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Posts Tagged ‘ Snow Patrol ’

The Killers Rock Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

Last year, a series of concerts were held in the Phoenix Park consisting of acts such as Stone Roses, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and Snow Patrol. As we all now know, the second night which hosted the aforementioned Swedish House Mafia and Snoop Dogg was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. Several audience members suffered stab wounds and were hospitalised before the concert had concluded, others died from drug related incidents. The promoters shirked as much responsibility as possible, but as someone who attended the Saturday and Sunday night gigs last year I can say that the organisation was absolutely horrendous. Nobody was searched in any adequate fashion, I myself was in fact not searched at all. The stewards on site were children with no power to stop the violence, violence everyone but the organisers seemed to know was possible well in advance of the gig. What was more blatant was the difference the next day, when Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine played to another packed Phoenix Park and no incidents were reported. Thankfully, The Killers last night ran more along these lines and has helped to re-establish the Park’s potential as the summer venue for concerts in Dublin. Continue reading

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An Experience With The Hooleygan

Belfast has produced some iconic characters in its history, such as the Belfast boy George Best, lyrical genius Van Morrison and literary giant CS Lewis, but one stands out for me. A figure seen throughout the years as a master of the music world earning himself the privilege to be known as ‘The Godfather Of Punk.’ A man who set the music world alight and transformed the music scene in Belfast, the irrepressible Mr Terri Hooley.

I decided to find out from the man himself how he changed the scene in Belfast and how he has become an inspiration to up-and-coming talent in the city. Arriving at ‘Ireland’s poorest record shop,’ a quirky title Terri gave his new establishment, nerves started to rise in me. I finally get to meet the man responsible for some of my favourite music. This feeling did not last too long as Terri put me right at ease with his warm welcome and laid back attitude.

Terri began by talking about his childhood and the early years of his life, how he avidly collected any record he could get his hands on and how he listened to every genre of music. “Growing up with only pennies to my name, I had a big radio, that was God to me,” recalls Terri. ‘Good Vibrations’, an apt choice of name was Terri’s first record shop in Great Victoria Street, that kick-started his career in the music industry. Previously a small, derelict building, he moved in with good friend and TV company Northern Vision’s director David Hyndman. The business began growing in popularity amongst the music fanatics around the city and in no time at all, Terri’s instinctive enthusiasm and passion for music led him to his first encounter with Punk.

Terri remembers being “tortured by this little kid who mitched off school”, Gordy Owens. It was Owens who alerted Hooley about local hotspots called the ‘Pound’ and Harp Bar, that showcased local bands. Here Hooley first heard The Outcasts and Rudi, two Belfast punk bands whose thrashing lyrics made them successful groups throughout the 70’s and 80’s. “ When I first went down to see these bands, I thought the Outcasts were terrible”, little did he know that his opinion would quickly change.

As he got more involved with live music, Terri decided that Northern Ireland bands needed to be introduced to the rest of Britain. So he started his label, also called ‘Good Vibrations.’ “Big Time” by Rudi, was the first recording the label made. He soon signed The Outcasts, along with other bands such as The Tearjerkers and Protex.

The name Good Vibrations was slowly but surely escaping the shackles of the underground scene. More and more punk bands were come through the ranks and bringing with them their unique dress sense and nonchalant attitude. Terri was making a name for himself and was introduced to a young but determined band, The Undertones. A group of punks who wanted to show Belfast their style, realised Hooley was the man they had to grab the attention of. A demo tape from vocalist Feargal Sharkey was passed in Hooley’s direction.

Mixed emotions passed through Terri as he described how people responded to their demo. “ Every record company in London told me that the record was rubbish, but I thought there was something there.” How right was Terri to believe in such a young inexperienced band as they grew to world wide fame with their famous hard hitting ‘Teenage Kicks.’ After so many rejections, Hooley was discouraged. He was about to give up when a heavy potcheen drinking session with a friend, Ricky Flanagan, led him to London to meet John Peel. Peel loved the demo, taking several copies and became a real advocate of the song and band. For the first time in Radio 1 history, a song was played twice in a row.

The Undertones lyrics were beginning to be heard. Terri was overwhelmed as this record shot to fame and the band
made the deal with Sire Records in the USA. Terri still states, “I wasn’t in it for the money, I was trying to put Northern Ireland on the musical map.” Terri’s reputation grew from strength to strength in the 70’s and 80’s gaining the iconic title of ‘Godfather of Punk’, which still stands in today’s world.

Terri and I decided to go for a stroll around the city, that he made the world take notice of. He is one of those people that everyone wants to know, to talk to and to hang out with. He started telling me stories of stars he has met and partied with. Bob Marley being one of them,“He was a global superstar, my hero. I just love his music.” Even guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix. Probably his most famous, is his bust up with John Lennon. He says, “I am not famous, I’m a normal man who you can find in the pub, in my shop, just trying to make a living.” When speaking of his record shop and the type of music he sells compared to music mega stores, he says, “That is why I concentrated on nostalgia, it never goes out of fashion.”

