They Did It LIVE!




Pictured above: Scullion, My Bloody Valentine, Therapy?, James Vincent McMorrow, Rusangano Family… and the Joshua Trio

Last week, in our weekly, week-ending €25 Golden Discs voucher bonanza, we asked YOU to pinpoint your all-time favourite live Irish music moments. The specific format for the answer went along these lines…

‘The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was_________________________at_____________________because____________’

It was a serious struggle this time around to pin down a winner, which just goes to display the breadth and depth of our little island’s talent over the years (so support it where you can, please).

But there can only be one winner…

Wait for It… is the poster’s name. Talking My Bloody Valentine at SFX (unfortunately, no bootlegs of the event are in embeddable format online, so we’ve included Only Shallow from their Vancouver gig that year above).

“The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was My Bloody Valentine at the SFX in May, 1992 because to this day, I have never had a more visceral experience of live music. Including seeing the band themselves again twice, indoors, since they came back in 2008, I have never heard anything so loud. Ticketholders left the venue to listen from the footpath outside. Even wearing earplugs, people still had to cover their ears, especially during ‘You Made Me Realise’.

Added to this was a light show that seemed specifically designed to disorient and confuse (such as the blindingly bright lights turned on the audience during YMMR’s ‘holocaust’ section). I stood by the sound desk and saw staff from the SFX begging for the volume to be lowered, met with firm headshakes. I can’t say it was an entirely pleasant experience, but it was one I’ll never forget, which is what makes it the best.”

That’s what you want, in fairness.

Other runners from the shortlist, in (near-)chronological order…

Fiach: The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was: Scullion, at O’Flaherty Theatre UCG 1981, because of the sheer passion, talent and pleasure in performance that was so obvious from each of the members of the group. They had just released ‘Balance and Control’, so some of the songs were new to me, and each one blew my young mind. Sitting in the front row, I was agog at the veins in Philip King’s neck pulsating through the tragedy of ’18’, the energy of ‘Tension’ and the fun of ‘Can I Have My Money Back’ by Gerry Rafferty. The sheer range of emotions from the whole group was enthralling. Greg Bolan’s fingers flying all over the frets, and Sonny Condell’s quirky comments all helped to make this my favourite gig by any group ever.’

Frilly Keane: ‘Hot Press Battle of the Bands thing in Henrys. 88’ish. A Nordie Crowd called Trenchtown (no streaming audio to link to – Mike). That lead singer would have given Thatcher an orgasm. I know they came second in their heat so didn’t progress. If anyone has a clue, please let me know what happened to them. Anyway around the same time, like that same year, An Emotional Fish, Trinity Ball – Arts Block. Incredible, and probably one of their very early gigs. Also the support that night, Cypress Mine, who had a great track : ‘Sugar Beet God’. Zig and Zag used ta’ sing it. Anyway, all long forgotten. Pity about Trenchtown, we missed out.’

Lorcan Nagle: ‘The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was Therapy? at Sunstroke ’94, because they didn’t let up from the moment they hit the stage, and blew every band there out of the water – including the Chili Peppers at their height. I saw some guy wander out of the moshpit holding one of his shoes with a big cut on his head, telling everyone who asked if he was alright that it was all just good fun.’

Liam Deliverance: ‘The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was The Jimmy Cake at the Tivoli, around 1996 because it was a smallish gig and it was easy to get up front. The band consisted of around 12 members playing a wonderful variety of instruments including accordion and clarinet. They were described as experimental rock which didn’t mean a whole lot to me at the time plus I had no expectations as to what a band called the “Jimmy Cake” would be like, I thought it was a silly name but was to quickly learn not to judge a book by it’s cover. They played a set with each member giving their all and producing a wonderful experience, your head would be going from one musician to another, songs were 7/8 or minutes long and the audience was left feeling they had seen something special and unique. Have a Jimmy Cake CD somewhere, must have a look for it.’

HyperGlobalCompuMegaNet: ‘The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was James Vincent McMorrow upstairs in Whelan’s before he was signed circa 2008/09. His songs weren’t as ‘produced’ as they are now, it was just him, his guitar, and a ridiculous voice that kept the small crowd captivated.’

Miriam: ‘The best live performance from an Irish act I have ever witnessed was Rusangano Family at Dolans, Limerick because they are an unbelievable live performance of Irish hip-hop. They do loads for promoting multiculturalism and always support young and upcoming acts. Their energy is top class and frankly they are one of the best live acts I have ever seen.’

