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Posts Tagged ‘ Whelan’s ’

Dublin Grooves To Jake Clemons

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Rarely I go to a gig entirely oblivious to the music of whichever artist I go to see. I’ll usually at least know their biggest hit. But when said artist is the sax player in my all time favourite band, good faith alone sees me buying a ticket, and I’m glad I did.

As I myself was, anyone who buys a ticket to see Jake Clemons based on his E Street involvement will be quite surprised. The sax is there, but he’s a singer and artist in his own right and from his legendary front man  and mythological uncle he’s picked up quite a few tricks of the trade. Special mention has got to go firstly to Clemons’ support act (and indeed joint vocalist for some of the main act) Nicole Maguire. Hailing from Cork she told us how Clemons has taken a shine to her work and she is now on her second tour with him, well deserved for the quality of work she is producing. Walking into Whelans admittedly a little late and catching her mid song was a near TV moment for me, my attention fixed on nothing but the hugely impressive talent emitting from the stage. Watch her closely. Continue reading

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Irish Artist Aims For New Beginning In Germany

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Many feel that their prospects are best enhanced by sticking to everyday norms. Be that the space they occupy, the daily tasks they fulfill or simply the people they associate themselves with. There’s nothing to say that operating within one’s comfort zone is a flawed system but stepping outside the box can open up a whole new world of opportunities. Irish singer and songwriter Greg Clifford has opted to make a break for Europe in the hopes of establishing himself further as an artist and to explore what one can achieve from stepping away from familiar territory.

We caught up with Greg to get an insight into his personality and music career and to see exactly what Germany has to offer the blossoming music career of a rising Irish artist.

Continue reading

Whelan’s Ones To Watch Festival 2014

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The silly season has finally ended, we’re all partied out and still digesting horrendous amounts of food. Except nobody told Whelan’s. Once again they’re kicking off 2014 immediately with one of the hottest tickets of the year, the Ones To Watch Festival 2014. With over 50 of the best and breaking acts playing over the course of the festival there’s gonna be a lot to take in, so we said we’d make life easier for you, if you only see five acts over the four days, make sure it’s these guys! Continue reading

Clifford To Launch New EP At The Mercantile

gregGreg Clifford returns to the Dublin stage on Saturday June 1st to launch his new album entitled The Temple Lane Recordings.

Fresh from launching his debut album last December, the unique soloist returns with seven new tracks, supported by the ever reliable Ciaran Brennan and a session band.

Ahead of the event Irish News Review caught up with the former frontman of Elavator who is eagerly anticipating the date at the Mercantile Venue. Continue reading

Villagers Wave Goodbye To Intimate Gigs at Whelans

Conor O’Brien and the Villagers take to a familiar stage in front of a packed house in Whelans:  “We’ve played here two million times.  This is our two millionth-and-first gig, but this place is always special – it’s home.”  Villagers have just completed a long tour opening for Grizzly Bear around Europe.  They are finally home and ready to focus on promoting their second album Awayland which is due for release in January.

Their loyal fan-base is out in force to welcome them back.  It has been a long wait for the follow up to their phenomenally successful debut album, Becoming a Jackal, a Mercury prize nominee in 2010.  Those who have attended gigs in the interim have been treated to snippets of new material and over the last year the number of new songs featured in shows has grown and with it anticipation.

O’Brien opens within his comfort-zone with ‘Set the Tigers Free’, ‘Home’ and ‘The Pact’ all tracks from the bands first offering.   The Villagers toured the album for two years almost non-stop.  O’Brien’s mastery of these songs allows him to toy with them; he experiments by taking them in new directions.  For some, like ‘That Day’, he pares them back completely delivering them alone with just his guitar, but with others he invites the contribution of his band.  The latter is the new direction that the Villagers are taking on their forthcoming album.

