Monday, June 30, 2008

Review: Neil Young Malahide Castle, Dublin 29th June 2008

This was my first time seeing Neil live and so it was a huge thrill to finally see him play. This was tempered however by the set that he played and also the awful sound. First off, the set.

Opening with an approx 10min version of Love and Only Love is not exactly the opener I was expecting but since I love that song I was delighted to hear it. However, as the first few songs continued it was very obvious that this concert was going to be hard work for even the most dedicated fan, let alone the casual fan, of whom there were of course plenty in an outdoor gig. The extended jams would have worked in a smaller venue but outdoor, they were largely lost on the audience.

Things definitely took a turn for the better with Hey Hey, My My followed by a fantastic stretch of Too Far Gone, Oh Lonesome Me, Needle and The Damage Done, Unknown Legend and Old Man. Following this stretch he went back into extended jam mode with Words. Then came the song that unfortunately most people will remember most about the gig. A 27 minute version of No Hidden Path would have been extremely tough going in somewhere like Vicar Street. Personally, in Malahide Castle it turned laughable.

Ending the main set with that, he came back out and played a cover of A Day in The Life and then walked off stage. It certainly wasn't the best way to end it but probably appropriate for the concert that preceded it.

It must be mentioned that it wasn't helped by the terrible sound. The music was extremely muffled and Neil's vocals weren't very strong either. It did slightly improve as the gig went on but since a lot of the songs involved extensive jamming, not being able to hear the guitars properly is obviously a major problem.

Neil didn't say much during the concert, a few generic 'glad to be here' type comments. Overall, I would sum it up as could have been better. I'm all for artists like Young not turning into a glorified jukebox and testing the crowd. A balance has to be struck though in a concert the size of last night and I don't think that balance was found. When Young is facing his guitarists for long stretches, with his back to the audience you couldn't help but feel outside of the whole event.

Maybe because after seeing Springsteen two days before, my expectation of what a show should be like were too big but I was definitely hoping for a bit more last night. That being said, there was a fantastic stretch of songs that were great to see and for that 45 mins or so it was one of the best concerts I've seen in a while. If this had been in the Olympia or Vicar Street, it would have been significantly better. On the way home on the Dart, a few people broke into singing 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. It summed up the night pretty well for me, the fans were there but Neil didn't make it easy for us.


Love And Only Love
I've Been Waiting For You
Mr. Soul
Spirit Road
Hey Hey, My My
Too Far Gone
Oh, Lonesome Me
Mother Earth
The Needle And The Damage Done
Unknown Legend
Old Man
Get Back To The Country
No Hidden Path

A Day In The Life

Hey Hey, My My

Review: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Parc Des Princes, Paris 27th June 2008

My 7th and final Springsteen concert on the tour and a fantastic way to end the run. 'Adam Raised A Cain' was a brilliant, fierce opener. 'Spirit In The Night' is another favourite of mine so was delighted to see that again. After 'Spirit' Bruce went into the crowd and started taking some of the dozens of signs requesting songs. Probably took about 10 and this led to 'Rendezvous'. He kept the rarities coming with Janey Don't You Lose Heart soon after. I was quite close and even there some people didnt seem to recognise the songs so i wonder what it was like elsewhere in the stadium.

After Mary's Place, Bruce held up a sign for 'Fire'. Showing it to the band, Max obviously didn't see it perfectly and thus started playing the intro to I'm On Fire, making Bruce run back to the mic to stop him. Fire was great. Then came the highlight of the show for me and indeed the highlight of all the shows I've seen. Bruce strolled over to the piano, had a word in Roy's ear and sat down at the piano with all the band bar Max leaving the stage. He then started 'For You' which is my favourite Springsteen song, especially solo and something I never thought I'd hear live. After that, The River was brilliant but personally it couldn't match the song that had come before it.

Nice surprise after Badlands was Out In The Street, which was performed excellently. The encore didn't hold any surprises but was still a very strong set. Bobby Jean, although not one of the best songs to play in that slot was very powerful.

Clarence was off form at the start of the show, missing a few cues and completely messing up the Janey solo but as the night went on, he got back into it. Nils solo on Because The Night is always a highlight and the run of songs starting with For You until Long Walk Home was extremely powerful. Combined with the fun songs like Darlington County and Spirit and you have a great show. Definitely one of the best shows I've seen, here's hoping it won't be the last time I see Springsteen with the E Street Band.


