Wednesday 6 June 2018

Summertime - music gigs!

I think it is common worldwide that musical people equate summer with gigs. Although bands play year-round, there is a proliferation of outdoor festival gigs in the summer, and there are also other annual music events that mark the beginning of summer.

Here in Ireland, where I live, the May bank holiday weekend (always including the first Monday of the month) is marked by the annual Bray Jazz Festival. It has been going strong for 19 years now, and though the Town Hall gigs are no longer free (as they were in the first few years), there is still the pub trail that sees a huge amount of free live music in bars all over the town. One of my locals, The Harbour Bar, was hosting several live gigs daily over the weekend and I saw that The Tommy Halferty Trio, who I had seen and heard and enjoyed a number of years ago, were scheduled to play the Sunday afternoon of the festival..

Halferty is a jazz guitarist extraordinaire and the first set included some great improv jazz from Halferty's latest album, Station Midi, as well as "standard" work by the likes of innovator Thelonius Monk. Since it was a gorgeous, summery weekend, I refused to stay in the cave of a pub (often in Ireland you could miss the summer by blinking) so I only stayed for the first set and gave up my prime seat at the bar to people arriving for the second set and the rest of the gigs taking place that day and night..

Some friends had invited us to spend the warm evening with dinner and drinks in their gorgeous garden that evening, so leaving the pub was not a hardship! By my good fortune, those same friends had a spare ticket to see The Rolling Stones in Croke Park a few weeks later. And summer persisted, so it was a completely unforgettable evening by those four legends. I definitely have to hand it to those wrinkly rockers for putting on an incredibly amazing show.

Last night the summer of gigs continued for me as I headed off to Malahide Castle in north Dublin to see LCD Soundsystem. The gig was fabulous, helped by the atypical continuation of summer weather - even James Murphy (LCD's front man) declared incredulously "this is the longest sunset I have ever seen!" We never saw the castle because the grounds are huge, and the gig was in an outdoor area. It is a good venue to see a band in fine weather, but boy what a trek from where I live!

My love of music has really worked out well this summer, winning tickets to the Bryan Ferry gig at Trinity College in July. And I was absolutely over the moon to win tickets this past weekend to see two more rock legends in the autumn when Van Morrison and Robert Plant (with the Sensational Space Shifters) play a double bill at the 3 Arena in Dublin. Wow! Many, many thanks to Radio Nova, the Dublin radio station that I listen to constantly.

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