist Right: Next tab
  • Twist Left: Previous tab

It is available on Mac's with multitouch trackpa, including the Mac Book Air, the MAc Book Pro's releaed in early 2008, and the new laptops released later in 2008.

Download it and enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas FM! What the... well, it's for a good cause

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I got into a shop in town and after the usual Christmas song finished, on came a DJ announcing that we were listening to Christmas FM, Ireland's first all Christmas Radio Station, broadcasting on 89.9 FM.

That sounds crazy!!!

But hey, what the heck if you want to feel christmasy, just tune to Xmas FM, on the radio or on the web, and the most important thing is that it is for a good cause. All proceeds from their broadcasts will go to aid the ISPCC.

Check them out on

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Favourite Albums of 2008

A number of bloggers are coming out with the list of favourite albums of 2008. The swear I'm not Paul blog has a link to some of them on this post. Here is mine, somewhat different from what you will find out there. When I started, I thought I would only be able to pick 2 or 3, but I had trouble stopping at 15. Here they are:
  1. Asia - Phoenix. (The return of the original 80's supergroup lineup!)
  2. Marillion - Happiness is the Road
  3. The Raconteurs - Consolers for the Lonely (Check their wensite... pretty cool retro stuff)
  4. Polar Bear - Polar Bear
  5. Light Speed Champion - Falling of the Lavender Bridge
  6. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  7. Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew
  8. Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
  9. Aimee Mann - @#%&*! Smilers
  10. Alanis Morissette - Flavors of Entaglement
  11. Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns
  12. Fight Like Apes - Fight Like Apes and the Mistery of the Golden Medallion
  13. Cat Power - Jukebox
  14. Coldplay - Viva la vida
  15. Curios - Closer
Not sure if these two count as they are live albums, which can be seen as greatest hits, but I sure liked them:
  • Suzanne Vega - iTunes Live: London Festival '08
  • The Police - Certifiable
As for the my favourite albums that I bought this year, they are a couple of old Porcupine Tree albums. I discovered PT last year, I am not sure how they flew under my radar for so long. But that's a story for a different day:
  • Stupid Dream
  • Lightbulb Sun
2008 has been a great year for music!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lotus Symphony on the Mac!

Finally, last Wednesday (November 5th, 2008), IBM released the long awaited version of Lotus Symphony for Mac as part of the version 1.2 update. Despite the fact that IBM is using the old name for the GUI version of Lotus 1-2-3, that's where the similarities end... I am a bit annoyed that IBM didn't respect the '/' menu options on the spreadsheet product... but I digress.

IBM Lotus Symphony is a free office suit that has a word processor, spreadsheet and a presentation program. It supports the OpenDocument format (ODF), as well as the binary Microsoft Office and Lotus Smartsuire formats. One of the really good features is the fact that it can export documents in PDF format.

Symphony is based on OpenOffice techoloy and uses the Eclipse Rich Client for it's framework.

It is available fon Windows, Linux and Mac, and best of all it's free!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Brazilian GP 2009

I can't believe the final Grand Prix of the season. It has been the most thrilling end to a race I have ever seen... let alone a championship. The title changed hands so many times during the race, it was unbelievable.

I felt really bad for Felipe Massa, he did everything he was supposed to do. He finished the race and for 38.9 seconds he was the World Champion! Vettel did his work for Ferrari overtaking Hamilton with 2 laps to go. And you have to admit that Glock's slowness looked a bit suspicious, but I have to admit he was driving under very hard circumstances. Being a Ferrari fan for many years, I would have preferred to have seen them won the championship. Well, there is always next year. Whatever I think of Lewis Hamilton, he really is an excellent driver.

By the way, there is an interesting interview with Glock posted to this website:

Brazilian GP: in the Glock

Sunday, October 26, 2008

marillion - happiness is the road

Earlier this week I received my copy of happiness is the road, Marillion's 15th studio album, which you can only buy physically from the website, except in the US and Poland.

Although it is a double Album, it is being sold as 2 albums, unless you buy the Deluxe Campaign Edition, which is what I did. This edition comes in a special package with additional artwork, and the list of all people that pre-ordered the album before it was even completed. My name is listed there amongst a million other. This is essentially how Marillion funds their recordings these days, they get the money for the album before it is even completed from the fans. The have been doing this since Anoraknophobia back in 2001.

You can also download the album on various different formats from their site, as well as iTunes, an I'm sure a few others.