Adam Raised a Cain
Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
The Promised Land
Spirit in the Night
Candy's Room
Atlantic City
Janey, Don't You Lose Heart
Darlington County
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
For You (solo piano)
The River
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Out in the Street
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Born to Run (w/ Elliott Murphy)
Bobby Jean
Dancing in the Dark
American Land (w/ Elliott Murphy)

For You

Spirit In The Night

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #19

Apologies for the slight delay this week. #19. 40mb, 10 songs. Enjoy

1. Taylor Hollingsworth - Damn Boy (What's Wrong With You)

Comes from Alabama in the US, this is a short blues, punk mix and it works very well. Has a new record 'Bad Little Kitty'.

2. Old 97s - Dance With Me

Love this song, haven't listened to the album yet but looking forward to it. Cool video too.

3. Mark Pickerel - Cody's Dream

Original drummer of the Screaming Trees, this is from his solo record of the same name. The video is a cover of a Dylan song 'One More Cup Of Coffee'

4. Those Dancing Days - Hitten

Another Swedish pop masterpiece, this is a fantastic song. They've got a new single out next month.

5. Canyon - Ten Good Eyes

No idea if this band is still going but I really like this song. It's on their album 'Empty Rooms'. Can't find any video, it's good though.

6. Firewater - Three Legged Dog

Taken from their new album 'The Golden Hour'. This is a video previewing the album.

7. Damien Jurado - Gillian Was A Horse

One of my favourite singer songwriters, this is from his upcoming new album 'Caught In The Trees'. Looking forward to it. Video is an older song 'Lion Tamer'

8. Ben Weaver - White Snow

Another Americana singer songwriter, Ben has a new album coming out in August. This is a track taken from that.

9. Francois Virot - Say Fiesta

Haven't come across much good french music during my stay in Paris but this is one guy that you should definitely check out.

10. Glasvegas - Be My Baby

Nowhere near the heights of the original but a decent cover nonetheless. They're a good band, high hopes for the future.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shows To Download

My Morning Jacket Bonnaroo 13 June 2008 An essential download. Good sound and an amazing set by MMJ. Includes covers of 'Across 110th Street' 'Get Down' and 'Oh Sweet Nuthin'.

Death Cab For Cutie KCRW Session Big fan of the KCRW sessions and this is another excellent one.

Bruce Springsteen: Hollywood, FL. 19 November 2005 A great recording of a classic Springsteen solo concert. Great versions of 'Fade Away', 'Roll Of The Dice', 'Santa Ana', 'Drive All Night etc. A great concert for the hardcore Springsteen fan.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Hamburg, 21 June 2008 Recordings in stadiums are usually quite bad but this is a good one. Great night for the taper to get it right too with the first performance of 'Held Up Without A Gun' in nearly 28 years. Other notable songs include 'Something In The Night', 'Incident on 57th Street' and an excellent 'Spirit In The Night'.

Fleet Foxes BBC Session 18 June 2008 Nice session with the band performing three songs and an extended interview. Well worth the small download.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Been meaning to post some interesting articles I've come across lately:

Why Hands will struggle to hit the high notes at EMI: Certainly the strength of a label's A&R department is going to decide if they survive or not.

Study: Average UK Teen or Student iPod Has 842 Illegal Tracks: How many have you got?

The Marginal Value of the Long Tail: Interesting comparisons of the availability of music online

Warner Music Group Pulls Music from I've never really got into despite it's strengths. Another push is needed by me I think.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bonnaroo Videos

Videos from The Raconteurs, The Swell Season, Fiery Furnaces, Metallica from the festival can be viewed here. Definitely worth checking out, some great performances.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Harry Chapin - Soundstage

For me, the greatest storyteller in music, Harry's live performances were supposed to be amazing, with the bootlegs that I have bearing this out. He's written some of the most amazing story songs and always played his music with such passion. His live album 'Greatest Stories Live' is one of my most-played albums of all time dating back a number of years.

He left a hell of a good legacy behind him and this performance is a good start. It's a recording for Soundstage from back in 1974. All these songs are magnificent, pay special attention to 'Sniper' and the pure emotion that Harry puts into the song.

Cat's In The Cradle




Mr. Tanner

What Made America Famous

Mail Order Annie

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #17

Number 17 this week. Added youtube videos of the tracks (where possible) so you can see a preview of the stuff on the playlist. File size is just under 50mb. Download it from here

1. Sonny J - Can't Stop Moving

This song has been around for a while but since the debut album is due out in the next couple of weeks I thought I'd post it here. It's a perfect summer song anyway so good time to hear it for those who it might have missed it last year.

2. Rod Thomas - You Get Goodbyes

British indie/folk/pop artist, this is a single he brought out a couple of months ago. EP available from his MySpace.

