Wednesday 22 November 2017

Loaded: Bands battle to make it like their heroes

John Meagher

John Meagher

Now in its eighth year, the Hard Working Class Heroes festival -- which kicks off today -- has become a staple of Dublin's autumn live music scene and is something of a godsend for the country's fledgling bands.

As ever, hundreds of acts applied for the chance to ply their wares, and the numbers have been whittled down to 100. This year's venues are clustered even closer together than before around Temple Bar -- Button Factory, Mercantile, The Grand Social, Sweeney's, Twisted Pepper and Workman's Club. For a full line-up, consult

As has become customary, there will be a series of panel discussions. This year, the focus is on four Fs -- fans, funding, futuregazing, (a look at how the industry will be in 2020, apparently), and fame. The latter panel includes Sophie Gorman, the editor of this magazine. All discussions are based at the Button Factory and take place today and tomorrow from 2pm.

The same venue will also host "speed sessions", which allows the artists taking part to meet a wide range of industry personnel from promoters to label executives. And who knows, somebody might just meet the contact to help them to the next level.

Weekend tickets cost €45, day tickets €20.

  • The Hot Press Music Show at the RDS managed to pack them in over the weekend, with the ever-opinioned star attraction Bob Geldof delivering most of the headlines.

Another big-name attendee, sometime U2 producer Steve Lillywhite, was angered at the way The Irish Times allegedly misquoted him in an interview. The headline suggested Lillywhite thought U2's last album was a failure, but Lillywhite insists he meant nothing of the sort.

Meanwhile, still on the subject of U2, the Music Show featured a public interview with director Nick Hamm, whose film Killing Bono is due for release in the spring. The movie is based on the memoir of Daily Telegraph writer Neil McCormick's 2005 memoir, I Was Bono's Doppelganger.

McCormick, as he frequently reminds us, was in Bono's class at school and his book (and film) charts his attempts to make it as a rock star while the boy he knew at Mount Temple as Paul Hewson becomes a global icon.

"We live in a society that celebrates and champions not just celebrity but success, but most of us aren't that successful," according to Hamm. "The chances of achieving it are quite remote. I wanted to do a movie that showed the journey of that.

"It's not a U2 project, it's not about them. They're a counterpoint. It could have been any band that's successful."

  • U2 also get plenty of attention in Dave Fanning's just- published autobiography, The Thing Is ... , but what's striking about the book is how little credit the DJ takes for their early breakthrough. It speaks volumes about the man that he refuses to dine out on their subsequent success.

The aspect of the book I enjoyed most was his account of the pirate radio scene in Dublin prior to the launch of Radio 2 (now 2fm) in 1979.

It was a time when vinyl ruled and music felt anything but disposable. Reading it is likely to make many nostalgic for the days of 'Scene', McGonagles and The Blades.

  • Based in West Cork, the Headland Collective is a community of like-minded, yet musically diverse artists, providing mutual support and collaboration.

The forthcoming tour includes the electro-acoustic experimentalist Justin Grounds, rising band LOWmountain and local singer-songwriter Gavin Moore.

The tour kicks off in McCarthy's, Dingle, tonight before calling at the Passion Fruit Theatre, Athlone, tomorrow, and Roisin Dubh (upstairs) on Sunday. Further dates are slated for Clonakilty, Cork and Dublin.

  • Darren Craig of Whelan's, Dublin, has been in touch to say that tomorrow night's tribute concert for the late Derek Nally, promoter and band manager, has been postponed until December 22.

Ham Sandwich, with second album White Fox just out, are among those playing to raise funds for Derek's family.

Irish Independent

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