ISLAND LOLZ Drop Everything The cultural biennial returns to the Aran Island for its third iteration, and encourages you to leave all your notions behind for the best arty buzz of your life. Highlights include Mr Silla, Zebra Katz and a purpose-built sauna on the beach. Who could resist?
FESTIVAL Life Now in its 11th year, the Co Westmeath fest has assembled what may be their best house and techno line-up to date with Paul Kalkbrenner, 2 Many DJs, Laurent Garnier, Jeff Mills, John Talabot, Ben Klock, Hot Since 82 and more. HOUSETASTIC Riton Newcastle DJ and producer Henry Smithson arrived on our radars after his Switch label attracted the interest of Mark Rae and Grand Central. Since then, he’s had a prolific run as Riton, including collaborations with Ben Fat Trucker as Gucci Sound System, Soulwax and with DJ Mehdi. Recently, he turned up on Tame Impala’s Daffodil track alongside Mark Ronson. Saxophonist Sean MacErlaine is an adventurer in the slipstreams between genres. His short duo series for Note Productions concludes with this tantalising meeting with the Norwegian folk singer, Unni Løvlid (above), whose ethereal sound is hugely valued by Scandinavians, and will remind Irish ears that we have a shared history. IMPROVISATIONAL TRAD Treelan Crossing original Irish traditional music with African, jazz and a plethora of world music influences, Treelan in the shape of Martin Tourish (piano accordion), Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu and percussionist Eamonn Cagney follows pathways largely uncharted. It is certainly impressive, as our man in the RDS noted yesterday, that Bruce Springsteen plays for “more than two-and-a-half hours”. And yet even this is an example of the consumer’s drastically reduced purchasing power in recent times. I remember when the great man thought nothing of playing for four hours.
It was 1985, and money was scarce. Not for Bruce, obviously. But some of us were so strapped for cash at the time that we heroically ignored the hype preceding his appearance at Slane. Until the afternoon of the concert itself, that is; whereupon our resistance collapsed.
It was a beautiful day. And I remember listening to the wireless – as we called it back then – in a house in deepest south Dublin, when the station went live to Slane for a report on the start of the concert. Sure enough, Springsteen was already on stage – I could hear him in the background. And the effect was electrifying.
It was a bit like St Patrick – a
Springsteen at Slane on June 1st, 1985
much earlier headline act in Slane – lighting the paschal fire. Bruce was calling me to Meath, and I had to go. So I dropped everything and went: first catching a no 15 bus into the city, then a 19A out to Finglas. And from there, I started hitching.
There were days then when you got one lift all the way to your destination, without even trying. This was one of the other days – when friendly farmers driving beat-up Ford Anglias and in no hurry to get anywhere would bring you from here up to the next turn-off, at which point you had to get your thumb out again.
But I reached the outskirts of Slane in four or five instalments and walked the last mile-and- a-half into the village, which was now shrouded in silence.
Was the concert over? Hell, no. It was just the half-time break. During which, I found a forlorn tout who, having a clearance sale, offloaded his last ticket to me for a fiver – 66 per cent off the recommended retail price.
Thus, having heard the start of Springsteen’s Slane concert on a radio in Templeogue, and having made at least six separate vehicular trips in the meantime, I attended the second half of the concert, which lasted the guts of two hours. And the great thing was, I still had money left for food.
But you tell young people that now, and they won’t believe you.