I believe this is far better than the last two albums. Somewhere Else had a couple of really good tracks, but overall lacked consistency, and Marbles, well, I could never really get into it. Although Marbles has received a lot of good reviews, maybe I should really give it another go.

The first CD, Essence. is a a bit more laid back than your usual Marillion album. And it struck me as I was listening to it that Mark Kelly's Piano featured heavily which is unusual. You can always hear the keyboards, but as layers on the song. This time around it adds a different dimension, which I really like. Over the years, they have influenced a number of artists, but in Essence, you can hear their influences, and it is as if they were paying tribute to them, from Pink Floyd to the Beach Boys, and if you read the press release, it even lists Interpol (Anybody else thinks that's strange?) as one of their influences. You can definitely hear the influences all along, it is even good to hear a guitar solo or two from Steve Rothery that reminded me of the Marillion sound of the Fish years.

The second CD, The Hard Shoulder, is my favourite at the moment, and it brings me back to Albums like Afraid of Sunlight and The Strange Engine. It is a beautiflly layered album, where you can hear the playing a bit more. I have been a big fan of Pete Trewavas since I first tried to learn how to play Kayleigh. One of my favourite gigs was when I saw them in Vicar Street for the Anoraknophobia tour and I was standing just a couple of meters from him and was able to see how he played some of the songs. He supports the songs through different melodies that weave through the layers of the tracks.

I think this is a more accessible Marillion than in recent years, yet it won't dissapoint the hard core fans. But what do I know about this, I have been listening t this type of music for a long time, so of course I will find it accessible. It is difficult to name a favourite song at this stage. It is too much music to take in in only a few listens. However, at the moment "Whatever is wrong with you" its at the top of my list.

Marillion seeded the music on torrent sites before the album was released, in a move that caused a lot of controversy amongst the fans that had pre-ordered the album. However, when you download the album this way, you get a message from the band asking you that if you liked the music, to go to their website and check out other stuff.

Overall, Happiness is the Road is a great album! You should at least try it from the torrent sites, and o and buy it if you liked it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Suzanne Vega - Tom's Essay

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis is Measure for Measure, a blog published by the NY Times about how to write songs. One of the contributors is Suzanne Vega, who I have been a fan of for the last 21 years... ever since I heard Luka on the radio for the first time.

Her blog entry published yesterday talks about the song Tom's diner. It tells the story of the song the remixes and the MP3 algorithm. Not ony Suzanne is a great songwriter, she is also an excellent story teller. It really is a pleasure to read.

Incidentally, the new iTunes Live in London release has a very interesting version of the song where the esentially play the DNA arrangement rather than the usual a capella version of the song. The album itself is an excellent download as it is Suzanne Vega playing on a trio, which is quite unusual. I have seen her live with a four and a five piece band, and with a duo with her bass player only, but never as a trio. Excellent!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lisa Hannigan - See Sew

What can be better than a new album that starts with a couple of a riff on a doublebass. It is quite unusual to listen to new "pop" music these days played with acoustic instruments.

There is a good review on the Swear I'm not Paul blog.

Let me just add a couple of things. In my honest opinion, this is the album that Damien Rice could have produced. The music styles are very similar, but this See Sew is so much better achieved. The arrangements are so simple, but they fill the space beautifully. I agree with the review, "I don't know" is the best song in the album.

Interestingly, the album is being published by Lisa herself. It can be bought in the shops Ireland, and online only from her website It is not available from the usual download sites.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Asia Live in London - December 3, 2006

I know I will get a lot of flack for this one... a couple of years ago I realised one of my musical dreams when I saw the original members of Asia for the first time. I just came across this in YouTube.

I had seen ELP, Yes, and eve Asia with John Payne, but nothing quite like this. It was excellent. I was about 2 metes away from Steve How on the left hand side!

