Summer Lovin’

Oh boy – This is my first post of the year and that is just terrible. I shall try and and assuage the guilt by telling you a little about what has been going on. I have officially become a nerd. It has been on the cards for some time but I may as well step out of the closet and face the music – there I feel better already.

Its been an eventful year on the nerd front, I joined the Web Standards Project ILG and also the HTML 5 Working Group, where people argue a lot about the nuts and bolts of how to structure, future proof and make backwards compatible – online content. My job is to restate that it needs to be accessible, online content.

On the non-nerd front. I have finished the recording of my new album, which has taken nearly 15 years to finish. I would compare it to an elephant birth but I guess its more like giving birth to a herd. So I can put that behind me and I will add more info when I get the whole process of mastering and design etc finished. Many thanks to my old muccer Alun Smyth for all his patience and expertise in this process.

Speaking of all things musical myself and my better half Lorraine have been to see loads of great music this year. It all kicked off with EST, the jazz trio in the new arts centre in Navan, Solstice. It was a great gig and I had never seen a double bass being played a la Jimmy page before. We also saw Debashish Battacharya play some lovely ragas and genuinely uplifting and astounding music. He was accompanied by an expert tabla player who frankly made most rockin’ drummers look like amateurs.

Next up was Terry Riley in the Drogheda Arts Centre, which was a nice gig. Its the best way to describe it really. He also played some nice ragas – being influenced by all things Indian and Vedic etc. The setting was the Church of Ireland in Drogheda which is a beautiful church and perfect for meditational music to be played. I was not unfortunately captivated by Terry Rileys performance and was there out of respect to him really (The Who track ‘Baba O’Riley’ is a sort of homage to him). While I am a fan of pieces like Poppy Nogood, and really appreciate his contribution to modern music, the height of the night for me was when Lorraine (who had never heard of him, as most haven’t) found out that one of the pieces he was to play was 25 minutes long. I will never forget the look in her eye… fortunatly the night was saved by a quick glass of vino across the road and the rather engaging sax quartet who supported played bizarre repetitive, and oddly semi syncopated tunes. Terrys’ son also played some lovely improvised modal jazz guitar.

Terry Riley has a reputation of playing for the entire night and often did that in his heyday, splicing up repetitive loops to use as sonic mantras long before sequencing software, so he is a true pioneer, and an expert pianist so I really respect him. His experiments are not mere posturing like much of the talentless twaddle, disguised as art, that we see today.

Another top gig was the Australian Pink Floyd. Loved them. Go see. Also hats off to the lone mentalist who insisted on showing his belly to the crowd.

Peter Gabriel was frankly disappointing. I am a big fan and feel a real connection with his music, so I guess that it’s easy to feel like that when expectations are high. He just didn’t seem into it at all. There was no real theatrical element to the performance either, and I love the ‘Secret World’ DVD when he came out of the phone box pulling the phone with the really long flex and doing lots of silly dancing. The music was great however, if a tad downbeat. He did bust a move for a few tunes, like Sledgehammer and Steam (one of my faves) but it seemed a little lacklustre. I also didn’t like being a part of the ‘warm up’ tour. Thanks Peter, are we not ‘real’ enough?

Finally, Al Green and Joe Cocker who were both deadly. Loved it. Go see before either of them shift off this mortal. The day was miserable and wet – we were outside Malahide Castle in puddle of mud – but they were both really into the music and gave it loads. Peter take note.

Also hats off to the lone mentalist who was doing the crazy dancing and repeatedly falling on her ass. She was annoying at first as she obviously thought she was the show, but strangely endearing towards the end.

Finally, I wish to mention my partner Lorraines’ gig. She has joined a choir (she has a lovely voice) and I just wish to re-state my sincere and humblest apologies for leaving too early before the best tunes at the end of mass on that fateful Sunday. I shall make it up to you..