Last weekend was full with all sorts of performances but moving house has meant I missed a couple of choice gigs.
As mentioned earlier I did get to a Tricky gig in The Academy on Thursday night. It was a last moment decision as I had only seen an ad for the gig that morning when Le Cool magazine dropped into my inbox. A friend introduced me to Tricky a couple of months ago so I dropped him a text about the gig and off we went. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having only heard two albums (Knowle West Boy and Maxinquaye) but was happy to head in. The gig turned about to be one of the best yet this year and was over far too soon for my liking. From the moment the music started and Tricky stepped onto the stage with his back to the audience the whole energy of the room was sucked towards the stage. He stood still for a good five minutes with smoke billowing around his head. A lesser man would have looked hollow and pretentious in this stance but he exuded an intensity which convinced me it was all about the music. And for the next 45 minutes or so (was it really that short?) it was. Supported by a cache of individually brilliant musicians his intelligent use of effects (two mics in hand on occasion) and vocal manipulation made for a quality performance soaked his personal sexual magnetism.
After the gig we popped into the Palace Bar for a little live trad, which set the tone for the rest of the weekend. I also mentioned previously the launch of The Leitrim Equation; an album of new and established traditional tunes recorded by Lunasa in collaboration with traditional musicians from Leitrim. The album is the result of an 18-month residency organised by Leitrim County Council Arts Office as a part of their Arts Strategy. I’m a huge advocate of residencies in the arts, in particular those in which the artist works specifically with local artists in a developmental role (as separate to those which involve an artist creating stand alone work in a site-specific context, which have their own significance). I find that these residencies benefit both the local artist and the artist-in-residence, often in equal parts. The fruits of Lunasa’s Leitrim residency materialised in the CD produced at the end of the residency and in the live performances in Manorhamilton and The Button Factory. The Button Factory performance on Friday last was as fun a night out I’ve had in ages, with Kevin Crawford entertaining the audience with quips and stories about the band between excellent performances of traditional tunes. I was disappointed not to hear Maurice Lennon perform Master Shanley’s Hornpipe as this was the one tune on the CD that stood out above all the others, but was engaged for the night by Crawford, Séan Smyth and others. The Leitrim musicians ranged from experienced hands to young talents and the tunes produced were no reflection of age or experience as one young musician (whose name escapes me now – help in comments please!) performed his own tunes to the accompaniment of Lunasa. The CD is available from Claddagh Records now.