By the way, if you notice carefully, John Wetton is playing bass in a very unorthodox way. The reason is that he had carpel tunnel syndrome, and he couldn't play with his fingers, he had to tape a thumb pick to his thumb in order to play. Despite this his playing was incredible, they even played roundabout and in the court of the crimson king, and he didn't miss a bit!

iPod Touch 2.1 - First Impressions

After a lot of hassle I managed to install version 2.1 on my iPod Touch. I haven't had a lot of time to play with it, but I have founf two really good things.
  • Lyrics are finally supported
  • Additional information for podcasts is now visible
  • Genius Playlists (I haven't found the button that generates them, but then again, I am not sure if I synched after I enabled them in iTunes)
  • Faster backups
  • Changes in UI
  • Ability to turn off individual sound effects
  • For the first time I noticed the parental controls, but not sure if they have been there for a while
Any more, let me know

I found a couple more things... after synching aain, now genius is enabled on the iPod. It is a cool feature, it generates 25 song playlists based on whatever song you are playing
  • When you have a partially heard podcast, you get a half full dot beside it, before you only had the dot wen it was new and nothing if you had started. Presumably this is the same for movies and prgrammes
  • The shuffle and repeat buttons are now below the ong slider, which makes it easier to choose a particular part of the song.
  • Album details are now also below the song when you are playing a track

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Behind the bass guitar - Duke Special in Dublin

Last Friday (August 22nd), Duke Special played in the National Concert Hall here in Dublin, I'm sorry I missed it!

Below is a link from Simon Little's Blog that gives a little view of what it means to be a "hired gun" with an established artist. Simon's main gig is currently with the Divine Comedy.

If you haven't checked Duke Special, do it now.

I'd be interested to hear any reviews of the show from the audience's point of view.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

A simple database on the iPhone / iPod touch

I have been looking for a simple application to have a few databases that I can carry around on my iPod. There are quite a few on the other mobile platforms, mainly Windows Mobile and Palm. I was surprised at first that I couldn't find anything... but now I have.

First, the ones I didn't go for, and my reasons why. Remember that essentially what I am looking for a simple app to carry information that I have on my computer.

  • FMTouch. This is essentially FileMaker Pro in your Pocket. It looks really good, and it seems that data replication is quite simple. This is what I was looking for, but the price is a bit steep. Specially since I don't have my data in FM, so I would have to get a licence for that as well. It sells for €54.99 on the Irish iTunes store! This is really a commercial offering and not for me. Worth a look!

  • iDB Datamaster. It comes in 2 flavours, Lite and Pro. Interestingly, the two versions use a different backend strategy for their databases. The lite version, which sells for €3.99, has a limited number of records that it can hold, and they have to be distributed evenly across multiple database (odd!). Pro goes for €10.49. The big issue for me here is that you don't have control over the structure of your database, you have to use their templates, and importing external data seems like a real chore. I gave this a miss as well.

So I went for CSV Touch. A very simple application that lets you load CSV (comma separated values) files directly from a web server or via ftp, and then you can display them in a list and do searches and sorts. It is very lightweight and it does exactly what I need. Brilliant.

There are a couple of neat features, like the fact that you can have links within the fields of your list and can move the columns around or sort using different columns or choose different code sets.

And the best part, it is only €1.59!

What I have now, is a number of exports from my Derby databases, that I can publish through the built in Apache server on my Mac that I can load on my iPod to carry around for reference.

The only thing I need now is a front end to run SQL queries against the sqlite database engine that comes with th OS.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RTE Web Coverage of the Olympic Games

As I was crawling over lots of links yesterday, trying to get live coverage of the Olympic Games on the web, I was getting more and more frustrated. The sites I found with good content were country specific, and the official site has Windows as a pre-req.

I should have looked close to home, RTE has good coverage on their website, where you an pick from a number of live feeds, and in both WMV and Real formats, so mac friendly!

Here is the link:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Polar Bear at Crawdaddy (Dublin) - July 18, 2008

It is not often that you get t see jazz musicians of the calibre of Seb Rochford in Dublin. Last Friday Polar Bear gave the small crowd in Crawdaddy a rare treat. They played a short but very intense set of about 1 hr and 15 minutes which was mainly made of songs from their new album which was released barely a week ago. Each song included some improvisations and went on for considerably longer than the versions on the albums.

Seb Rochford is an incredibly talented drummer, who has worked with many people including Herbie Hancock and Brian Eno. I was fortunate to be standing about 2 meters from where he was playing and it was qute interesting to see how he kept the beat during the songs with his left foot on the hi-hat while the songs canged tempo. You know this is always going on when jazz is being played, but it is something else when you can see it first hand.

On the double bass Tom Herber didn't put a foot wrong, whether he was playing a walking bass line, a syncopated bass line or simply playing root notes. It has been a long time since I've seen a goof double bass player.

