The Mahones - 'A Great Night On The Lash
(Live in Italy)'
After Finny starts proceedings by screaming 'Are you ready Italia?!' in his trademark Celtic growl, the band kick things off at breakneck speed with a rendition of the album's title track. The raw and immediate energy that The Mahones bring across feels like getting slapped in the face by your best mate before having a pint of beer chucked at you. The party has well and truly started. The next half a dozen or so tracks continue in a whirlwind of overdriven guitar, thumping drums and pipes that provide that heady mix of tavern folk and punk rock that could only originate from the Emerald Isle. The fist-pumping sing-along anthem 'A Pain From Yesterday' clearly whips the crowd into a frenzy before the band breaks out their hard rock side with album stand out 'Angels and Devils', sounding fully at home in their arena surroundings.
The band decide to give the crowd a break from the beer soaked mosh by way of the down tempo track 'London', a song that calls to mind 'Rum, Sodomy and the Lash' era Pogues, which Finny delivers with his ramshackle heart on his sleeve. But things don't stay calm for long as the band launch head first into 'Down The Boozer', a call to arms for hard drinkers everywhere that makes you feel like grabbing the person next to you by the shoulder and raising a glass… or three. The main set closes with 'Ghost Of A Whiskey Devil' and 'Whiskey Under The Bridge', both taken from 2010's album 'The Black Irish'. Both are firm live favourites and full on sing-along anthems which bring the set to a poignant and uplifting close. But The Mahones wouldn't leave you hanging would they?
They soon return for an encore of 'Queen & Tequila' hotly followed by 'Blood Is On Your Hands', one of their heaviest songs delivered with nosebleed inducing intensity and an uproariously rebellious spirit. The band then break out their rendition of 'Celtic Pride', a song that would bring a tear to the eye of even the hardest of hearts. The band cap off the show with a medley of 'Drunken Lazy Bastard' and a cover of The Undertone's 'Teenage Kicks' that will have you pogoing around and spilling your drink as if you were right there with them.
'A Great Night On The Lash' is an album that drives home the fact that The Mahones could just as easily raise the roof of your local boozer, or pack out the closest arena. Either way, this album shows, without a doubt, that The Mahones know how to get the party started!
Long time Celtic punk racketeers The Mahones are certainly no strangers to the stage. Having nearly two decades of touring experience under their belt, they have become masters at delivering balls-to-the-wall, rowdy live shows. So it seems entirely fitting that their latest album is a recording of their recent headline show at the Arena Ritten in Bolzano, Italy. The Mahones, hailing from Canada, are spearheaded by Finny McConnell, a native Irishman, who is clearly a man who appreciates the value of unpretentious, uninhibited live performance: he didn't tell the other members of the band they were recording the show until after it was over. By the sounds of things, this was a great idea. I'm certainly not saying that the band wouldn't have done a rip-roaring job in the knowledge that the stage mics were on, but 'A Great Night On The Lash' truly reflects the raucous heights The Mahones are capable of.
Parallel are 'Lar English' (Guitarist) and 'Christine Brine' (Vocalist) began writing together in late 2011 the other band members are 'Steve Buckley' (Drummer) and 'Willie Magnier' (Bassist) with their self written and produced debut album 'Paper Walls' they have now gone on to record their single 'When i'm High' which is out now. Like the title suggests this track really does actually gives you a happy 'high' with its bouncy melody you can't help but smile along,
“There’s a nice breezy (dare we say drivetime) feel to ‘When I’m high’, coming at jangly guitar pop from a rootsy by-road.” say Cork-based band Parallel of their new release, ‘When I’m High’ which is, all in all, a fair summary for this timely summery pop ballad. There's an uplifting sense of freedom (to be expected witha song with that title!) and an intricate array of rythmic twangs and soulful notes. The sound combinines both folk and soul elements and will put a smile on your face and have you singing da da da da da da dada as you shimmy down the street - or indeed take a trip down a by-road in your car... which is exactly what we are going to do!
If you aren’t already familiar with the band, Lar English and Christine Brine began writing together before producing ‘Paper Walls’, their successful debut album, which features a soulful mix of acoustic songs, with flavours of country, folk and blues. Their influences include The Beatles, Nick Drake, Emmylou Harris and REM.
When I’m High’ is now available on iTunes, Amazon Mp3, CD Baby, Google Music and Spotify. For more information, music, videos, photos and all the latest news and reviews, visit www.parallel-band.com
Sarah Packiam - Dream EP
Sarah Packiam has quite a back story. Hailing from County Wicklow, Ireland she soon found herself spending her formative years in Barcelona where she spent the sultry evenings wooing crowds as the vocalist in a band formed with her brother and father, who is responsible for her Indian heritage. A move to the sunny west coast of the US proved to be the point at which she found her home because, upon her arrival in 2004, she decided to stay.
The EP's closing track 'Been Gone Away' is a triumphant finish of exuberant energy full of swirling slide guitar and a killer chorus. The 'Dream' EP sets Packiam apart from many others trying to create a similar sound right now. The songs on this EP have the energy and infectious melody that makes it clear Sarah Packiam is a voice that rises above the rest.
Kentish Town Forum, London 19.01.2013
It's no secret the American city of Boston has been a haven for those with a bit of clover running thorough their veins for centuries. Ever since the first arrivals from the provinces, Boston, Massachusetts has been a hot bed of celtic revelry, and with revelry surely comes music. Loud music, and on this cold January night the Dropkick Murphys were intent on keeping this fast held tradition alive. The (formerly HMV) Forum sits on a little corner in Kentish Town, North London beside an intersection with a small expanse of grass in the middle of it, which gives the venue a sort of village green feel. Kind of apt really, as what I was about to witness was some grass roots celtic punk.
As I entered the venue the thud of the DJ was barely audible over the chants and whoops of anticipation. When the Dropkick Murphys took to the stage the well lubricated crowd erupted into a frenzy of jostling heads and air punching fists as the band launched straight into 'The Boys Are Back'. Truly a statement of intent for the evening to come. What followed was a raucous rundown of staple classics like 'Johnny, I hardly Knew Ya', 'Going Out In Style' and 'Blood and Whiskey'. Suddenly, bassist, vocalist and between song rabble rouser of the band, Ken Casey called for a collective glass (or venue-approved plastic cup) raise, as the band kicked into a more mellow gear and played a few lower tempo songs including 'Jimmy Collins' Wake' and their take of the Irish folk standard 'Fields of Athenry'. But this lighter-swaying singalong didn't' last long. The Dropkick Murphys soon whipped the crowd into a back-slapping beer and whiskey infused frenzy before finishing off their set with the classic live favourite 'Worker's Song'. But the crowd was baying for an encore and the band were happy to oblige. They came back out to finnish off the show with a slew of four more riotous songs, including a surprising cover of AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' which came complete with a full stage invasion. By the end of the night, the Dropkick Murphys had ensured the party was in full force everywhere, including on the stage itself.
As the revellers filed out into the icy January night, the cold didn't seem to matter. Everyone's spirits were resolved against the snow as we all started striding home with the sounds of resounding pipes and distorted guitars gloriously ringing in our ears.