On Saturday 17th April 2004 a fire, started by blast incendiary devices, engulfed the North Street Arcade. Terri lost everything, all his worldly possessions had been stored at the shop. This included his valuable record collection, all his history of Good Vibrations records, the photographs and the magazine articles. Articles of great financial and sentimental value were all destroyed in the fire. Hooley has reopened his record shop, still called Good Vibrations, in Café Hero on Royal Avenue. You can find him working away and getting lost in his music, the same way he did all those years ago.

Northern Ireland music scene has seen a rise in popularity over the last few years with the likes of Snow Patrol, the Wonder Villains and Two Door Cinema Club emerging onto the scene. Terri does his bit by helping keep the musical flame alight in Northern Ireland by organising alternative walking tours, in which visitors walk around finding out the history of how music in Belfast began, transformed and where it is today. He points out old haunts and iconic buildings in Northern Ireland’s musical history.Hooley is still championing bands today such as Cashier no9.

Hitting the big screen in the near future is, The Good Vibrations film, which tells the life of Belfast’s punk prodigy and how an ordinary, young man had an simple dream for the world to recognise the talent here in Belfast. Still in touch with his musical roots, you can find Terri Djing in some Belfast bars like The Hudson and The Belfast Barge.

“ They said I would never live to thirty ,then fifty, I’ve made mistakes but I have no regrets”- Terri Hooley.

Florence & Snow Patrol Close Out Phoenix Park

It was a mixed weekend in Phoenix Park for this mini festival MCD threw together. Mixed in publicity, music and reception. But all in all it was three days of fantastic music for every shape and size, and though it was marred by the mindless and senseless acts of a minority, for those like myself who actually had some interest in the music it was a great weekend.

The final day of the Park Fest was a double headliner of Florence + The Machine and Snow Patrol, plus Temper Trap and a late addition in Bressie. First off the mark I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how good a show Temper Trap could put on. They have a great energy on stage coupled with good upbeat tracks and it was a pity that they couldn’t grab the attention of more of the crowd. Their big hit of course, Sweet Disposition, closed their set and injected a good dose of spirit into the muddied and wet crowd.

Ah yes, the mud. Before elaborating any further on the main acts, the condition of the park has to be addressed unfortunately. MCD have many calling for their heads after what seems to have been a total lack of foresight when organising these gigs. Most  of these calls are in relation to the acts of violence that occurred on the Saturday, but the sheer conditions people were forced to inhabit for 6+ hours were absolutely third world. There was speculation after the destruction from the Swedish House Mafia gig that the ground would be lined more adequately but unfortunately all that remained was the bare sparce dressing of the ground with plastic boarding which had sunk by about the midway point. The rest of the uncovered areas were horrendous and based on the odour, none too hygienic. Mud baths these were not. Nobody expects and outdoor gig to be clean and polished, least of all me, but this was worse than even  any Oxygen festival I have attended where it would rain non stop for days at a time. There was simply no effort made by the organisers and no amount of money received by the OPW could be worth the damage the Park has now suffered.

On then to the star turn of the night that was Florence + The Machine. Florence Welch is musical Marmite to many, a lot of people turning away at her outgoing, loving outbursts for her fans when performing live and her slightly wacky persona. Personally, I’ve never had much opinion either way but I have to say that on the day that was in it, given the madness that had come before, it did feel good to be back in that same spot hearing messages of all kinds of lollipops and happiness come from the stage. It’s a weird one, I’m fully confident that I may have found her stage play annoying under different circumstances but on the day, it was great and set a great mood in the crowd. Highlights of her set were the massive reaction from the crowd to the single note drone intro of “Shake It Off” and the closer “No Light, No Light” bringing a massive close to the set, but the Ceremonials-heavy setlist didn’t leave room for her cover of “You’ve Got The Love” which was a personal loss for myself as I had hoped to hear it. No biggie though, still a fantastic performer and a great first half to the show.

Then came an act that, to be honest, I had much higher expectations of. I had not seen Snow Patrol since 2004 at Oxegen and the following summer supporting U2. At that point they were still breaking through and they played with a genuine sincerity at showing how much they appreciated where they were. What worried me was whether or not they still had that too them. While its true though that Gary Lightbody has maybe got a little Bono-esque in his stage persona and the band’s reliability on power ballads wears a little thin, they still do commit themselves to putting on a great live show. The opener of “Eyes Open” was perfectly chosen, being an ideal “we mean business” type of track. Moving on then they treated us to a fantastic, as always, rendition of “Run” and a beautifully subtle version of “Set The Fire To The Third Bar” featuring Maria Doyle Kennedy, a big surprise given how many like myself would have simply assumed Florence Welch was the obvious choice for the track. The highlight of the night though, and contender for highlight of the weekend, was the anthemic “Chasing Cars”. It was a no brainer assumption this would bring the house down, but I could have never imagined how powerful this track becomes live. With just a few seconds of the guitar intro, the entire crowd launched into the verse and Lightbody was no longer needed. It wasn’t until the final chorus that I can remember actually hearing him sing it, and even that was just barely above the crowd. It was a fantastic moment and capped of the weekend fantastically, so much so that the remainder of their set fell slightly flat if I’m being honest. They couldn’t do better than themselves, not a bad complaint I suppose.

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