Tuesday 16 January 2018

Fancy Killing Bono or chatting to Saint Bob?

Then, says Barry Egan, head to the RDS today, where a lively mix of film and song will entertain at the Music Show

It's Sunday, so it must be time to wax lyrical about Killing Bono . . . or at least have a panel discussion in Ballsbridge about a movie of that name concerning two ill-fated brothers, Neil and Ivan, who start up a band in Dublin in the Seventies while their schoolfriends go on to become the biggest band in the world.

The talk about Killing Bono at 3pm today is one of the highlights of the Music Show at the RDS. The panel discussion includes the author of I Was Bono's Doppelganger (the book the film is based on), Daily Telegraph rock columnist Neil McCormick, the film's director Nick Hamm and Grammy-nominated composer of the soundtrack Joe Echo.

"The Killing Bono panel will be hugely entertaining as well as informative," says Music Show organiser Niall Stokes. "From what I've seen of the movie, it has the potential to be a huge hit, so it's a bit of a coup that we'll be able to show some exclusive scenes from it. Neil McCormick will talk about the very strange experience of becoming a fictional character. And Nick Hamm is a brilliant, smart, highly opinionated guy who will be superb on what's involved in making a film about real characters including members of U2. I really think they've got a big hit on their hands, so anyone who wants to be in on that early should make sure to be there."

Another highlight of today's carry-on at the RDS is the public interview with none other than Bob Geldof at 2pm.

"It's taken three years to find a way of fitting the Music Show into Bob's schedule --not least because it has clashed with his birthday, which is on October 5," says Stokes. "There is a huge level of excitement about the fact that he's going to be at the show -- he is such a fascinating character with an amazing story to tell. Plus, if you want sparks to fly, look no further! One of the things that is too easily forgotten is that Bob is a very fine songwriter and in the early days of The Boomtown Rats was a bit of a hit machine. But he has written some fantastic songs. He has a new album on the way at the start of next year, and so we'll be covering his role as an artist, as well as his humanitarian work and his involvement in some of the biggest events of the past 30 years in music -- and of course all the rest of the stuff that people will want to hear him talk about."

Among the other highlights of the Music Show are U2 producer Steve Lillywhite and Sharon Corr who will be performing live.

"Everyone is really looking forward to seeing Sharon Corr on the live stage, along with The Coronas, who are huge, Jerry Fish and Damien Dempsey -- who is such a brilliant singer. Loads of people are really looking forward to hearing what Mundy and Gemma Hayes have to say about song-writing and to hearing them play together."

But there is a bigger issue. The music industry is in its death throes. We await the death rattle of record company executives.

That bleak future didn't stop Hot Press editor Stokes organising the third annual Music Show this weekend. "Obviously there are huge challenges facing the music industry at the moment," Stokes says, "which makes an event like this all the more timely. Everyone is trying to figure out a way forward, which is why gathering some of the most influential and smartest people in the business in Dublin over a weekend was a big deal.

"On the one hand, it was an opportunity for Irish music activists to network and get to know people, and to put their ideas and projects forward. But it also places Ireland, and Irish music, at the centre of the debate.

"Is it possible to harvest the activity currently taking place on the internet in a way that enables artists to be paid for their work? There isn't a consensus as to how, but some of the smartest people in the industry, including [U2 manager] Paul McGuinness, are saying yes. I'd love to see that debate being advanced at the Music Show, in a way that confirms Ireland's pivotal position in the intellectual industries internationally."

Asked what the future is for the Irish music industry, Stokes says that "this is a golden age for Irish music, in terms of the quality of the bands and the talent, the number of great records being made here, and the impact that Irish artists are continuing to have on the international scene from experimental indie music through mainstream rock to commercial pop".

But it is more difficult for Irish artists, continues Stokes, to make a living than it is for those in the big European countries, "because there is less than six million people on the island and therefore being big in the domestic market offers only a fraction of the return that it would in somewhere like Germany."

Tickets, €16, available at the door. Family tickets, €33. For further information log on to www.themusicshow.ie

Sunday Independent

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