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It's only rock'n'roll but I like it
With politicians up in arms about flower-beds while Raytheon helps destroy Lebanon, it’s enough to make even Tony Blair frown. Thank god we still have rock.
Eamonn McCann, 29 Aug 2006
I wouldn’t want to influence you...’ began the shy rock and roll singer.
Fuck. When Hawks Collins asked me to be a judge at the Feile Battle of the Bands, I assumed I’d be under siege from blandishments and bribes. C’mon, I tried to indicate through subtle eye movement, influence me. At least try. Offer me sex, drugs, anything.
All I got was a Marlboro from one of River, and I couldn’t make them winners because the sound was so manky I couldn’t be certain the singer was singing.
Not that I could decide anything, being out-numbered, out-qualified and potentially out-voted by Sperrins legend Paddy Glasgow of Glasgowbury and famed Donegal musician Martin McGinley, who edits the Derry Journal in his spare time.
Maybe that’s why there were no offers I wouldn’t refuse, which is to say no offers at all. I cursed the Feile’s over-developed morality and accepted the dull chore of objectivity.
Fargo bounced on stage to an as-yet half-full Gweedore which hadn’t decided what mood to be in, and came within an inch of battering the venue into early submission with crisp and tuneful bluesy rock. A twin-striker attack twitchy with energy – Ms. Leigh-lo Cassidy had the ‘name-of-the-night’ – they had listened hard to Hendrix, which is sine qua non. Somebody from Skruff confessed afterwards he’d have voted for them. Now he tells me, I muttered.
River had contrarywise spent time with Lou Reed and Neil Young, who aren’t the wrong crowd, either. But not being able to hear the singer is a snag more than somewhat in any shakedown of songs. Still, the Belfast three-piece – guitar, headless bass and one of those electronic gizmos I’m always too embarrassed to ask about and show ignorance – are serious-minded with sweetness in the mix when into their sound and their stride and with a couple of songs of intriguing complexity. Probably a far better band than on the night. I’ll be back.
Dubliners OFM and the Furious T (or Tree, you can’t tell with Dubliners) were straight into unfussy action, disciplined, punky arrangements ornamented with those bent-note, sub-continental flourishes once associated only with Norah Jones’ da, and funky percussive interjections from the organ. Maybe not enough light and shade, but then they only had 15 minutes. Bags of oomph, a trilby hat (every band should have one), and they filled the floor with whirling revellers – not all of them drunk.