Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 Preview: 8 Must See Acts

 

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Hard Working Class Heroes takes place in venues across Dublin this week.

Running from Thursday, October 6th to Saturday, October 8th and it will showcase well over 100 of Ireland’s most promising emerging acts. One of HWCH’s biggest draws (and festivals of its ilk) is rambling around, seeing acts you have previously been unfamiliar with. That said, there are a couple of names that immediately jump out and come highly recommended with the much sought after BarryGruff seal of approval*.

The full line-up / stage times for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 is here. And as always, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section below. *May not be much sought after.

Eoin Dolan: Thursday, 19:40 – 20:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based singer-songwriter Eoin Dolan is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest finds from the past 12 months. Dolan has a real flair for twinkly and whimsical, good old fashioned pop gems, with a healthy dose of Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett and Lennon/McCartney (moments) threaded through the fabric of his sound. His brand of surfy psych-pop is totally charming, entirely irresistible, easy-going and timeless. Dolan’s self-titled debut album was released last month, for a taste of that & what to expect at HWCH, check out ‘Dear Brian'; a playful blend of woozy, soothing sounds, sinuous melodies, SFA-esque synth work, giddy-pop-playfulness and reverb-drenched vocals. Not to be missed.

New Pope: Thursday, 21:40 – 22:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based New Pope – fronted by Dave Boland – deal in truly beautiful, timeless and carefully crafted acoustic folk sounds. Passing with a whisper rather than a roar, New Pope’s songs are delivered with warmth and tenderness, as Boland’s distinctive vocal creates a warm, lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Last year’s YOUTH EP & LP are wonderful and New Pope were excellent at Electric Picnic this year, and if that doesn’t entice you? Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

Slow Riot: Friday, 20:10 – 20:40 @ The Hub

Limerick trio Slow Riot‘s ferocious, tense and searing post-punk, has marked them out as one of Ireland’s most promising guitar bands in sometime. Taking classic post-punk influences – Gang of Four, Television, Wire – and infusing them with more contemporary ones such as Girl Band and Future of the Left, they create an irresistible and thunderous modern take on a classic sound. Still need convincing? Check out the intense, insistent and menacing ‘Trophy Wife’ below. Peerless.

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In Praise of Super Furry Animals: An Almost 20 Year Obsession

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The magnificent and legendary Super Furry Animals, make their return to Vancouver this week, playing The Imperial on Thursday, February 4th.

As one of my all-time favourite bands, I am more than guilty of some bias, but I can honestly say I believe they are one of the finest bands ever to grace this earth. Throughout their long and fascinating career, Super Furry Animals have proven themselves as one of the most enigmatic, creative and brilliant psychedelic pop bands of our time. Super Furry Animals are truly unique.

They have the stories; they procured an army tank equipped with a techno sound-system, caused national security alerts with 60-foot inflatable monsters, went into the Colombian jungle with armed Guerilla fighters, drew up plans to convert an aircraft carrier into a nightclub and turned down a seven-figure sum from a certain cola company who wanted to use ‘Hello Sunshine’ in an ad, instead allowing the track to be used in a short film about human rights abuses by anti-poverty charity War on Want. Yet these tales only tell half the story. Most importantly, there is the music.

Super Furry Animals have produced some of the most exciting and memorable records of the past two decades, in their own uniquely surreal, weird and wonderful pop genius. With an inherent gift for giddy pop melodies and excelling at rich, heart-felt and powerful slow songs too, it is an eclectic back-catalogue, imaginatively mixing up electronic beats, indie, surf rock, neo-psychedelia, Japanese culture and more.

My first encounter with Super Furries was seeing them play ‘Demons’ on TFI Friday, I then acquired ‘Something 4 The Weekend’ in some bargain bin or other, and that was enough to set in motion a process of acquiring whatever music of their’s that I could and albums, Radiator and Out Spaced, remain all-time favourites. It hard to put my adoration for these Welsh heroes into mere words for fear of underselling the virtues of their music but let’s just put it simply; in providing a constant soundtrack to my life ever since my school days, their music has afforded me so much joy.

So, needless to say, the fact Super Furry Animals play Vancouver next week is extremely exciting. Like a kid waiting for Christmas, since the announcement was first made, I’ve been counting down the days till February 4th. It has also got me thinking about the first time I saw them live, years back, 1999 in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. It was a school night and we had a mini-bus drive us (cans and shitty fake IDs on hand) to Dublin. The gig was unbelievable. Only the second I had ever gone to at that point and it was an unforgettable experience, and one that has left an indelible mark on me. Many years on and almost ten thousand miles from where a 15-year-old me awaited that show excitedly, there’s pretty much the same level of anticipation for this week’s gig. Roll on Thursday night!

So with that, I’ll leave you with the excellent S4C documentary on 20 years of Super Furries, The Furry Years and a couple of choice Super Furry favourites.

