REVIEW: Thundercat melts everyone’s minds in Vicar Street

Thundercat, real name Stephen Bruner, has only recently started to surface as a mainstream artist in his own right. The 32 year old bassist has had a long and illustrious career as a session player and producer though, with a long list of collaborators including Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Taylor McFerrin, Childish Gambino & Suicidal Tendencies. Lamar even described Thundercat as being the creative epicentre of his 2015 Grammy award winning album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’.

His third album ‘Drunk’ was released earlier this month to critical acclaim and featured many high profile collaborations from the likes of Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, and Pharrell. The sold out crowd here tonight seem like a mix of die hard fans and curious friends brought along for the ride.

Supporting tonight are Fehdah featuring Loah who provide a beautiful start to the evening with their unique brand of Afro-Caribbean Neo-Soul. Single ‘Like No Other’ is a particular highlight, illuminating the the full creative range of their collective talents.

The band have so much groove together and the music is really interesting. Elements of Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, R & B & Afrobeat are all mixed in with a healthy dose of clapping rhythms, tribal chants and carefully considered pop melodies. Be sure to check them out soon.

Next up is the main event and Thundercat strides on to the stage flanked by keyboardist Dennis Hamm and drummer Justin Brown to an erruption of screams and applause. The trio waste no time at all, kicking straight into ‘Rabbit Ho’. Brown’s energy seems unlimited, the rapid spitfire of his beats leaning in to Drum & Bass territory, he continues this trend throughout the set without even breaking a sweat. A wild, chaotic middle section falls effortlessly back in to the groove of the final verse.

It’s a small setup for a world tour but if you closed you eyes you wouldn’t believe there were only 3 musicians on stage. The group fills up every corner of the sonic spectrum. Thundercat’s high soulful voice juxtaposes perfectly with the beefy low end of his 6 string Ibanez bass.

In ‘Where The Giants Roam / Field of the Nephilim’, Thundercat adds in the type of mental fret dancing solos normally reserved for a song’s crescendo right in the middle, making you wonder how they can up the intensity later in the piece. The answer is, with ease. It’s a wonder to behold!

The onstage communication is subtle but effective, with seemingly unstoppable waves of music breaking at what would seem like random points save for a couple of winks and nods. As they blast into standout track ‘Them Changes’ the crowd go crazy and the show really hits it’s stride. Thundercat’s voice has an insane range and effectively emotes pain, joy, love & fear with equal perfection. In ‘Is It Love?’ he tells us ‘Everyday is like a dream to me’. Well thank you for sharing that feeling with us!

At the end of the show the impossible happened. AN ACTUAL SURPRISE ENCORE! The lights came on, background music too, people even left. The super fans old an new still shouting for ‘ONE MORE TUNE’ were rewarded with ‘The Turn Down’. Thundercat sings the opening verse asking ‘Is this where we belong?’. One thing’s for sure, Dublin certainly thinks so…

Icelandic songstress JFDR hits Dublin tomorrow night with support from Paddy Hanna & Dunny

One of Iceland’s most promising new artists will be hitting Dublin’s Sugar Club tomorrow night. 22 year old songstress Jófríður Ákadóttir is far from a new name on the Nordic island, having spent her teen fronting bands such as Pascal Pinon , Samaris and GANGLY. Björk even named her as one of her influences last year. This new venture is her first solo endevour under the moniker JFDR.

A few minutes into listening to JDFR it becomes apparent that all of this fanfare is well deserved. Her solo debut Brazil a haunting piece of work dominated by Jófríður’s beautifuly fragile voice. This gig promises to be a special night and a chance to catch JFDR on a small stage before she outgrows them completely, which will probably be very soon.

Support on the night comes from Paddy Hannah and Meltybrains? member Dunny. Tickets are €12.50 and are available from The Sugar Club website here.

Stream JFDR’s debut album Brazil below.

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HAWK, BARQ and Harbouring Oceans embark on UK/Ireland Big Giant Head Tour

HAWK, BARQ and Harbouring Oceans are about to embark on a UK & Ireland tour under the Big Giant Head banner. Before you get any ideas of runaway egos, the name refers to the ethos of the gigs, which is “No headliners. Just one Big Giant Head.”

These gigs will be an excellent opportunity to see 3 acts who are all well on the way to real success following a slew of high profile releases over the last year.

The tour kicks off in London this week ending with a gig in Whelan’s on April 6th. Check out the list of dates below.

March 23: The Waiting Room, London
March 30: Cyprus Avenue, Cork
March 31: Connolly’s of Leap, Co. Cork
April 1: Pumphouse, Kilkenny
April 2: Central Arts, Waterford
April 5: The Roisin Dubh, Galway
April 6: Whelan’s, Dublin

Space Jam – The Comet is Coming and Yonen take over The Sugar Club

Last Tuesday the Sugar Club was the scene for a journey of musical discovery courtesy of London Psychedelic-Jazz trio The Comet is Coming, with support from Dublin instrumentalists Yonen.

The latter act took us on a tour of the cosmos with their intergalactic instrumentals complete with a live AV show that really set this apart from your usual fare. At times frantic, at others soothing and sad. At one point guitarist Alan Dooley is coaxing what sounds like whale song out of his six string.

Such was the nature of the music and the quiet attentiveness of the crowd that the guys often had to announce when a piece was finished with a quick ‘Thank You!’ which was met with stunned applause. This band makes incredibly complex music and they are tight as hell live. Catch them as soon as you can.

Headliners The Comet is Coming are hard to define. Take 1 part jazz, 1 part psychedelia. Mix with smooth Sax and bake at a high bpm for 2 hours. Drummer Betamax Killer’s rhythmic stabs drive the tracks ahead while Danalogue The Conqueror on keys and King Shabaka on sax add embellishments and flourishes along the way. Be assured that their songs are even better than their names!

In other tracks the sax is clearly in the lead, laying the rhythm down with honks and squeals for the drums to follow before exploding into section long solos.

The crowd were loving it. By the second song the band had half the seated crowd down on the dance floor and it wasn’t much longer until the other half followed. The sheer scope of influences on display made for such an eclectic set. Some songs were straight up funk, some like mental techno tunes and others still leaning towards industrial rock like a funked up Nine Inch Nails.

The Comet is Coming could be accused of being slightly all over the place at times but when they hit that sweet spot and all joined in on the same groove, which was often, you could absolutely lose yourself too it. These guys are an unstoppable force, highly recommended ear-candy.

Keep up to date with The Comet is Coming on:

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New Dublin collective GRAYSCALE aims to highlight Irelands Audio-Visual Artists.

A group of Audio-Visual artists and musician in Dublin have formed a new collective, GRAYSCALE, the highlight the work of Irish artists. The aim is to bring contemporary audio- visual arts to a wider audience in Dublin and nationwide through a series of curated events.

The events will be equal parts ‘music’ and ‘visual art’ with artists from both fields collaborating and being promoted equally in a similar vein to European festivals such as Unsound in Krakow, CTM in Berlin, Future Everything in Manchester and Rewire in the Netherlands.



Posted by Grayscale on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The first event is on the 11th of March(this Saturday) in The Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital. The venue itself looks spectacular and it’s sure to be a unique experience. It’s the first event of this kind in the space.

Acts on the night include CLU, Mr. Mitch and London Visual Artist Rachel Noble.

Ticket’s are €15 which includes 2 free drinks and the event is also BYOB. You can grab yours here. Check out the acts on the night below.

Keep up to date with GRAYSCALE: