An EPic poem in 3 parts {1 part rum 2 part’s soda}

Fill the boot and set a course

With enough drink to kill a horse

Tickets money shades and wellies

The Picnic’s on in Stradbally

2 hours on the motorway

Diversion tactics down country lanes

By 4 o’clock the gangs all here

It’s cocktail hour, there goes the fear

Time for some grub so we hit the arena

Kinara how are ya? Been a while since I seen ya

A beer then it’s Nas, The Master of Verse

If Hip Hop is dead He drives the hearse

The ghost of Bob Marley is thick in the air

One Love to Nas then we’re outta there

Off to tents “Todd Terje should be good”

But first we hit the Rankin Woods

The place is heaving, stuffed to the gills,

Jenny Greene’s great, no need for pills

A beer then another, the prices are criminal

Then off to Electric for the Furry Animals

A wall of Welsh sound and a smoke machine crowd

Rock ‘n’ Roll as it should be, TOO FUCKIN LOUD!

Got lost and found in Body and Soul

Then Trailer Park disco, some home fries and home.


Woke up at 8 and the head is pounding

In perfect rhythm with the world’s worst sound

Our shitty history being sucked into a tank

It goes on forever and the smell is just rank

I’m wishing this pad had a built in vent

Coz the ghost of Kinara is haunting our tent

11 o clock ah! That’s more civilised

Bloody Mary? No thanks we’ve run out of ice

In for a pie some mash and a pint

By 4 o’ clock I start feeling right

Ok! Who’s on?  What’s that you said

Whitney? You’re shittin’ me? I thought she was dead

A Dark ‘n’ Stormy in body and soul

And I’m feeling good, I’m ready to roll

Rocstrong were fun and Otherkin slayed

How many instruments can Jack Garratt play?

The Avett Brothers are whipping it up

As cutthroat cartels of kids collect cups

Fair play to them for bringing the childer’

It’s not for me I’m happy to tell ya

The main stage is calling to us through the rain

LCD Soundsystem are ready to play

Guitar bass’n’drums, cowbells’n’synths

Pick up the crowd and give them a kick

Then it’s Body and Soul and the Trailer Park tour

I’ve got a feeling I’ve been here before….


Sunday morning and I’m feeling fine

I’m coming home I’ve done my time

Pack all the bags and load up the car

Head back in (avoiding the bar)

The heat is on, let’s catch the sun

The gospel choir is on at one

A pie‘n’mash, “here I’ve to take a piss,

I’ll be back in a minute, here hold this”

Ah! The toilets did I mention them?

I’ll tell you what I won’t my friend

Toot’s is on and he is the man

Marley’s ghost is back again

As panicking parents shop for some tat

Look there’s James Bay and there’s his hat

Gavin James and Blossoms too

You never know who you’ll run into

Once a year, for 3 whole days

A field in Laois becomes the place

Where young and old create a freak scene

Where you can go and dance yourself clean

Sometimes in sunshine but usually rain

This Picnic’s Electric, hence the name.

(images courtesy of Paddy McQuillan)

Review: The Fat White Family, Whelan’s Dublin 23.2.2016

The Fat White Family Whelan's.jpg


In answer to that age old question that has puzzled mankind for eternity, Who’s the Whitest Boy on the Beach?

It’s me, or at least I thought it was when many moons ago I tried blending in with the locals on my first sun holiday.  T-shirt off, chaos ensues.  Surfers crash as mahogany skinned tourists gasp in shock at my translucent torso, a beacon to every mosquito in a 5 mile radius. I quickly cover up and retreat to a bar where I firmly decide that the only light my skin should be exposed to is neon. Looking at the ghosts that appear on stage now I realise I was David Hasselhoff compared to The Fat White Family.

More on them later.  First things first, the “pigmobile” lands in Dublin.  Me and my three Comrades in arms, Robert, Adam and Dom are hardened veterans of four decades of live music.  And we’re still like schoolkids cutting class every time we go to gigs together.  We hit Bunsen for a tasty burger that Samuel L Jackson would be proud of. After a few brews in Against the Grain (rock shandy for me) we hit Whelan’s to watch the end of civilisation as we know it.

The support slot is handled by Shame.  Throttled more than handled, they are great.  Frontman Charlie Steen is fearless and the music is raw punk filtered through melodic rock. They are young and hungry, starving actually, Steen asks the crowd to buy one of their handmade t-shirts so they can get a hot meal. No word on an album yet but if it’s half as good as their live set it should be one to watch out for.

Now for the main event, where do I begin? By disregarding the now legendary Dionysian debauchery of The Fat White Family’s live sets and the Dickensian origin stories that follow the band like a cloud?  Yes let’s begin there.

