This Otwo journalist apologises for her long silence, but would like to reassure her adoring fans that she has not been idle. My last online rant chronicled the difficulties faced by those of us who struggle to find new audible delicacies to satisfy our musical appetites. But no point in complaining if you’re not going to do anything about it, right? So I hit the town to get a taste of what’s being cooked up by budding musicians of Dublin.
And Dublin didn’t fail me- in fact I was treated to a night of delicious, free-range, and entirely organic talent at the Academy 2. This basement venue on Abbey Street is perfect for intimate gigs such as these- an audience can get up close to bands they may not be familiar with and just immerse themselves in music.
First on the bill were Candy In My Heels. A misheard Jamiroquai lyric inspired this quirky name. You know the one that goes: “Got canned heat in my heels tonight, baby”? The one playing during the epic dance scene in Napoleon Dynamite? Don’t pretend like you didn’t get it wrong too (I confess: I did). The masterminds behind the music, Sally O’Dunlaing and Chris O’Connor, bill themselves as electro-indie-pop and their songwriting abides by a simple but effective philosophy- “What the world needs is more synthesizers”. Amen to that. Don’t expect light-hearted bubblegum-pop though- these guys have a darker edge than most acts of the same genre. And their songs are catchier too. I found myself humming “Shakedown” for at least two days after the gig- and if you want to open your ears to a similar musical invasion, have a gander at their Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/candyinmyheelsmusic. Watch out for these guys as they take the gig circuit by storm in Dublin this coming year.
Next we were entertained by the extremely attractive and immaculately-dressed Talulah Does The Hula- their stuff can be found at http://www.myspace.com/talulahdoesthehula. This all-girl group (and a drummer called Mike) feature ex-members of The Chalets and Neosupervital, and again fit the “indie-pop” bill. Yes, their vocals were flawless, the harmonies polished, and the ladies handled their instruments with talent. Yet the quintet lacked a certain something onstage- Did they seem bored? Or were they a little too rigid? It’s hard to put a finger on it; although the music is indeed sexy, danceable and clever, there was something a little cold about this set.
The grand finale came courtesy of Cowboy X, architects of the infectious single “Break Me” which received well-deserved airplay this year on Phantom FM. Frontwoman Karen McCartney spent the gig seamlessly switching between guitar and keyboard as she simultaneously worked the microphone. Not many women could pull off a pair of spangled hotpants and sparkly red boots, but McCartney’s charisma and breathtakingly sexy voice meant she could have been wearing just about anything up there and come across as nothing but a rock goddess. This group are definitely more indie-rock than pop, and be sure you catch them live before tickets get too expensive. In fact watch out for their upcoming tour- rumour has it they’ll be playing Whelan’s this October, with the excellent Candy In My Heels on support duty once again. And for consistencies sake, their myspace URL is: http://www.myspace.com/cowboyxmusic
Hopefully this gives readers a little (or a very long, looking back on the amount I just wrote!) taste of what’s on offer in the city these days. It’s amazing what you come across if you make the effort to get out there and just listen.