Leafcutter John was playing the mandolin and the "electronics", which basically means that he was triggering samples and noises through his powerbook. You can read more about him, ad the software he uses on the wikipedia and his own site. It blew me away, he was standing there with the laptop and at times he was sampling and playing what was happening on stage. At some point he was able to do a solo of something that soundes similar to a sax with the touchpad on his mac.

The group was rounded up by Mark Lockheart and Pete Wareham on tenor sax.

The setlist:

Hope every day is a happy new year
I am alive
Appears, moves and sails
The king of Aberdeen

To touch the red brick

The image comes from by Brian O'Connor, and yes, the hair looks bigger in person!

Fight Like Apes - Something Global

Last Friday a headed into town as I was going to see Polar Bear, so I decided to go in early to catch Fight Like Apes for the launch of their new single "Something Global". It was really worth my while! I was treated to a set of all their songs, which you can get through their singles only at this time.

The sound wasn't excellent, and at times they didn't seem to fit, but I think it is more the venue than themselves. They are new and they still need to get experience, but they are good. They have been getting a lot of good press in the UK through BBC's Steve Lamacq and the Huw Stephens and their BBC Introducing shows, and I can see why. I am tempted to go to Castle Palooza in a couple of weeks time to see them play live in a proper concert setting

Not all their songs a radio friendly, but "Something Global" seems to be. I do hope they do well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Single - Fight Like Apes

Fight Like Apes will release their new single Something Global tomorrow with a gig in Tower Records in town. It will be a numbered limited edition.

The single is already available in iTunes and

Check them out!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

iPod Touch 2.0 Software update - first impressions

The 3G iPhone was out yesterday. That meant that the software update for iPod Touch was out yesterday as well, unfortunately the apple servers were overloaded with requests for new iPhone activations and were acting up. Finally this morning I was able o download the update.

First you have to download iTunes 7.7, that worked first time yesterday through software updates!

Then, after you have downloaded the full 222MB (and paid €7.99 for it), the process backs up your iPod, completely replaces everything, restores your settings, and finally your music. It takes a long time to do this!

My initial views... not much has changed from the previous version with the exception of the new "App Store". The additional applications that came out earlier in the year, are now part of the OS. Couple of good things that I have found so far, you can now take screen shots (press and hold the home screen, and then press the power button for a couple of seconds. When you let it go, the screen will flash white, and you will have a new picture in your photo library) and the fact that you can now save picture attachments from mail to the iPod for external viewing.

I had a few problems trying to synch applications. It took a few attempts before applications downloaded on the iPod transferred to my Mac and vice versa.

The mac rumours website has an iPod touch forum that might be useful as some users are having problems with the update.

I need to pick a couple of applications. Any recommendations?

Friday, July 11, 2008

New blogs added to my blog roll

I have just added a few blogs to my blog roll on the right. A couple of them are bass related:
  • Simon Little's Blog. Simon is the current bass player with the Divine Comedy. He also has a podcast where he posts homemade solo bass songs. Check him out
  • The Bass Guitar Blog. Self explanatory.
I also added a new blog about live music around dublin and new album reviews:
Let me know if you know of any other blogs worth reading

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pete and the Pirates

Over the last year or so, there have been a lot of new groups popping all over the place, some of them very good including The Ting Tings, Blood Red Shoes, Los Campesinos and many more. My Favourite one is Pete and the Pirates. Here is a link to their video Mr Understanding in YouTube.

By the way, check out Fight Like Apes, a Dublin band that is starting to make a name for themselves, they played the BBC introducing stage in Glastonbury last weekend and are playing Castle Palooza later in the summer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mike Scott's return to the west of Ireland

I just came across this really eloquent piece from Mike Scott (from the Waterboys) that describes his journey into the west of Ireland for a session with Sharon Shannon. It is a good read!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amy Winehouse in Glastonbury (BBC)

Did anybody see Amy Winehouse in Glastonbury? I just saw the broadcast on BBC3 and it was quite scary. She kept on slurring the words and seem pretty out of it. At some stage she was even elbowing someone in the audience!

Just a reminder of how good she can be when she is on the ball, here is a video of Rehab from a year ago. I hope that someone posts a video from today to contrast.

The Spaghetti Incident has a link to the "elbow incident"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Journey Live - Dublin, now the review

So now the review. We got to the national stadium a few minutes before the show was due to start. If you haven't been there, it is an excellent venue for concerts. It can sit 2000 people and because it is such a small venue, every seat has excellent visibility. I was sitting on the left of the stage behind Jonathan Cain (see the picture below!). One good piece of trivia, the national stadium was the first purpose built boxing stadium in the world and was opened in 1939. It was packed!

