Another catch-up post. Apologies. I really just want an excuse to prove that I can spell ‘miscellaneous’.
The past few weeks have been a bit crazy for me, but I’ve managed to get to a few gigs and listen to a few albums (behaviour becoming of a music journalist, I’m sure you’ll agree), and even got to the cinema for the first time in months.
I saw Gorillaz at The O2 last week. I was supremely excited about this gig, and fully expected to be blown away by it. I think Damon Albarn is one of the most creative and ambitious musicians on the planet right now – I generally like pretty much everything he’s done, and seeing Blur at Oxegen last year was a spiritual experience. But something didn’t feel right about this gig. Someone made a good point over at On the Record about the difference between sitting and standing at gigs that involve a) so many musicians on stage and b) a massive visual aspect. Maybe I should have sat, but it might not have made a huge difference. I’d definitely see them again, though. My review is over here at AU.
A far more thrilling experience was The Walkmen at Tripod on Monday night. What a band. They impressed me hugely when I saw them at Electric Picnic in 2009, so despite there being 3 or 4 other gigs of worth on the same night, I wanted to see these guys again. A suited and booted Hamilton Leithauser (coolest frontman name ever?) poured so much energy into his performance – including the most powerful vocals I’ve heard live this year – that he was giving Deirdre Barlow and her freaky strained neck veins a run for her money.
I’m probably going to see The Walkmen again this weekend, because today I’m off to the Crossing Border festival in The Hague, which they’re playing at. I went last year and had a deadly weekend. The Hague is a very nice, compact city, and I actually prefer it to Amsterdam in many ways, even if I did almost manage to kill myself (and someone else) on my rented bike. Have a look at that line-up! Fwoaaaarrrr!
Saw ‘Let Me In‘ in the cinema at the weekend. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the original. I’d read the book and re-watched the film recently, in anticipation of the remake’s release, but just found it less compelling in a number of ways. The kid actors were good, but their relationship didn’t feel as believable as that of their Swedish counterparts.
Book-wise, I’m still trudging through Skippy Dies. Next on my reading list are two biographies, though: ‘There Will Be Rainbows’ (Rufus Wainwright) and ‘Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins’. Edwyn is also playing at Crossing Border, it will make my year if I get to say hello to him. Not entirely beyond the realm of possibility, considering that I met Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward, Paul Morley and Nick Kent last year. CLANG! Excuse me, I appear to have dropped several names.
I’m also at the point of the year where I have to start re-listening to albums to see if they’ll make my Top 10 End of Year list – it’s going to be extra-difficult this year. Help!
The IMTV award nominations have been announced, with the ceremony taking place at The Academy on November 27th. Good luck to Souljacker, Eoghan Kidney and Simon Eustace, who all have videos nominated, and who I interviewed for the Shutterbugs feature (below), last month.
And in other awards news, the Choice Music Prize takes place on March 3rd, 2011. It’s been a hell of a year for Irish music – I’ve been on the judging panel in the past, and it was a brilliant experience, but I sure as hell don’t envy those who have to whittle this list down to their favourite ten.
Oh, one more thing. Juice on George’s Street in Dublin do an amazing and very reasonable early bird menu from 5 – 8pm every day. I’ll be going back soon for their spinach pancakes! Yum yum.
Have a nice weekend, folks!