Wednesday 29 March 2017

Loaded: Lily gets into the Crystal Swing

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Crystal Swing will perform with Lily Allen at the Flatlake Festival in Monaghan. No, this is not a joke and today isn't April 1. Whatever you make of Crystal Swing (below), the latest chapter in their remarkable story could be great skit. Lily Allen is no stranger to controversy either, but you've got to admit that she has got some sparkling pop tunes.

The Flatlake Literary & Arts Festival is the brainchild of Kevin Allen -- Lily's uncle and brother to Keith -- and writer Pat McCabe. It promises to be an absolute hoot and you really should secure your tickets immediately as the daily capacity is strictly limited to 2,000. Flatlake runs on the bank holiday weekend from June 4-6. There will be more exclusive Flatlake news in next week's edition of Day & Night.



  • Loaded is heartened to hear that BBC 6 Music listenership figures have rocketed in the past few months. Lauren Laverne (right) has become an essential part of my day. There isn't a morning radio show anywhere in the world that would dare to play Slint, The Fall and My Bloody Valentine at such an hour. Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service also makes for awesome radio.


It's a far cry from when I used to tune into a crackly reception of John Peel to tape the latest Pixies session. BBC 6 Music is available to stream via the iPlayer, or the ingenious Wunder Radio application for iPhones. The BBC 6 Music team also deserve credit for championing Irish talent in Villagers and Two Door Cinema Club, and running features on the respective music scenes in Dublin and Belfast.

BBC 6 Music is threatened with closure at the end of next year. Hopefully a massive online campaign -- which has been supported by many leading musicians -- and an audience increase of more than 50pc might be enough to prevent such an eventuality.



  • Kele Okereke of Bloc Party played his first ever solo shows in Ireland this week in Cork, Limerick, Dublin and Belfast. It's nice to see overseas artists bothering to do a decent Irish tour. At the first show in Limerick, Kele even bought a shot of Jagermeister for everyone in Dolan's to toast his live solo debut.


Bloc Party haven't officially split, although there have been murmurings of a hiatus for some time. It remains to be seen if we will hear any more from Bloc Party but, in the meantime, check out the dubstep-influenced Kele track Walk Tall online. It's a cracker.



  • Ian Curtis died 30 years ago this week. To mark the occasion, Macclesfield has announced a special walking tour of the singer's hometown. Writer and punk historian Jon Savage says: "Macclesfield is a slightly gloomy town and if you want the Joy Division experience it is a good place to go. You get a sense of where Curtis was from, and what he was trying to escape from."


Savage wrote the highly acclaimed book, England's Dreaming -- Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, which is probably the best music tome I've ever read.

The tour and accompanying exhibition, Unknown Pleasures, opens on July 27.



  • Another rock'n'roll destination for music-loving tourists this summer will be the opening of Jimi Hendrix's London flat in Mayfair to the public to mark the 40th anniversary of his premature death.


The greatest guitarist of all time lived at 23 Brook Street. Intriguingly, number 25, next door, was once the home of another musical legend, Frederick Handel, whose celebrated masterpiece The Messiah famously debuted in the old music hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin 2. Twenty-three Brook Street will throw its doors open to the public between September 15 and 26.



  • Perhaps all this travel talk is presumptuous, seeing as that pesky volcano's vile belches were again wrecking our heads and itineraries this week.


A few weeks ago, Conor O'Brien of Villagers was our Day & Night cover star. I was very lucky to have experienced his performance on Later With Jools Holland first hand.

The volcano with the unpronounceable name (I'd favour something far more crude) first acted up that week. I decided to stay on an extra night in London to attend a historic Spurs v Arsenal game. Little did I know that in doing so I wouldn't get back to the mainland until nearly a week later!

Last Monday, I was due to interview Russell Brand in London, a golden opportunity that you certainly don't get every day. Unfortunately, our rendezvous also bit the volcanic dust.

Enough moaning, as I'd much rather endure a little inconvenience and be a bit out of pocket than risk hurtling to the ground from 30,000 feet. Having said that, I sincerely hope and pray that I'm on a scheduled flight to Madrid this morning for my first full and proper holiday in nearly two years. Fingers and toes crossed, and bidding you all a bon voyage to wherever you're hoping to get to this summer.

Irish Independent

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