James Chimney: The Joshua Trio in the Baggot Inn sometime in the late 80’s. They knew what the little scut was up to!’

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24 thoughts on “They Did It LIVE!

  1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    MBV are worthy winners.
    They’re the reason I’m half-deaf, but I’m not complaining. Not a bit.

  2. Johnner

    I wrote to the president to commemorate mbv’s and Kevin’s contribution to international culture and one of his staff wrote back and told be they don’t do such a thing… Before commemorating dictator fidel castro… :)

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        …sorry, did I hear that correctly?
        ‘Rugbyfan ‘?

        As in ‘a fan of Rugby’..?

        – Are you a sporting man?
        – I’ll wager you 14c that the only reason you have a capital letter at the beginning of your pseudonym is because it happened by default and your little sister didn’t bother fixing it. She just wanted to get out of your bedroom as fast as possible.

        Think about it. I’m not going to take you to court. Just admit it and the money is yours.
        All I need is your honest admission and your address.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          In case your sister isn’t there to help, when I say ‘admit it’ I don’t mean agree with me.
          If you did that you stand to lose 14c.
          – That would be crazy.

          I mean admit your submission..
          …No, hang on… get your sister… Wake her up if you have to…

          1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Wait a minute… 14c + 14c = 28c… That’s almost the difference between a normal bag of chips and one of those SUPERSIZE bags of chips that you like.

            Tell your sister that I blocked your Ma’s number.
            I didn’t really, but tell her that I did anyway. Thanks buddy.

      2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        Sorry ‘Rugbyfan’, you were asking for it….
        You’re not a real person… I’m not a real person…
        It’s all twits for twats, innit?

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      @ Ironing Moreland;
      – I got threatened at a bus stop on Regent Street in London by a drunken idiot for wearing a MBV t-shirt back in the 90s. Something about his brother and Northern Ironing, I think.
      – My point is that you two could disagree and still both be wrong.

    1. Wait For It

      Thank you!And thanks,Mike and Broadsheet.Looking forward to spending my winnings on music that’ll help me towards that dream of owning an ear trumpet so that I can shout at kids.

  3. Quint

    MBV are half-Irish with the two Irish members living in London most of their lives. Still, we’ll take what we can…

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      Quint, ask Kevin and Colm that question.
      I still think that they still think that they’re still Irish, and I agree with them.

      – Furthermore, as Kevin Shields is the driving force* of the band, and the very first line on Wikipedia says…
      ‘My Bloody Valentine are an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1983.’
      – I’m going to claim them for Dublin. Cabinteely if you want to be specific, although I don’t even know where that is.

      *Driving Force, with a capital ‘D’ and FU2.

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        That F wasn’t for U Quaint.
        I was slagging the ‘other’ band, the unmentionable. I’m sure the ‘man’ who is a pox‘s hed wil asplode from bigness if wi don’t stap say-ing there name.

        Kanye is funnier than Bobo.

  4. Frilly Keane

    I saw MBV in Henrys
    Guessing around 89/early 90

    Not the greatest gig tbf
    They were probably too hyped up and unfortunately didn’t meet expectations
    I dunno

    But there were definitely better Irish live acts out there in the 80s
    An Emotional Fish in Henrys
    As part of the Cork Rocks thing 88 89
    Would’ve left MBV in tears and shivering in the corner

    Thanks for the mention anyway GDs

    And if anyone has news on Trenchtown
    You know where I am
    their mad but impeccably tight dirty ska guitars are in my ears now

    If its any help
    What I remember is they were Tyrone lads working as labourers in London during the day
    Gigging around London at night with the hardhats piled up behind the stage/under the pub riser

    1. Bertie Blenkinsop

      Just as an aside, Martin the drummer from An Emotional Fish passed away last week, passed his funeral up in the village.

  5. Mourinho

    I was going to enter this but I couldn’t pick one above the others.
    There was too many.
    From Liam O’Maonlai, Dervish, Luke Kelly Experience, Roesy, Elton Mullally, the two Damo’s,
    to Therapy?, 20 Buck Spin, Giveamanakick, Crow Black Chicken, Grainne Duffy, Republic of Loose, Adebisi Shank, Director, JJ72, BLINK,
    and the latest modern acts like Sun.Set.Ships, Nix Moon, and more.

    The only thing that a lot of the greater gigs have in common is smaller venues.
    Vicar Street & The Spirit Store (Dundalk) are consistently magical rooms.

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