Author Archive

Review of Annie Leibovitz – A photographer’s Life

Friday, January 16th, 2009
Annie Leibovitz – A photographer's Life

Annie Leibovitz – A photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 is an exhibition that’s still on in the National Portrait Gallery in London and ends on February 1st.

I saw this a good few weeks back and for a woman most famous for her pictures of celebrities, the main story this exhibition tells is that of her personal life and what seems her complicated relationship with Susan Sontag. The really famous Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and other photos of celebs in odd poses are there and are terribly beautiful up close but the ones that probably carry more power are those taken of a dying and dead Sontag juxtaposed with pics of their three kids. There are also ones that Sontag took of a heavily pregnant Leibovitz and ones Annie took of her family.

Some of the people that came along obviously came along to do a bit of celeb spotting but probably went away the richer after being brought further than that to share the intimacy of the life of someone that produced works that became so public.

Well worth a visit in London or whever it moves to next.

Rated 4/5 on Jan 16 2009
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Review of Parenthetical Girls – Whelan’s Dublin

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008
Parenthetical Girls – Whelan’s Dublin

Gig of the year for me. Not everyone starts off the night by jumping into the crowd and singing and dancing their songs. Four very talented musicians entertained a small enough crowd in Whelan’s last evening and I think created a lot of new fans in the process. Ian was the person that got me into them and I fully agree that their album is album of the year for me. Most played album on the iPhone right now.

Not only were hugely talented and swapped instruments now and then but they were good fun and had a laugh with the crowd. Zach the lead singer in the band too at one point played the room with a paid of drumsticks, walls doors and he even sang and made beats out on the fire escape which was an unusual experience for the crowd in the main room. God bless very long microphone leads. They’re playing Galway tonight, if you live there get to the gig, it’ll be worth it!

Well done to Ian too for opening for them. I actually didn’t realise it was you til after dude otherwise I would have said hey.

Rated 5/5 on Nov 22 2008
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Review of MGMT – Ambassador Dublin November 3rd

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
MGMT – Ambassador Dublin November 3rd

Take the worst of the Oxegen music festival and put it in one room. Review done. In fairness MGMT don’t have a huge back catalog so it was no surprise that they started late and finished quite early with the very much expected “Kids” as the second song on the encore. Nice too that their banter is improving. They asked the audience do they like to drink. I wonder when they play in France so they ask the audience do they drive bicycles while wearing berets with strings of onions hanging from their necks?

The middle of the set seemed to play drawn-out b-sides or new songs or versions of songs that I didn’t recognize but I appreciated them. The band are a rock band at heart judging by the talented musicians that played tonight. Their backing band especially added to their live show. Saying that, some of the live versions of the songs didn’t have the same power at all.

The music as I stated was good overall but the crowd utterly ruined it. There were huge amounts of barely legal (drinking sense) teens drunk and just bombing into the crowd. Manners got taught to some of them but there were surges and shoving going on when the kids identified the tunes that 2fm or Spin played while there was total calm for unreleased album tracks. MGMT also play on the 4th and by that time every kid in the country will probably have seen them.

Rated 3/5 on Nov 04 2008
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Review of Hardwood Restaurant, Cork, Ireland

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Hardwood Restaurant, Cork, Ireland,

Situated over the footbridge from the Coal Quay, this restaurant has all the charm and grace of a sweaty sock. To get to the point: The manager of this place is a prick. A group of us from BarCamp headed along to it last night and we were actually made feel totally unwelcome by their staff the minute we came in. Most of our group had already arrived and we made no booking plans. The contempt and hostility shown said it all. Four of us arrived and asked to sit next to the large group and were told no. We suggested moving a table to the large formation already there. “No.”

Then they decided to do exactly this. I asked should I take the glasses off the table as they moved it. I was told “No, don’t touch it ” in very hostile tones. Did I mention the manager is a prick? I hope I relayed that point. When we sat down he addressed us like we were four year olds speaking in slow broken and stressed english not to lean against a partition. Phil ordered a Carlsberg I think and was agressively told they didn’t have it and for what seemed like spite, was carded.

Our food arrived and the rare tuna steak I ordered was good but not fantastic. No pleases, no thank yous, no come agains. Mediocre food thrown at you while charged at top dollar.

Life is too short to deal with people and businesses like Hardwood. They won’t get my business again. I will happily recommend a bag of razor blades over anything they serve. No matter how good food can be when attitude like that is shown it ruins the whole experience. They only get a one star because I can’t give it a zero with LouderVoice.

Rated 1/5 on Nov 02 2008
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Review of Tom Waits Glitter and Doom Tour – Dublin August 1st 2008

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
Tom Waits Glitter and Doom Tour – Dublin August 1st 2008

As we got to our seats we knew we were going to have a great experience being just four rows from Tom, dead centre. You can’t really beat that. Being able to actually read the setlist on stage (well if I wore my glasses) showed how close we were to this odd and enigmatic man.

This was the final night of the Glitter and Doom tour and Tom didn’t want to leave the stage it seems. He belted on, full of energy for two and a half, nearly three hours, creating mini dust storms as he went. The sound was excellent, his throaty voice was er throaty. The band were simply amazing especially the guy that played the sax (two at the same time). Great guitarist too. Waits also has two of his sons in the band with him.

Tom is great with a crowd, playing and feeding off them and the crowd adored every single thing he did. Half the audience will be trying to buy his style of hat today, no doubt. I won’t go into the music because I only knew half of his songs but I think he pleased everyone with them.

Fantastic organisation too for the gig too. Putting it down as the best gigs I’ve seen this year. Better than Bruce, sorry Bruce. For me it was on a par with Odin’s Ravens’ Magic by Sigur Ros in Paris.

