TO DESCRIBE Brandon Flowers as “your run-of-the-mill rock star” would not be entirely truthful. Sitting across from The Killers frontman and his wild-haired bandmate Dave Keunig, it’s impossible to suss what Flowers is really thinking. It seems clear that he’s not a fan of interviews; he constantly glances towards the dressing room door (plotting an escape route, perhaps?), answers most questions curtly and seems generally guarded and somewhat reserved. He looks younger than his 31 years, his voice retaining the twang of his Nevada upbringing, his laugh more of a nervous, high-pitched titter. While the leaders of most rock bands naturally ooze charisma, Flowers’ cagey private persona seems at odds with the man who, an hour later, takes to the stage at Electric Picnic to deliver a supremely selfassured headline set.
Archive for the ‘Irish Times’ Category
IT’S NOT THAT David Gedge is tired, but being the sole member of an iconic 1980s guitar band for almost three decades does tend to wear one down. As frontman of The Wedding Present, the band that Gedge formed in 1985, he has been almost exclusively responsible for its input (there have been numerous line-up changes over the years) and output (that’d be the nine albums released since 1987’s George Best, not including his releases under the Cinerama banner).
Not that he’s complaining, mind. Now 52 and in full retention of the Leeds brogue that decades of touring worldwide has failed to erode, Gedge is fully accepting of his fate. Continue reading »
Originally published in The Irish Times, May 25th 2012.
“First of all, I’d like to know what other band in the world gets called ‘dadrock’? What other band is there? I don’t know why Wilco’s the only band that gets called that. It seems absurd to me. I think it’s fuckin’ ridiculous.”
Originally published in The Irish Times, September 3rd 2012.
Where do you start after a six-year absence? If you’re Grandaddy, you start with the hits. The Californian indie-rock quintet have made Electric Picnic one of the stops on their month-long reunion lap, but rather than forcing new material on an expectant audience, this was a complete exercise in crowd-pleasing.
Opening with El Camino’s in the West, Jason Lytle and Co may not say a whole lot to the crowd, but with tunes like a Now It’s On, AM 180 and The Crystal Lake in your canon, why waste time with niceties?
Aaron Burtch amusingly puffs away on a cigarette hands-free as he drums, and Lytle swigs from a bottle of wine between songs; they’re having fun and it’s like they’ve never been away. How about you stick around a little longer, guys? Continue reading »
Originally published in The Irish Times, April 20th 2012.
THE FIRST THING you think of is Freud. Then, noticing the relaxed posture, Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, or perhaps a painting by some Renaissance artist. It’s not quite clear whether Rufus Wainwright is waiting to be psycho-analysed or pampered, but stretched out on a sofa in a room of a trendy London hotel, the singer/songwriter certainly looks comfortable.
“He felt like he was coming down with something yesterday, so he did most of his interviews lying down,” his publicist explains. And today? “Oh no, he feels fine today. He’s just relaxing.” Continue reading »
Originally published in The Irish Times, January 20th 2012.
LIAM PAYNE looks confused, possibly even a little disappointed. “Yeah, there were none outside today,” he tells me, shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t think they know we’re in here.” Screaming girls. They have become a fixture in Payne’s life, as well as the lives of the four young men he spends most of his time with these days.
Unfortunately, many of my reviews on IrishTimes.com and in Monday’s newspaper were published under the wrong name, so here are the ones that I wrote over the course of last weekend.
My highlight was a gorgeous set by John Grant and the delicious chickpea and spinach stew I had from the tiny Dux & Co. stand. It was ALMOST worth the 20-minute-long queue.
Originally published in The Irish Times, June 29th 2011
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, you could say that Gillian Welch has been away for eight years. But then again, she hasn’t really been away at all. Continue reading »
Originally published in The Irish Times, June 24th 2011
ROBIN PECKNOLD is a hard man to pin down. At one point, it seemed that an interview with Charlie Sheen would be easier to arrange than one with the Fleet Foxes frontman, but when your band is as in-demand as his is right now, it’s to be expected.
When Pecknold is eventually forcibly tethered to a telephone, the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Having ridden the bike he brings on tour to a quiet park in downtown Dallas, the twittering of birds soundtracks the songwriter’s musings on his band’s recently released second record, Helplessness Blues . Yet trying to cram the Fleet Foxes story into a 20-minute phone conversation with a man who hesitates to speak about the album’s fiercely personal themes is a big ask, especially when he frustratingly spends what seems like hours carefully weighing up each question before replying. Continue reading »