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Shake, Battle, Roll

The Dublin band say rock is not dead despite the cost of putting on live gigs

Von shakes are a dublin rock band who've already played in Russia, Germany and England before their debut album is released. In an age when electro acts, boy bands, singer-songwriters and Pop Idol canon fodder appear to hold sway, frontman Patrick Brazel is adamant that rock'n'roll will never die.

"Rock is definitely still alive," he states. "A guy from Universal Music said recently that every year two of their most impressive artists are Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. New people get into them every year. It may not be quite in the charts but it's still in demand."

Despite a growing reputation as a hot live act, life hasn't been easy for Von Shakes, whose single The Routine is a taste of the explosive power of their upcoming album.

"What works against bands here is that there are too many bands and the venues are too expensive," says Patrick.

"IMRO published a report which said there are 4,000 full-time bands in Ireland," he explains. "That's like 10% of the population is in bands."

Von Shakes believe the gig circuit in Ireland is pricing itself out of existence. "For us, playing live is the best part of being in a band," says Patrick. "We played 11 gigs in the last four weeks. But the problem with the live scene in Dublin is that the venues charge full price for drinks. Audiences have to pay to get in as well, and then they get a few bands of which maybe only one or two are good. The others are god awful, burning the ears off people who say: 'That was an awful night. I'm not going there again.'

"They can go to a nightclub, pay a fiver in and pay for €2 drinks and listen to chart music," adds Patrick. "That's killing Dublin bands."

"For people to pick up on a good band is like trying to find a diamond in the rough," he adds.

Von Shakes didn't have plans for world domination when they formed. "It all started from listening to the greats -- Zeppelin, Lizzy and so on," explains Patrick. "We knew each other as friends and it was when we started getting a following without doing much that we realised that maybe we were okay. For the last few years we've been working towards this album."

With a production team of Paul Byrne (Phonic Studios), Conor Brady (The Blades, Revenants) and Phil Hayes (Bell X1, Delorentos) behind them, Von Shakes look set to be on course to emulate their heroes. -- EC

Von Shakes play UCC tonight and The Summit, Howth on Tuesday