Pod put a smile upon my face
Published 26/02/2012 | 06:00
Even venues can be like buses. Wait long enough and two of them come along at once. The Workman's Club and the Grand Social opened almost simultaneously in September 2010.
Sadly, this month, three venues in the one building on Harcourt Street all closed at once.
TriPod (formerly Red Box), CrawDaddy and POD were three of Dublin's best known venues and nighteries. The original nightclub, POD (Place of Dance), started back in 1993.
You can blame it on the recession, you can blame it on increased competition from newer venues or cheap supermarket booze, or you can blame it on the boogie, but let's pause for a moment to remember a baker's dozen of great nights over the years.
This is a purely personal selection, and while I've attempted to include a healthy mix of rock, pop, dance and hip-hop, it's far from being in any way fully comprehensive or definitive, but just a bunch of great nights out with world-class bands and DJs soundtracking the occasion.
Good night, POD. Rest in peace and thanks for the memories . . .
FATBOY SLIM & THE SCRATCH PERVERTS, 1997
In 1998, former Housemartin Norman Cook's big beat alias exploded with 'The Rockafeller Skank' and the rest is history. The summer before he broke, Brighton's funk soul brother played a roof-raising set in the Red Box. Probably the best club atmosphere I've experienced anywhere in the world from Ibiza to Berlin.
Radiohead and Spiritualized released arguably their best albums on the same day in June 1997. A few months later, Jason Pierce brought his Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space show to the Red Box. It was one of those rare gigs where you walked in and levitated out.
LAURENT GARNIER, 1998
There are superstar DJs, and then there's Laurent Garnier. His live tour blew the Trinity Ball and Red Box apart in the space of the same weekend. This is probably the best choreographed live dance and lights extravaganza I've ever witnessed in the presence of a true master.
Joey Ramone had just died, and the Scottish Guitar Army paid a raucous tribute.
They dedicated the show to the late punk icon by tearing the place apart with tracks taken from their Rock Action album.
This was one of the loudest shows I've ever been at.
Red Box was in the process of going through a refit into a short-lived incarnation that resembled Manchester's iconic Hacienda venue.
And the builders were still knocking the place together while American post-hardcore legends Fugazi were actually onstage, but it all added to the surreal sense of occasion.
ANTICS FEATURING JAMES MURPHY (LCD SOUND-SYSTEM), 2007
The midweek indie/electro night was one of the liveliest clubs Dublin had seen in years. LCD Soundsystem chief James Murphy played a fun and funky set on my birthday. Good times and great memories.
The girl from Tottenham will need to build a few new fireplaces to house all those Grammy and Brit awards. Hard to believe it now, but I first saw her in CrawDaddy on a Sunday night. It wasn't even full.
"I've only got 10 songs," she shyly said at the time.
She sang all 10 and her voice was magnificent.
PUBLIC ENEMY, 2008
Public Enemy live have been a little hit and miss over the years, but they were on fire for this cracker.
Chuck D and company played their classic album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in full and a bumper dose of classic encores.
JANELLE MONAE, 2010
The country was under a thick blanket of snow, but Janelle Monae warmed the cockles of every single heart in TriPod with a spectacular show that was a feast for the eyes and ears.
THE FALL, 2004/2010
The Fall were regular visitors to Harcourt Street. They played a blinder in CrawDaddy in 2004, even though Mark E Smith and company were horrendously late coming onstage. They came back for another cracker upstairs on Paddy's Day 2010.
PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED, 2011
John Lydon's Public Image Limited shook the old railway station to its very foundations with the last truly great live show I caught on Harcourt Street. Spine-tingling versions of 'This is Not a Love Song' and 'Rise' will linger forever in the memory.
AND A STINKER . . .
PRIMAL SCREAM, 2005
The Scottish pioneers are one of my favourite bands, but this was a complete stinker.
The band seemed barely capable of standing up straight, let alone playing, not to mention singer Bobby Gillespie and bassist Mani nearly coming to blows.
Entertaining for all the wrong reasons.