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The BarryGruff Fortnightly Vancouver Gig Guide (May 12th – 25th)

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A fortnightly list of recommended events taking place in Vancouver. Here’s what’s caught my eye over the next 14 days!
Feel free to let me know if I missed anything of interest in the comments or you can always shoot me an email about upcoming shows.
Highlights: Kate Tempest @ Electric Owl (May 23rd), The Jesus and Mary Chain @ Vogue Theatre (May 13th) & Royal Blood @ Vogue Theatre (May 23rd).

Wednesday, May 13th

The Jesus and Mary Chain @ Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St, Vancouver, (9pm, $49.50 – $55)

  • [Shoegaze/Indie Rock] Legendary Scottish shoegaze band The Jesus and Mary Chain tour marking the 30th Anniversary of Psychocandy. Their show in Dublin last year was ‘shambolicly brilliant’. Support from The Black Ryder.

Thursday, May 14th

Blockhead @ VENUE, 881 Granville Street, Vancouver (9pm, $15)

  • [Hip Hop/Electronic] Instrumental hip hop producer Blockhead returns to Vancouver with his downtempo/trip hop vibes.

The Rezillos @ Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings, Vancouver (8pm, $20)

  • [Punk] Scottish punk/new wave band, on tour to support their upcoming album Zero. W/ Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds and Fashionism.

Friday, May 15th

Rent Cheque Presents: HIGH CLASS w/ The Prettys @ Hindenburg, 23 West Cordova Street, Vancouver (9pm, $5)

  • [Garage/Punk] Music from Vancouver retro garage/punk rockers The Prettys & ASAP Yamaha. For $5 you can’t wrong, now can you?

Talkies @ The Cobalt, 917 Main Street, Vancouver (9pm)

  • [Indie] Oakland foursome with a knack for ear-pleasingly pleasant indie tunes.

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BarryGruff Unplugged: Oisin McCole + Sive + Phil McDermott :: Wednesday, December 18th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

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We’d an amazing time doing the first ‘BarryGruff Unplugged’ earlier in the year, easily our best show to date. To sign off on 2013, we’re doing another unplugged show in the wonderfully intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, with Oisin McCole, Sive and Phil McDermott performing for you;  three exceptionally talented musicians.

It’s all happening next Wednesday, Decemeber 18th in The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge. Door are at 8pm. It’s €5 if you book in advance or €7 on the night. The cheap list is limited so if you would like to reserve a spot, just email your name to barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title. More details & info below. [RSVP]

:: Oisin McCole ::

Oisin McCole is an outstanding and undeniably talented folk singer and songwriter, yet he has managed to remain rather illusive outside his native Dublin. McCole’s lo-fi blues / folk blend is refreshingly humble and entirely devoid of ostentatious. His songs are beautifully written and constructed, never sounding contrived or over-produced, and posses an incredibly intimate sound and personal touch. These are folk songs from a seriously talented songwriter, deserving of far greater attention – something his two recently released EPs, From Here The Mountain & Winter Is Coming, are testament to.

:: Sive ::

Sive is no stranger to Newbridge audiences; having been wooed on many occasions by their always impeccable live shows. The brainchild of Naas musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan, ably assisted by her band, they draw from a wide variety of alternative rock, jazz and folk influences. Sive’s gorgeous sound comes from a combination of these influences being fused with excellent musicianship and charm, and her voice, which is simply exquisite. 

:: Phil McDermott ::

Phil is a talented young songwriter from Newbridge who has only begun to cut his teeth so to speak. Relatively new to the game he maybe, but he’s already got a fine bundle of material in his arsenal. Hopefully in the new year he takes the next step and heads to the studio to record some of his music. 

BarryGruff Presents #12: Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band and Paul McCormack & The Flying Fontaines :: Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge :: Saturday :: Feb 9th

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‘BarryGruff Presents’ #12 is here & returns to Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge for a first show of 2013 on Saturday, February 9th. It’s going to be a fantastic night of live music w/ Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band & Paul McCormack & The Flying Fontaines.

Having teamed up with The River Valley Band after releasing ‘Run on Diesel’ with The Bottlestoppers in 2011, Conway & Co return to Newbridge for the first time since releasing their debut album, ‘Sonny Boy’ last year. Nathan is one of Ireland’s most underrated songwriters, a veritable national treasure waiting in the wings. Taking old folk, gospel and good time rock n roll, they create a beautiful, timeless and assured soulful country sound, with Conway’s intuitive storytelling and striking vocals bringing it all home.

Paul McCormack is one of Newbridge’s finest folk musicians and a storyteller beyond repute. A career spanning decades has seen him play the world over, his repertoire of songs is in the thousand, yet somehow it has taken all this time to put an album together. Something’s are certainly worth the wait. Backed by members of Knoxville Morning and Sea Area Forecast, this is an early chance to hear songs from the forthcoming album.

It’s FREE in as usual & kicks off at 9pm. It’s going to be another great night of live music in Flanagan’s, so let’s kick off the first ‘BarryGruff Presents’ of 2013 with a bang! [FB event page]

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