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Thursday, September 18, 2008


I'm still recovering from the Guinness and jetlag from last weekend's HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES FEST in Dublin, Ireland, but as promised, here's a short recap on the unsigned bands and young artists that were featured.

I finally got some hang time with a band I've blogged about previously, CLASS OF 1984. Team hairdo have returned from London, back home to Cork to lock themselves away in the chicken shack again to write more demos and focus on the song craft. Their set had people talking.

Saturday night brought a run of bands from PILOTLIGHT, THE KINETIKS, and A LAZARUS SOUL before finally seeing a band we featured on FS31, GRAND POCKET ORCHESTRA. Where the recordings were good-time indie rock, a la SPINTO BAND or MODEST MOUSE, the live show was more like THE MAE SHI or anything going on in the Baltimore scene these days. The PAVEMENT references are also very present, and this band could do very well in the US with the Fuck Yeah Fest crowd.

Next stop was Eamonn Dorans for Belfast's SPARKS FLY. I'm told this was their first show ever in Dublin but it made little difference to those in the building as they brought their HOLLIES meets THEM era-Van Mo. Singer Rory has an incredible voice, and even though they haven't written their hit yet, this band has raw talent in excess. The right producer working with the songwriting duo in the band could make sparks fly.

The panel train headed over to see our old friends, former STARS OF THE CITY, now THE MINUTES (FS30) playing a blistering 5 song set to the outdoor crowd at M.H. Square. A quick run over to Andrews Lane for CRAYONSMITH, a band we've been spinning on the radio show proved rewarding before running back to the square for the incredible FIGHT LIKE APES. We're so proud of this band, seeing them evolve from something quirky and punk to being able to own the outdoor stage as they did that night. They just secured THE TING TINGS European tour, and its only a matter of time before America gets hip to May and her crew. We also caught half the FRIGHTENED RABBIT set before going off festival to Whelan's for a secret show for DARK ROOM NOTES who played earlier that night with KRAFTWERK and who delivered a barn-burner of a set upstairs to a sweaty room. Lots of Guiness was consumed in a town where people were puking every fifth step on the cobblestone steps - this was like the Mardi Gras for drunks.

Sunday brought not just a hangover and more panels, but more good music. The rainy night slowed our pace some, but kicking things off with ROBOTNIK, the kid that is a mix between BECK and THE BETA BAND, but part Twin Peaks, made us all realize we were in for some interesting music.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the next act, HEATHERS! I blogged about them this week already, but holy shit! Voices so big and clean and genuine that this act, I guarantee, will be HUGE! The rain forced us to drink and get lost and then wind up at the SONS & DAUGHTERS show back at Andrews Lane, where the Scotish band delivered the kind of set they are known for - absolutely solid and badass.

What I love about festivals like HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES is the fact that all the bands that played actually cared to be playing there. It wasn't a hype-festival, it wasn't one of straight fashion and 'cool-kid parties', it was straight up bands playing to industry and to a local music community that supports them. Hats off to Angela for putting on such a festival, where the focus is on actually helping bands and educating them and putting them in contact with people of all walks of the industry to get their questions answered. Sadly, many of the big music conferences have lost this goal and need to get the spark back and the priority back where it should be - helping the bands that DON'T have deals.

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Blogger james said...

Savage weekend alright mate. Rain and all:)

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