The concert started just before 8:00 with John Parr doing a short acoustic set, closing with his big hit from the 80's St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion).

Journey came out just before 9 o'clock to a standing ovation. I was worried that the Ray Foley effect would have meant that the place was full of people that wanted to hear "Don't Stop Believin'" and knew nothing else. Well I needn't have worried, there are a lot of Journey fans who knew and sang along to all the songs from "Wheel in the Sky" to "Change for the Better". It was absolutely fantastic. The guys where having a great time on stage, and because of the size of the venue, it was great to actually see what they were playing. Neal Schon is the fastest guitarist I have seen in a long time, but he also knows how to play a melodic solo, or just play chords if that's what the song needs. Ross Valory is still full of energy, and he plays with such ease that it is contagious, his faces are so funny. Jonathan Cain moved between the keyboards and the guitars all night long. Unfortunately I coudn't see much of Deen Castronovo on drums, but he was very good as well. He sang on "Mother Father", and was great. Note how the setlist (from JC's piano) has the details of who is going to introduce each song!

When I first got interested on the bass, the first couple of songs that I learnt where "Anyway You Want It" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'". A bit later I learnt how to play "Don't Stop Believin'" and it was the sound of Ross Valory's bass in Escape that made me want to learn how to play the bass. Not surprisingly my highlights from yesterday where "Stone in Love" (listen to that bassline towards the end of the song!), "Who's Cryin' Now" and "Don't Stop Believin'" which has been my favourite song for the last twentysomething years! I also enjoyed the fact that they opened with Majestic, which they hadn't been playing for a while. On the other hand, they played Lights on it's own! The picture on the left is from when they started "Don't Stop Believin'"

Arnel Pineda has to have a special mention, he looked the part. Not even a year ago he was playing in a cover band in the Philippines, and now he is the lead singer for a big band on a worldwide tour and an album that has sold more than a quarter of a million copies in the first month. He was fantastic!

For those interested in the gear, Ross Valory played a Music Man stingray, judging from the way he played, he was using his signature tunning (B-E-A-D), using the 4 top strings of a 5 string bass on a 4 string one. Neal Schone played mainly on his Gibson signature les paul, although he used a stratocaster for one of the songs. Jonathan Cain played a telecaster, a 12 string stratocaster, and a Neal Schon signature les paul, on a stand, for the rythm guitar section on don't stop believin'

What a great show!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Journey Live - National Satdium, Dublin - June 25th, 2008

Wow... your man Arnel Pineda can sing. I am just back from the Journey gig at the National Stadium in Dublin... what a show, it was fantastic!

Here is the setlist for now, I will post some comments and a couple of pictures tomorrow. I got the setlist from Jonathan Cain's piano!

Never Walk Away
Separate Wayes
Only the Young
Guitar Segway
Stone in Love
Ask the Lonely
Keep on Runnin'
The Journey (Revelation) - Instrumental
Who's Cryin' Now
Change for the Better
Lights (They didn't play Stay Awhile!!!)
After All These Years
Mother, Father (Dean on vocals)
Key Segway (JC Solo)
Open Arms
DD Harp Segway (NS on acoustic guitar & JC on harmonica)
Wheel in the Sky
Edge of the Blade
Don't Stop Believing

Anyway You Want It

To see the a picture of the actual setlist, go to the review post.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fur Elise for dummies on acoustic guitar

I came across this while I was browsing through Joost recently, and I though it would be nice to share it with all of you that like to play guitar. A very simple lesson from guitar world's Jimmy Brown on how to play "Fur Elise", Beethoven's classic piece.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The next one!

So, my next show will be Journey at the National Stadium. I am really looking forward to it. I used to liste to Journey just as much as REO Speedwagon back in the 80's, but I was too young then to be able to go to one of their concerts. I will post the setlist and a quick review next week.

I am sorry I won't be able to see Steve Perry, but I have to say that Arnel Pineda's voice is remarkable! It is going to be a treat. The new album Revelation is pretty good, and Arnel's voice works very well with the oldies.

There have been a huge number of gigs in Dublin over the last few days. Let me know if you have gone to a good one recently, post a link to your reviews or leave a comment!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Leonard Cohen Live – June 13th, 2008 – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin

Wow, the 3rd concert in a week. And what a show!