Becoming a Jackal was O’Brien’s in all but name.  For the album he played all the instruments, wrote the lyrics and the music himself.  The band joined him on stage to perform the songs because there are only so many instruments one person can play.  However, things are different now.  O’Brien is one of the most complete musical talents on the Irish music scene but with the few years maturity he is not afraid to enlist the help of his band in the making of the new record.  In doing so he is embracing the contributions of his talented band members as he seeks a fuller sound.  He still has control of the lyrics but the musical monopoly that he commanded over the first album seems to have been relinquished.  In a short note on the bands website he describes the direction taken for Awayland, “I sure as hell don’t want to lose any intimacy in the music, but I need to take this intimacy into a more vibrant place.  The furrowed-brow vocal seriousness which I used to engage with has no place here.”  O’Brien is venturing into unknown territory.  He knows that releasing Jackal mark II would placate his fans but in terms of his development it would be pointless so he is embracing the band cooperative in order to take his music forward.

O’Brien, in his characteristically reserved way, gives the audience warning of what is on the menu, “Tonight we’re going to do lots of new material.  I hope that’s ok.”  The tightly packed crowd whoops its approval and he replies, “Good, because that would have been awkward if it wasn’t.”  The new album’s songs still bear the hallmarks of the first with his penchant for a sharp lyric and his enchanting vocals remaining centre stage but they are no longer alone as the furnishings have been worked on with extensive in-put from band members: Cormac Curran, Danny Snow, James Byrne and Tommy McLaughlin.  They join him for backing vocals on ‘The Bell’ giving it a more layered sound.  They turn punk for ‘Earthly Pleasure’.  They strum guitars together for ‘Nothing Arrived’ with Conor howling the vocals, banging drums while strobe lights flash.  The tough touring schedule has clearly taken a toll on O’Brien’s voice as he coughs between songs and drinks plenty of water but his enunciation is still immaculate when needed on the more intimate and familiar sounding ‘My Lighthouse’.  The crowd slips easily under his spell.  O’Brien gives us the title track from his first album and there is a warning held in one of its lyrics, “So before you take this song as truth/ You should wonder what I’m taking from you/ How I benefit from you being here/ Lending me your ears while I’m selling you my fears.”  Clearly this involves give and take as O’Brien tests the new material on his audience.

The new single ‘The Waves’ mixes light electro-funk beats with O’Brien’s bouncing lyrics and epitomises their exciting new direction.  The audience is warming to the new track as it builds towards a loud crescendo with the bands new, more united, sound washing over the audience.  Based on tonight’s performance the album will be worth the wait.

As O’Brien salutes the adoring crowd and mentions a special thanks to family and friends of the band who are up in the pew above saying, “We’re glad to have you here.  It’s been a while but we’ll be with you soon” before launching into the last song of the night, a familiar one, ‘On a Sunlit Stage’.  The intimate setting of Whelans may not be able to house this band for much longer.  January, and their second album, will see another surge in their popularity.  Their next Dublin date is March in the Olympia and by that stage fans will be equipped with a copy of Awayland and smaller gigs will be talked about with reverence.  They are no longer a solo act.

Setlist:

Set the Tigers Free

Home

The Pact (I’ll be your fever)

Grateful Song

Passing a Message

The Bell

Becoming a Jackal

My Lighthouse

Rhythm Composer

The Meaning of the Ritual

Memoir

Earthly Pleasure

Judgement Call

Nothing Arrived

The Waves

Ship of Promises

That Day

In a Newfoundland You Are Free

On a Sunlight Stage

Versatile Clifford To Rock Whelan’s With Launch Of Debut Album

Dublin will burst into life on December 1st when the unpredictable multi-instrumentalist that is Greg Clifford launches his debut album in Whelan’s.

Supported by Ciaran Brennan, Greg will woo fans with his hits such as Revolver, Wasting Away and his new single Changing Everyday, which has fans and critics raving (Click the links to listen to the songs).