Tonnes of bloggers were there too so I expect we’ll see a good few reviews. Maybe Ciarán will have one too?

Update for pics (shit ones from iPhone):
Tom Waits Dublin August 1st

Tom singing “Down in the hole” for The Wire fans:
Tom Waits Dublin August 1st

Tom singing “Tom Traubert’s Blues”:
Tom Waits Dublin August 1st

Tom singing er something:
Tom Waits Dublin August 1st

Rated 5/5 on Aug 02 2008
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Review of Comfort Inn Hotel/Maldon Hotel – Granby Row, Dublin

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Comfort Inn/Maldon Hotel – Granby Row, Dublin

Sitting on the space where the Waxworks used to be, this is a very new hotel from the Comfort Inn group. It’s become such a regular hotel for me now that the staff know me and ask when I’ll be back next. Best asset for them is their very friendly staff. Next up are their prices. €79 midweek, €89 later in the week which can go up to €169 on weekends depending on how late you leave it. You get a twin, single or double room for those prices. Prices per room not per person sharing. Brekky not included. Fine for me.

Rooms are brand new, well furnished, air con and broadband in each room. Ethernet cable in the rooms and wireless in reception.

Where they don’t get their 5th star is on the building itself. Built in the boom, corners were cut. So some of the showers leak or the fittings don’t fit that well. It’s the same for their hotel in Smithfield. Still though, a great price and lovely staff.

Rated 4/5 on Jul 23 2008
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Review of My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Almost perfect. Almost.

It’s hard to believe that this album is a single band. The songs certainly vary a good bit but are all definitely based on classic rock and roll. The album at times reminds me of Lynard Skynard and at times like the Izzy Stradlin penned songs from Guns N Roses. Evil Urges, Aluminium, Highly Suspicious, Librarian and many others all have hints of other rock bands too. Given the current wave of guitary bands where you can’t differentiate between the lead and rhythm guitar, this is refreshing. One of the best albums I’ve heard in years but it does feel like some songs will wear worse than others and will end up being skipped instead of just being tolerated. The album got a thrashing on Pitchfork which is disappointing as it was worth way more than it was given.

Rated 4/5 on Jun 19 2008
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Review of Rambo 4 aka John Rambo

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
Rambo 4 aka John Rambo
“Watch the trailer and leave it at that. An unfitting end to a franchise that started very well and got worse. Surprisingly this movie cheapens it even more.”

Rambo: First Blood is one of the original blockbuster action movies, totally macho and totally cool. The 4th installment of this movie is John Rambo taking on bad people made of plasticine who when shot either explode into bits or are cut in half.

A badly written, badly shot and badly choreographed movie, the level of violence and gore is astounding. To reinforce that these bad people are bad, there are multiples scenes of them decapitating people, hanging children, shooting and burning babies and more. In fact maybe a little too much time is spent on the sadism of these abd people.

There is also an underlying theme that the only way to solve a situation is with violence. Again and again it shoves the fact that non-violence is a waste of time right down your throat and that Christian missionaries are fools and in the end they too will come round to the use of violence.

A total waste of money to see this in the cinema. Rent this on DVD, along with some early Peter Jackson movies and drink a lot of alcohol. This is the original movie with every single good thing about it removed and replaced with third rate production.

Rated 1/5 on Feb 03 2008
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Update: This chart says it all.

Review of The Bourne Ultimatum

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Bourne is back, back with a cinematographer with parkinson’s.

Unlike what many critics have said, this is not the best Bourne so far. Probably the poorest actually and with a trailer that purposely mixes up scenes from the movie making you think the flow is different.

Bourne started well in the first movie and the second showed promise too. It is no coincidence that Bourne out-bonded James Bond in the first two movies, making the latest Bond iteration clone many aspects of Bourne. We need a spy to be able to kick the bejesus out of people and both Bourne and now Bond do this.The fantastic hand-to-hand sequences we had in the first two movies and shaky camera technique went over-board this time, making it almost impossible to see the characters go at each other. We’ll just imagine it instead so? The cinematographer was shaking it like a polaroid for sure.

Great country hopping locations, brilliant set-pieces, the whole running over roof tops was fabulous and the NY car chase was great, though no French Connection. The last quarter of the movie wrecked it all. It seemed to loose momentum and the whole movie had been building to a big blow up and then everyone just sighed. Very weak after that and an ending which let down the audience and the other two movies. Please let this be the last in the franchise.

Not related to the movie but it was fun when someone roared out “MATTTT DAMONNNNNN” at the start of the movie, a la Team America.

Rated 3/5 on Aug 18 2007 by Damien Mulley
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Review of Pushing Daisies

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Pushing Daisies

The latest quirky comedy/drama from the States in the vein of Wonderfalls, Picket Fences and possibly Ally McBeal

They turned the quirkiness up to 11 on this. Pushing Daisies is about a guy who can bring the dead back to life with a touch but another touch and they die again. Trouble is someone else will die if he lets someone live for longer than a minute.

The main storyline for this show is that he works with a private investigator to solve murders and they do it easily enough by just asking the victims. All in a very quirky manner. A very experienced and fantastic cast might make this fun but I was quite bored by the whole notion of it. Lovely cinematography but it’s like they have some kind of person employed to add more quirkiness to the pot. Think of it liek Deadwood but instead of cunt, cocksucker and fuck every 20 seconds, there’s quirkiness. You might want to murder someone just to get back to normality after watching a block of this. Not for everyone and not for me but worth watching. The first episode for this has been purposely leaked all over the Internet, thus ensuring a nice buzz.

Rated 3/5 on Aug 11 2007 by Damien Mulley
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