I have never been a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, I guess it is because I was never exposed to his music. Anyway, a friend of mine offered me a ticket last Thursday, and although I don't really know Leonard Cohen's music, I do know that he is, arguably, one of the most influential people in the music business. It was an opportunity I couldn't miss. Boy, was I in for a treat!!

The concert was on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, a museum just opposite Heuston station in Dublin. A beautiful venue for the first concert of Leonard's European tour. Damien Rice opened the show with a short acoustic set at 7:15 sharp. The main show started at 8:00 and went on until 11:00 with a short break halfway through.

Leonard walked in to a standing ovation. His first visit to Dublin in 20 years! A long wait for his fans. He treated us with a good selection of his songs, a catalog that spans more than 40 years of music , all performed incredibly well. Although his music doesn't require virtuoso performances, the musicianship was evident. His voice is so deep and rich, and the music builds around it to complement it. The band used lot of different instruments that you wouldn't normally see in a show these days, including a Hammond B3, bandurria, spanish laúd, guitars (12 string spanish, electric, steel, nylon acoustic), bass (5 string, 5 string fretless and double bass), harp, and a number of wind instruments, some of which I couldn't recognise but that included an Akai EWI4000 Electric Woodwind.

Leonard Cohen knows his business, the show builds up to the point where you are completely immersed in the music, the setlist, everything is done with a purpose. Just look at the last two songs, "Closing Time", immediately followed by a standing ovation and "I tried to leave you".

I don't have notes for the full setlist, when I get it I will post it. In the meantime, here is a link to with the setlist for the last few shows. It looks remarkably similar

There is also a lot of information about the tour and the instruments on the Leonard Cohen Files.

Get his music, and enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Los Amantes de Lola - Beber de tu Sangre

This is one of my favourite songs from the Mexican group Los Amantes de Lola. Unfortunately the video and the sound are slightly out synch.

Check out the version of this song from their live album "Historias de Cabaret"


Monday, June 9, 2008

REO Speedwagon Live in Dublin - July 8th 2008

After something like 18 years, I went to my second REO Speedwagon gig. The first one was when I was in college back in 1990. It was 5 years after they had had their huge hit with Can't Fight this Feeling. Back in the mid 80's I would have listened to their albums all day long. My vinyl copy of Good Trouble was completely worn down by the time I bought the CD. The gig yesterday brought back so many memories, and I enjoyed (and sang... if you can call that singing) every minute of it.

The guys aren't young anymore. KC is now in his late 50's, and although they gave it all, he is not jumping up and down the stage any more as he used to and the show was very intense, but only lasted 90 minutes.

REO's lineup hasn't changed much since that concert back in 1990 just before the release of the album "The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken". Which was the first album that featured Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt, except on that tour, they had a second keyboard player (Jesse Harms, better known for playing with Sammy Hagar).

The gig was at the Olympia Theatre, incidentally, this is the same venue where R.E.M. tested their new material for Accelerate with a series of "secret" gigs. It started just before 9:00 PM with the usual Don't Let Him Go. The place was about 90% full and everybody there went absolutely mad screaming and shouting... singing every song. The usual suspects made their appearence, but they sang a couple of songs that I didn't expect: Son of a Poor Man (from Ridin ' the Storm Out) and That Ain't Love (from Life as We Know It).

All in all, it was a really enjoyable gig. Lots of energy, and happy fans singing and enjoying themselves. People left the venue chanting Keep on Lovin' you at the top of their voices!!!

Here is the Setlist:

Don’t Let Him Go
Take it On The Run
Keep Pushin’
Find Your Own Way Home
That Ain't Love
Tough Guys
Can't Fight this Feeling
Dangerous Combination
Son of a Poor Man
I Needed to Fall (The set list I got from the stage had Smilin' (Audible), which was changed)
Time For Me To Fly (KC's 12 string ovation failed, he had to drop the guitar!)
Back on the Road Again
Keep on Loving You
Roll With The Changes

Ridin’ The Storm Out

The setlist from stage also had 157 (Riverside Avenue), but they didn't play it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rdiohead in Malahide Castle - June 7th 2008

So, the long wait was over. and finally after many years I had the opportunity to see Radiohead. I had huge expectations and, sadly, I was a bit disappointed. In fact I felt annoyed as I was leaving the show yesterday.

