Tuesday 17 September 2019

Loaded: Festival films for music fans

Gossip and news from rock critic John Meagher

Bell X1 are touring North America this spring. Below, Cathy Davy is among the acts playing the
Childline Rocks fundraiser
Bell X1 are touring North America this spring. Below, Cathy Davy is among the acts playing the Childline Rocks fundraiser
John Meagher

John Meagher

The forthcoming Dublin International Film Festival has plenty to whet the appetites of music fans. There will be three screenings of the very well received U2 3D, which makes its international debut at the festival. Something I'm looking forward to is the feature-length documentary, Joy Division, which has been billed as the definitive study of the seminal Manchester band. It may yet prove to be a worthy counterpart of last year's fine biopic from Anton Corbijn, Control.

There will also be a screening of the classic silent 1929 film, Pandora's Box, with a live soundtrack provided by the excellent 3epkano. The Dublin-based outfit, whose members include bassist Laurence Mackin -- formerly a hack with this newspaper -- have provided similar soundtracks for a number of venerable cinematic gems, including The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari.

Joy Division is on in the Screen Cinema on Sunday, February 17; U2 3D is screened in Cineworld on Wednesday, February 20; and Pandora's Box -- with 3epkano in tow -- will be shown in the Savoy on Sunday 24.

For tickets and schedule, consult www.dubliniff.com

n Another week, another new bands competition. This time it's Vodafone, in conjunction with Universal Ireland, who are leaping on the bandwagon. Dubbed Bright New Sounds, it will apparently offer the winning band the opportunity to have its music heard by 2.2 million subscribers to the mobile company -- assuming, of course, they bother to download the track from an unknown band -- and a one-single deal with Universal.

Jackie Hayden of Hot Press is among the judges. Is it just me or is Hayden always on such battle-of-the-bands panels? Mind you, he did give top marks to a fledgling outfit called U2 in a 1978 talent competition, and if I'd done that I'd be dining out on it for 30 years as well.

Any bands thinking of applying should upload tracks to www.brightnewsounds.ie

n It's for a good cause and it's got a pretty decent line-up too. Childline Rocks takes place in the Academy, Dublin, on February 28 and boasts acts including Cathy Davey, Jape, Super Extra Bonus Party, Dry County and Ham Sandwich. There will be two stages, DJs from Phantom will be manning the decks and Michelle Doherty, host of Channel 6's Nightshift, will be MCing on the night.

Childline Rocks was launched last night with a live performance from rising outfit Rarely Seen Above Ground and tickets are available now. All artists playing will waive their fees and proceeds will go to Childline, the counselling hotline service for children run by the ISPCC.

n Details of the second Totally Swedish festival, happening in Dublin from February 26 to March 9, have been unveiled this week. Besides screenings of celebrated Bergman movies, visual art from some of the country's top emerging painters and, no doubt, a proliferation of leggy blonde people, the festival will feature performances from some of Sweden's big domestic music names, including Sahara Hotnights, Weeping Willows (haven't been hugely moved by what I've heard, to be honest) and Jonna Lee.

Performances will take place at the Button Factory, Temple Bar on February 28, 29 and March 1. The whole shebang is being organised by free monthly mag, Totally Dublin, and details are available from www.swedishfestival.ie

n Bell X1's latest assault on North America starts on March 12 with a show in Toronto, before taking on Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. The stint also includes a sold-out St Patrick's Weekend show at New York's Bowery Ballroom.

The tour comes on the heels of band's first US album release on February 19 via Yep Roc. Flock, the band's third full-length, was released here in 2006 has since gone five-times platinum.

"We've reached a tipping point with America," frontman Paul Noonan told Billboard.com. "We live in an online era where music is devalued, so doing shows and making the live experience more special is the place for us to win over new crowds."

According to Billboard, Bell X1 are the second biggest live draw in Ireland, surpassed only by U2. A neat line, but not an accurate one. Westlife and the newly reformed Boyzone might have something to say to that.

n A number of unique collaborations, including Fergie performing with John Legend and Josh Groban duetting with Andrea Bocelli, will be featured at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. John Fogerty, who is nominated for best rock album for Revival, will be performing with rock legends Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis in a segment called "Cornerstones of Rock" during the 50th annual event. A classical/jazz moment with nominees Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang is also scheduled. n

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