Monday, 29 April 2013

Gabrielle Aplin - The Academy , 29 March 2013

I first discovered Gabrielle Aplin on this program about The Beatles "Please Please Me" album. She did an acoustic cover of "There's a place" , a song I had never heard before , but instantly fell in love with it.

I then googled her and found "Home", "Please Don't Say You Love Me" and "Panic Cord".  Gabrielle has done a cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power of Love", which went to No. 1 in the UK and No. 20 in Ireland. I described her to a friend as a kind of female Ed Sheeran, all accoustic guitars, piano and strings, which is actually my favourite genre of music.

On the 29 March , my cousin and I went to Gabrielle's gig in the Academy in Dublin. For those of you who have never been to the Academy, it's a small-ish venue, so that's why I call it a gig not a concert. Warned by my father that it was going to be a dive, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually really nice, in a small pretentious hipster sort of way, which I actually really liked. When we got there this guy was playing support, and I'm really trying to find his name on the Internet, but I can't so you're just going to have to trust me that he was really good. Her next support act was a girl called Hannah Grace, who was ridiculously good. She sang an amazing version of Etta James' " I would rather go blind" and some of her own songs. All I can say is that she has the kind of voice that makes you feel like every thing you do is shit and there's no point in trying to do anything because you will never be as good as her. Seriously, she is that good.

And then after Hannah Grace finished up, and an unreasonably long wait ( during which my cousin got very impatient and insisted that Gabrielle had better have a good reason for making us wait so help her God).Gabrielle finally appeared a few minutes later, bringing with her a mug of tea and a severe case of laryngitis, which unfortunately meant that she couldn't sing any high notes, or low notes, and explained the massive delay. But despite the fact that we were essentially ripped off by a performer who couldn't perform to the best of her ability, nobody seemed to care. And I didn't care either, I really admire her for going on with the show even though she was obviously very ill. 
She started off with "Panic Cord", and the effect of the laryngitis was immediately evident, she just couldn't sing. And I should have been mad, but I wasn't, just extremely amazed and impressed by how well she was doing despite her illness. The gig continued on pretty much the same thread, with the audience joining in to help out on the high notes in "Salvation"  and "Rings Round Roses". But probably the best example of audience participation was a girl called Aoife , pulled a banner proclaiming " Can I Sing With You", and got pulled up onto the stage just in time for "The Power of Love" . And thankfully she was really good, kudos to Gabrielle for taking a gamble on that random girl from the crowd.
Just I final note to say that Gabrielle's band was amazing. Tom Crouch, a guitarist, Tadgh (Spelling??) on the fiddle, a pianist ( Tadgh's brother I think ) , a drummer and another guitarist I don't remember the name of, and they were brilliantly tight and talented. Don't quote me on any of this, because I don't even trust my own memory when it comes to minor details. But do trust me on the fact that the gig was excellent, I can only imagine how good it would have been if Gabrielle had been well. I'm definitely going to see her again when she comes to Vicar St. in November , and I would advise you to go if you have the chance to . 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

East of Eden - John Steinbeck

Published: 5/2/2002
Publisher: Penguin books
Pages: 601


Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love; and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.


To be completely honest, I first heard of this novel in an interview with Kristen Stewart, where she named it as her favourite book, and not to sound full of my self or anything, but I figured that if she could read it so could I. Well, at this point I have to say fair dues to Kristen because she really picked a winner here. According to my goodreads it took me about four months to read this, but really if I had had enough time to actually read recently, I would have had it finished in a flash. Essentially, I found this was the sort of book I had a lot of trouble putting down once I had started, simply because the story was so riveting. Sometimes Steinbeck goes off on a tangent with minor characters , which I usually hate, but he still managed to keep me interested. I found the connection between the story of Cain and Abel and Steinbeck's characters really easy to follow, which was good for me because I'm not that familiar with the story and I'm kind of dense when it comes to these sort of things. Also, I was sort of confused when Steinbeck wrote himself into the story, but I read on East of Eden's wikipedia page that Samuel Hamilton is based on his own grandfather, which makes a lot more sense now. I'm sure there was a lot of really deep meaningful ideas that went right over my head, such as the nature of human beings and how they can be inherently evil, and the whole Timshel thing which I think is to do with free will or something. I think this novel was supposed to be really inspiring, but really I was just focusing on the absolutely brilliant plot and characters that Steinbeck created so superbly. I would really recommend reading this if you have the time to invest in it, it's definitely not a light read, but completely worth it.

-Four Stars ****

Catching Fire Trailer !!!!!!!!

 Catching Fire is out November 22nd, 2013 in the States so hopefully it will be out here soon after, yay!
I found this on Mean Girls of Panem blog which is ridiculously funny, I really advise you to check it out if you love Mean Girls or The Hunger Games :)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Hudson Taylor

I first heard of Hudson Taylor at a Gabrielle Aplin gig in the Academy , and apparently they are well known around Dublin. As far as I know , the band is compromised of two bothers, Harry and Alfie, but in all the videos I found of them on youtube they are playing with these two other guys. I would liken them to Mumford and Sons, but I have to much respect for them. They are actually so much better. I suppose you would call their style "folkey", but it's the vocals you really need to listen out for. You may have heard them on "The Host" soundtrack with their song "Chasing Rubies", but I don't think it's one of their better songs. I'm going to have to get my hands on their album, but for now here's a link to two my favourite songs of theirs. Hope you enjoy as much as I do. :)

Link to Hudson Taylor's Breaking Tunes