For those of you that have never been to Malahide Castle, it is a beautiful castle, north of Dublin, with a beautiful parkland. The ideal setting for a concert like Radiohead's.

So, what happened yesterday... well, the band came out at 8:30 and started with 15 Step, Bodysnatchers and Airbag... they rocked!!! But after that, they seemed to have lost the crowd. People around us were chatting away, and it was difficult to get into the music. Specially on some of the quieter songs like Faust Harp... I love the song and I could barely hear it!!!

We were standing close to the sound booth, which is usually a good place to listen to a concert. We also moved around a bit to try to avoid it, but it was the same everywhere we went. If people wanted to chat, they should have gone to Starbucks instead!

Having said that, I did enjoy some of the numbers, songs like Jigsaw Falling into Place, There There, Planet Telex and All I Need were very good. Generally speaking the 1st encore was the best. As for the second encore, I was really disappointed... no Paranoid Android, and they finished with Idioteque, perhaps my least favourite track... arrggghh!!!!

The band were good, they are all incredible musicians. On the way back, we had a discussion as to whether the fact that people were not into it was or wasn't Radiohead's fault. I think it was, they should have been able to get the crowd more involved.

If you are looking for the setlist, check my post from yesterday evening

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Radiohead Setlist - Malahide Castle June 7th, 2008

01 15 Step
02 Bodysnatchers
03 Airbag
04 Bangers&Mash
05 Nude
06 Pyramid Song
07 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
08 The Gloaming
09 The National Anthem
10 Faust Arp
11 Videotape
12 Optimistic
13 Where I End And You Begin
14 Reckoner
15 Everything In Its Right Place
16 All I Need
17 There There

encore 1
18 Exit Music (For A Film)
19 Jigsaw Falling Into Place
20 Climbing Up The Walls
21 Planet Telex
22 How To Disappear Completely

encore 2
23 Super Collider
24 You And Whose Army?
25 Idioteque

I am a bit dissapointed with the gig.. more details tomorrow!

And today... Radiohead

Finally, the wait is over. I will see Radiohead this evening in Malahide Castle. The setlists from this tour look incredible They are playing a few songs fro The Bends, but nothing from Pablo Honey.

Here is te setlist from yesterday (No Jigsaw!!!!)

Note that they played "How to disappear completely"... it hs a cool reference to Dublin!

And a few more

Can't wait

... and tomorrow REO Speedwagon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ibanez 1915 Hollowbody Bass

This is the first in a series of posts about my bass guitars. I have been playing the bass for close to 20 years. I am not a great bass player, but I do enjoy a good session.

My father bought my my first bass guitar back in the late 80's. I don't know how much did he pay for it, but I can guess that it was a cheap-ish one. It was an old (I didn't know how old then!) Ibanez 1915 bass guitar.

According to the blue book of electric guitars, it was a model based on the Yamaha SA-70 bass with a semi-hollow symmetrical double cut-away body, with two f holes, bolt-on neck, 22 fret rosewood fingerboard that was manufactured between 1971 and 1973. It came in 2 colours, mine is sunburst red.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, and the excellent work of some hard-core fans, I was able to find all of these details, including a picture of the original catalogue from 1971. (The picture was originally hosted n the new ibanezwiki - At some stage I am hoping to upload some pictures of my bass. It is still in good shape, the sound is incredibly deep and warm, and it is a joy to play. One neat feature, is that it has a fret 0!

Unfortunately it is not in perfect shape. The pickguard and bridge cover are missing, one of the pick-ups is busted (I'm trying to get a new one), the bridge is a bit rusty, and I am not sure if it is a "feature" or bad design, but the neck seems to be a bit sunk into the body, which makes it difficult to use the higher frets on the 1st string.

When I got the bass originally, it came with Nylon covered black strings, which made the sound really dull. I am using it with flatwound strings at the moment to get a nice warm sound out of it.

The bass is the second from left to right in the picture. I will try to post pictures of mine at some stage.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fish live at the Sugar Club - March 2008

Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to see Fish. For those of you that don't know who Fish is, he used to be the lead singer in Marillion. More info as always on the wikipedia

Now, I have been a Marillion fan for over 20 years, and have seen them live a good few times, but nothing could have prepared me for the almost cult like devotion of some of his fans. This obviously made the concert even better. The gig was delayed a while as there had been an electrical issue. The tension outside was palpable, and it reminded me of the first time I went to a gig when I was in my teens. But we are talking grown ups here that had seen this man a few times! Make no mistake about it, I am sad enough o have been there early enough to get a sit on the front row, buy the special edition CD from the merchandise table, and get a copy of the setlist at the end of the show. But I was amazed by the fact that the hardcore fans knew every single lyric, even for the new songs.

