Saturday 14 December 2019

Loaded: Bedroom community are wide awake

John Meagher

John Meagher

Iceland's Bedroom Community is a record label/artistic collective that enjoys considerable acclaim. Too right. Just look at the artists on its roster -- from founder Valgeir Sigurdsson to Australian experimentalist Ben Frost and American arranger Nico Muhly. Each of these musicians follows their own path, irrespective of how uncommercial it may be. And, when it comes to Frost in particular, the music can be very esoteric.

Last Sunday night, Irish fans got to sample the wonderfully eclectic nature of the Bedroom Community with a one-off show in the lofty surrounds of the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Muhly, Frost and Sigurdsson were joined by US folk singer Sam Amidon, another labelmate, as well as four guest musicians, for what they are calling the Whale Watching Tour. And what a beautiful and varied night it was as the octet fused organic instruments, sampled sounds and all manner of vocal pyrotechnics.

The best moment of the night was the extraordinary, lengthy take of the ancient folk song The Two Sisters, which demonstrated the virtuosic abilities of these musicians.

After the horrendous sound problems for Michael Bublé's show in the Aviva Stadium on Friday, during which a discernible echo could be heard throughout the night, it was a pleasure to enjoy a concert at a venue where the acoustics are pristine. It's just a pity there were so many empty seats. I've rarely seen the Concert Hall as empty as this.

  • Hollywood A-lister Tim Robbins did his bluegrass thing in Whelan's, Dublin on Sunday night too, and I hear the gig was fine. Which is more than can be said about the reaction of the UK press to his debut album, Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band. Let's just say, the knives were out for the actor's perceived lack of soul.

Robbins, meanwhile, has been bigging up his music love by taking a swipe at other genres. Here's what he told the Observer at the weekend: "I dislike soulless music. I have a hard time with electronica. Music should have mistakes in it."

Ever heard such tosh? Electronic music can blow you away with its emotional heart. I refer Mr Robbins to two of this year's offerings from the DFA stable: LCD Soundsystem's latest and the new album by Shit Robot, aka Dublin exile Marcus Lambkin.

  • Fresh from her much-talked-of performance at Electric Picnic, this year's critical sensation Janelle Monae is set to perform in Tripod, Dublin, on Sunday, December 19. Her debut album, The ArchAndroid, is one of the best reviewed of the year, judging from aggregator site Metacritic, and I urge you to check out her brand of sci-fi hip-hop if you haven't already done so. Tickets go on sale at 9am this morning and cost €28 and €32 (including booking fee).
  • Hot Press's perennial Music Show takes place in the RDS, Dublin, this weekend with the usual glut of exhibitors aimed at fledgling musicians plus a myriad of workshops. Perhaps this year's most notable feature is a public interview with Bob Geldof, which should be entertaining. Love or loathe him, I don't think Sir Bob is capable of being boring.

The live aspect of the show will see performances from Imelda May and Republic of Loose, who will be showcasing tunes from their new album, Bounce at the Devil, which is out next Friday.

For further information, consult hotpress.com

  • I knew The Script were popular, but I'd no idea just how popular. Selling 60,000 tickets for Irish shows -- north and south -- in just four hours is in the realm of the U2s and Westlifes of this world. That includes three dates in Dublin's O2 (March 10, 11 and 12).

Their second album, Science & Faith, has been selling with Jedward speed. Nice guys and all, but the music isn't up to much, which just goes to show that critics and the public rarely see eye to eye.

Irish Independent

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