Saturday 16 December 2017

Eamon Sweeney: Choice coup for top promoter

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Choice Cuts celebrate 10 years of being one of the country's most adventurous promoters with a rather remarkable coup. A motley crew of musicians, billed as Another Honest Jon's Chop Up, features Blur and Gorillaz henchman Damon Albarn (fresh from kissing and making up with former nemesis Noel Gallagher), Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and DJ Theo Parrish to name just a few.

Named after Albarn's excellent record shop on London's Ladbroke Grove, the collective are only performing four shows together in 2011.

And thanks to the persuasive powers of Mark Murphy, Donal Thornton and Loughlin McSweeney, Ireland gets not just one but two of these exclusive gigs.

It's the hottest ticket in Cork city tonight as a show kicking off the Cork Jazz festival shenanigans in the Savoy is completely sold out. Next Tuesday, the Albarn-curated roadshow rolls into Vicar St, with limited tickets available from usual outlets.

•During all the brouhaha surrounding the Stone Roses reunion last week, there was surprisingly little talk of the rather hefty admission price of £55 before you add in all those infuriating additional fees and charges.

Financial correspondent and blogger Rupert Jones asked: "Is it just me, or is £55 far too much to charge someone to stand in a field with 75,000 other fans and watch some specks on a stage, when those specks are a revived indie band who produced one decent album rather than true megastars such as the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen?"

Interestingly, this isn't some traditionalist Dadrock aficionado sneering at the High Kings of indie schmindie, but a fan who attended their Spike Island show in 1990. He points out that tickets then cost £14, which works out as £26 in today's money.

Nevertheless, 220,000 people duly bought tickets and the Heaton Park reunion has become the fastest-selling live event in English history.

It's roughly the same asking price to watch a Premiership football match, where hyperinflation in both tickets prices and player wages almost makes the live-music industry look good value.

•While we're on the subject of money being too tight to mention, how much are The Beatles worth?

According to former manager Allan Williams, in 1962, exactly £9, or £250 in today's money. Williams sold on the band to Brian Epstein in what has to be the bargain of the century.

To add insult to injury, Williams never even got his nine pounds.

He thought there were at least 300 bands in Liverpool alone that were better than the nascent Fab Four.

"I remember watching them doing a performance before the queen about a year later and throwing a cushion at the TV," he ruefully recalls.

•If The Beatles' back catalogue is priceless, then John Lennon's tooth has a guide price of £10,000-£20,000.

Next weekend in Stockport, this bizarre item goes under the hammer for anyone crazy enough to want to part with cash for a discoloured tooth with a cavity.

Lennon (above) gave the tooth to his housekeeper, Dot Jarlett, as a souvenir for her Beatles-loving daughter.

You can make bids online at the Omega Auctions website, if you so wish, or have a peek at other curios such as an oil and wax painting by John Squire that attempts to capture the sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain in paint. You really couldn't make this stuff up.

There will be many more Omega auctions because Alan McGee intends to off-load his entire collection. "I can't be arsed with music anymore," he says. "I moved to Wales to get away from it, why would I want it in my basement?"

McGee denies that he's in it for the money in his usual typically blunt manner. "As for my financial situation -- on last count, I have five big houses, so I think I'll be okay in my old age."

•Elvis Costello brings his Spectacular Spinning Songbook to the Grand Canal Theatre next May for the opening night of a European tour with a difference. Costello and the Imposters will perform five tracks at the beginning of the show, before inviting audience members to spin a wheel to pick the next song at random.

It sounds kind of like Winning Streak with Oliver's Army and Pump It Up rather than wads of cash. Considerably cooler, if not quite so lucrative.

•The Workman's Club on Wellington Quay has been open for business for just over a year, and it has already started a tradition of doing all-dayers on a bank holiday Sunday.

This weekend hosts the Irish album launch of the Berlin-based act Admiral Black, an eagerly anticipated homecoming for former Humanzi frontman Shaun Mulrooney.

Six other acts take to the stage from 6.30pm, and the even better news is that admission is free.

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