Eventually Fish himself came out and explained what had happened and that there would be a short delay but that the gig would go ahead.

I personally prefer he Steve Hogarth Marillion, so I was not sure whether I would like the show or not. I shouldn't have worried, the show was fantastic! Fish played a lot of songs from Clutching at Straws and a good few songs from his new album 13th Star. I have been listening to 13th Star since Wednesday, and I have to say that I like it! Check it out

If you have never been to the Sugar Club, I have to say that t it is a very interesting place. It is a small club for perhaps 200 people. The main entrance is on the side of the stage. There is a real intimate atmosphere, and makes for a great experience if you are into the music as you can almost touch it.

The quality of the music was superb, and the performances were even better. I was quite impressed with Steve Vantsis the bass player. He played a couple of 5 string Spector basses which I hadn't seen in years. What struck me when the group came out was that they didn't look like rock stars. They all looked like musicians who were enjoying the music, and playing together. The full line up was:
  • Fish - Vocals
  • Frank Usher - Guitars
  • Steve Vantsis - Bass
  • Foss Paterson - Keyboards
  • Gavin John Griffiths - Drums
  • Chris Johnson - Guitars
There are a few pictures of the gig in Fish's website.

And finally the setlist, mind you, they didn't play the last encore because people came down and effectively blocked the stage. I am sure a lot of them would have been gutted if they knew!

Until next time!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Inferior by Peadar O'Guilin

Towards the end of last year I intended to write a piece talking about some of the books that I read during last year. I just never got around to do it. However, I wanted to share at least one book: The Inferior by Peadar O'Guilin (yes I know, that's not accurate Irish spelling).

The inferior is Peadar's first novel. It has been classified under "Young Adult", and it really is a mix between Fantasy and Science Fiction. It is book one of the Bone Trilogy.

The book works under a very interesting premise: "What if you lived in a world where the only food available was each other". It sounds gruesome, it is a bit gory, but it is extremely well managed from beginning to end. While not all the characters are developed in great detail, Peadar spends a lot of time talking about some of the different races that inhabit the planet. My favourite ones are the diggers and the long tongues. In my opinion this is more valuable to paint a better picture of the universe of this trilogy. There are more details of the plot on the Amazon link above.

Peadar is currently working on the second book of the trilogy, and I can not wait to get my hands on it!

Peadar maintains a website, frozen stories, where, among other things, he keeps links to some of his work published on-line. Drop by to get a taste for his writing.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Macworld is coming!

I had always wanted a Mac.

Having worked for a few years with OS/2, and then having to move to a Windows world once OS/2 Warp was withdrawn from the market, I felt that I wanted more from my OS than what Windows offered. When the Mac Mini's were announced three years ago, I thought it was a great opportunity to finally own a Mac. I wasn't disappointed, and I haven't looked back.

Since then, I started following the crazy "Macverse", and was captivated by the sheer passion and enthusiasm of the Mac users. Shortly afterwards I even moved off my Sony mp3 walkman and bought my first ipod.

One of the things that has always fascinated me about the Apple world is the yearly Macworld event every January. This year, Macworld starts on Monday, January 14th. There is a good article in CNET that describes why is it so good. As always, there is a lot of excitement about Steve Jobs' keynote speech on Tuesday.

I am hoping for the announcement of some updates to the MacBooks. I been holding up on buying a new one, initially because I was waiting for Leopard, but now because it seems that there might be a complete overhaul to the line. Roll on Tuesday, and here is hoping that they will announce a new version of the legendary Apple Newton!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Radiohead, Radiohead, Radiohead

I finally received my In Rainbows discbox on the post a couple of days ago. I guess it took longer than expected because of the post delay over the holiday season. Although I had listened to "In Rainbows" in full, I was waiting for the 2nd CD. The current issue of Mojo Magazine (Issue 171, February 2008) has a really good review of the Extras CD. I do hope that it gets a general release somewhat. It would be a same for it to be distributed through torrent sites more widely than through the group.

Its brilliant! Try o get it

I also got tickets to see them in Malahide Castle later in the summer. I have never seen them live, and I can't wait!