It’s music we’re here for and it’s music we get.  The Fat White Family shuffle on to the stage.  Lead singer Lias Saoudi actually hobbles on, can of beer in one hand and crutch in the other. Then Tinfoil Deathstar takes off and the Willy Wonka act is dropped, crutch raised roofward and the crowd are lifted with it. There’s no chat up line, no foreplay, straight to the nasty bits, band and crowd become one.  Auto Neutron’s Morricone and the Bad Seeds vibe is a different animal live, all teeth and claws. Whitest Boy on the Beach kicks in and the hundred strong mosh pit resembles a fevered cult in the throes of an exorcism, weaving and lunging at the whim of the Marquis de Saoudi and his band of merry men. It all looks accidental but the band are well rehearsed and well versed in keeping the crowd and themselves happy.  Saul Adamczewski and Adam J Harmer’s rockabilly guitars and Gregorian backing vocals reverberate around Whelan’s.  Is it Raining in Your Mouth? is as creepy as it sounds.  Things get messy, mics crackle, amps pop, all in a night’s work though. All the signs of great music are here, anger and humour go hand in hand along with a complete disregard for authority, even their own.  Saoudi stops twitching and scans the melee with a look that asks did I do this?  The Fat White Family are Agent Provocateurs incarnate and brilliantly subversive role models for an alternative to the mainstream music scene.  It’s out there, you just have to find the crusty underbelly that it lurks beneath.

Touch the Leather and Bomb Disneyland bring the house down.  And then they’re gone, back to their coffins to be transported on to the next monster mash.

Like a good one night stand both parties got what they wanted.  The crowd leave sweating and satisfied satisfied I’m so easily satisfied and the band get to play their unique brand of top-shelf bottom-feeding rock’n’glorious roll.

From the warmth of a sold out Whelan’s to the wintery chill of Wexford St, the comrades bolt for the pigmobile.  A quick detour to a chipper we’re on the road again hurtling down the motorway.  Adam finds my secret stash of yacht rock, the perfect anti-venom to the snakebite that is The Fat White Family and we careen into the darkness asking that other age old question – what do you do when you get caught between the moon and New York City?




Brand New Heavies


Foals | 3 Arena | Dublin | 10 Feb 2016

The buzzing in my ears is beginning to subside, I hope, otherwise I’m now too deaf to even hear that. Let me make one thing clear, Foals are LOUD. More on that later. I have the Pre gig blues, I’m Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 4, I’m too old for this shit, it’s a cold Wednesday in Dublin and I’m feeling it. My wife Liz on the other hand is still buzzing from the Electric Picnic set Foals did 2 years previous.  The quality of the Oxford quintets  recent output is enough to get me out the door and in the car. We set up camp on the balcony with a cup of tea and choccie bar in hand…. ROCK’N’ROLL!!

Everything Everything confused and amused in equal measure, their prog pop and witty lyricism warmed the crowd nicely but everyone here is here to see Foals (DUN DUN DUN)!! . They come on amid a frantic synth refrain and kick in to Snake Oil.  The crowd react accordingly. The sound in the 3 Arena is perfect, each instrument has its place and its space. And Foals fill every inch of it with sound. Huge floor-shaking sound.  The pit is a seething Escher sketch of flesh and steam moving in time with the gnawing riffs and pounding drums.  Olympic Airways segues perfectly into the earworm that is My Number and already there is no doubt Foals are here to take over our town. Birch Tree’s beautiful guitar refrain lets the crowd catch their breath (for a moment).  And so it goes for the night, gargantuan riffs whipping the pit into a frenzy and then a breather to enjoy Foals’ well honed songcraft. They sound great, the low end is enough to beach a whale.  Jack Bevan’s drums are insistent and keep the crowd moving.  Walter Gerver’s bass rattles our jewellery up in the nosebleeds  and with Edwin Congreave’s stomach churning synth locked in, the effect is very impressive.  They are air tight but keep the groove loose leaving room for Jimmy Smyth and Yannis Phillippakis to weave in and out with their melodic guitar interplay.  Yannis’ voice shines , emotive and yearning lyrics of loves lost and life’s hope and screams of pure rage easily escape his throat.  He keeps the crowd banter to a minimum asking us “are you ready get nasty”?  There was no doubt that we were!

Foals fed off the crowd’s energy and gave their all in return.  My sugared up beau is up and dancing along with most of the balcony (while I hold her handbag).  Mountain at My Gates and Spanish Sahara went down a storm.  The stage show was another weapon in Foal’s arsenal.  The lighting worked perfectly and the visuals like the soundtrack were equally epic, images of raging seas crashing waves, volcanoes and of course people on trampolines added to the atmosphere.  As a frontman, Yannis was not afraid to play the rock star, crowd surfing and stage diving, with prior warning and consent of course, and baptising  the crowd with  bottled water.  Fans fought like bridesmaids for one of his water bottles. Knife in the Ocean was a seasick sonic wonder.

There was no doubt that Inhaler was going to be epic, the perfect song to send the crowd over the edge. The band left the stage for the obligatory “we want more” moment then returned with the lovely London Thunder followed by the title track of their new LP What Went Down (DUN DUN DUN)!! The crowd happily went ape, a fog of limbs and discarded winter jumpers filled the floor of the arena.  Two Steps Twice was enough to finish off any energetic stragglers and the “sick crowd” left happy. This is heavy music for people who want to dance.  The beat is four to the floor.  And the rest is history.

Foals 3 Arena 10 Feb 2016

Foals, the end is neigh.