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!