Clifford, the former frontman of the now defunct Elavator has honed his skills during his six year stint with the now defunct band, through his studies and through his participation in the RTE Instrumental TV series. Not to mention the endless amount of hard work he has put in behind the scenes.

Hard working Greg has also toured internationally with Diversus Guitar Ensemble and appeared in the National Concert Hall. He also works as arranger for NDT Productions and a session guitarist.

The Dubliner possesses a rather unique style which is an amalgamation of singer songwriter with rock, blues, jazz and folk. Inspired by many, Greg is certainly becoming a trend setter in the tough music industry and his debut album launch is not to be missed as it proves a rare insight into one of the finest talents on the Irish music scene.

Speaking of his inspirations Greg revealed  that “There’s many inspirations. I love the Beatles, what they stand for and what they’ve pioneered.But aspects of Krautrock, classical music, Baroque music, rock, punk.. it all effects me and shapes the musician I am.. I’m an open character and my music reflects and captures who I am.”

“Experience and my surroundings always have a direct influence on what I put down on paper and on record.”

After six years with Elavator, Greg now possesses a freedom to pursue a solo career, something he labels as “one of the most liberating and rewarding musical experiences” of his career. Speaking of the demise of the Dublin rock band Greg revealed a mixture of emotions combining nostalgia with a hunger and desire to fulfill his new found freedom.

“I kind of had no choice but to go solo. I spent 6 years playing with Elavator. Of course we had our highs and lows but we really got to a stage where there was no more genuine progression. It became apparent that there was contrasting levels of commitment and willingness to improve and push the sound further. But it was an invaluable experience and when we clicked we were one of the tightest, most rocking bands on the Irish underground music scene. In honesty I miss the raw, loud, sweaty events we created when we played. But we move on as people, we adapt and it leads onto a new musical chapter for me, one that resonates in a more singer songwriter-like idiom which is interesting for what it’s worth.

He reflects, ‘It was the right time in my life to document this material and expand musically’.

The authentic soloist is revered for his style, something which no one can seemingly tie down such is his level of versatility. “It comes as quite a compliment, but people seem unable to pin point my style or where exactly my sounds lies. As pretentious as it may come across, I believe my sound is a culmination of all I’ve listened too and all the various musical ensembles I’ve ventured into”.

“ I would compare my mindset, rather than my style, to someone like Nick Cave. Having said that, I’m under no illusions, I couldn’t hold a candle towards that genius. But I admire how prolific he is and how he continues to reinvent himself and his soundworld. This is something I wish to someday adhere to.”

October saw Greg star in Instrumental, a series which documented a four month journey where three personalities and three members of the public set out to learn an instrument from scratch, culminating with a performance by each participant, complete with full orchestral backing, in the National Concert Hall. Greg mastered the clarinet, an instrument he endeavours to continue learning and plans to work into future recording projects. The show culminated in the National Concert Hall with Greg wowing crowds with his own arrangement of his own composition entitled “Changing Everyday”, which is also his new single.

2013 looks set to be the breakout year for this promising star, not that you would know it from talking to him. The patient Dubliner is more than willing to bide his time and keep working hard as he attempts to fulfill his dreams.

“To be out straight I really do not know what 2013 holds in store for me. All I can do is soldier on and keep the faith. I’d like to receive more recognition for the hard work I put in and build a solid fan base.. It is difficult, due to music, and the artistic world in fact, being so saturated. There are so many people trying to create and forge an identity but I’ll keep gigging and putting up content online.. I’ll most likely record a second album and will look to push my sound by incorporating instruments I’ve never written for before. I’d also like to attempt film music compositions, more arrangements and general orchestral scores, and just see where the musical road takes me”.

His musical talents know no boundaries and his versatility and uniqueness will no doubt take Irish music to a whole new level.

Greg Clifford (@gregclifford87)  plays Whelan’s on Saturday December 1st. The exciting debut launch of his highly anticipated first solo album is not to be missed. Tickets cost €8 and can be purchased from the box office or directly from Greg on Facebook.

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