3. Alejandro Escovedo - Always A Friend

Legendary Americana artist, this is a track from his new album 'Real Animal'. Well worth checking through his extensive back catalogue. Here's a video of the song with the E Street Band backing Alejandro. (And don't worry, on the actual song the backing singer's actually know the words unlike Bruce)

4. Major Lance - The Monkey Time

Written by Curtis Mayfield, this was one of many successful collaborations between the two. A great soul singer.

5. Jim James & Carl Broemel - Librarian (Live)

Can I possibly plug this album any more? Doubtful but here's a version that Jim & Carl recorded back in May. No footage exists but here's the Black Cab session I mentioned a while ago.

6. Russian Red - Cigarettes

Madrid based artist, this is the first track on her album 'I Love Your Glasses.' Her name is Lourdes Hernandez and indie stardom awaits.

7. Iglu & Hartley - Violent & Young

They come from California and are a strong tip for the top. They're are attracting interest from all the major labels and it's easy to see why. There's no video for this song so here's another song of theirs called 'In This City'. I prefer 'Violent & Young' but this is a good track too.

8. Eddie Vedder - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (Live)

One of my favourite singers, this is his cover of the Beatles classic.

9. The Chapin Sisters - Slow Devotion

First heard of these through their family background (Abigail and Lily's uncle was the late, great Harry Chapin, look for a post on him tomorrow. Their half-sister Jessica, the third member is the daughter of the movie director Wes Craven) Some beautiful harmonies and voices on the ep that I have and this is my favourite track off it. Again no video for this track so here's another song of theirs 'Let Me Go'

Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Radiohead Song - Super Collider

They performed this in Malahide the other night apparently. Anyone at the show? Any good? Great song.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Catch Up Post (of sorts)

I've been completely out of touch with the music world the past few days due to a crazy work period in college. So a catch up post is in order with a couple of things I wanted to post but didn't have the time for. Most people have probably seen and heard all of this already but there may be a few like me who've missed out.

First off, The Raconteurs were on Conan and were amazing. They should take the horns on tour with them after this performance. 'Many Shades Of Black', which I've said before is probably my favourite track on the record, was pure brilliance. 'Old Enough' was fantastic too. Nice to see Brendan take the spotlight. Won't find too many better tv performances around.

This next one is even older again but I've been meaning to post this performance from for a while. It's Black Mountain and their song 'Tyrants' which I featured on the playlist not so long ago.

More to follow in the coming days as my life returns to some semblance of normal existence.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #16

Number 16 this week. Couple of real standouts for me this week, see if you agree. File is only 36mb this week so an easy download.

1. The Hold Steady - Constructive Summer (Live)

A live track of one of the best songs off the new album due out next month. The album's really great, definitely one of the best of the year so far. Gets better with each listen.

2. Julie Ocean - My Revenge

American band specialising in short power-pop blasts. Their album clocks in at ten songs in under 25minutes. A good summer album.

3. The New York Fund - Going To New York

London band, they've supported The Hold Steady in the past and have some really good songs on their MySpace. This is my favourite.

4. Try Me Bicycle - Big Small

My favourite song on the playlist this week, this four piece are from Arizona and have released their debut album 'Voicings' which 'Big Small' is taken from. Brilliant song.

5. The Slant - The Life Of A Biological Organism

Four piece from Pennsylvania, this is taken from their album 'Old North'. Can buy the album online from their website

6. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!! (Live)

Great song, this is their performance on Jools Holland not so long ago. Took me a while to get into the album but really starting to enjoy it now.

7. ambeR rubarth - You Will Love This Song

She's got a big MySpace following but I've only recently heard of her, this is a cool track. Not the sort of thing I would usually go for but there's something about this track that captured my attention when I first heard it.

8. Saving J - Bus Stop

Irish band, this track was released last year and gained the band a fair amount of airplay. They're about to release an excellent new single 'Kick Off' at the end of the month. You can watch the video for the song on their website.

9. Damien Rice - 9 Crimes (Live)

Nice version taken from the On The Verge website of 9 Crimes from Damien's last album. He's currently doing a ten day car journey from Dublin to Barcelona where he aims to write a song every day. You can follow his progress on his website.

10. Goodmorning Valentine - Easter Park

Great track, Joey Beltram's vocals are really at the fore of this sparse song. They've got a number of other songs available to download on their MySpace, I'll be hopefully featuring these guys again on the site soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Morning Jacket - Black Cab Sessions

These guys always get some great bands into the back of a cab and this is one of the best performances on the site. Still the best album of the year, here's the link to the video. Check out all the archives if you've never been on the site before, some great performances. These type of things don't always work but I like this site and their videos.

My Morning Jacket - Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Part 2