The Grammys took place last night and the winners list is here, though it must be said, the Grammys have repeatedly shown themselves to be culturally irrelevant in the winners of the awards. Adele’s OK album winning over Beyoncé’s for album of the year continues the problem that a black artist has in winning one of the night’s major awards. Frank Ocean just refused to enter his work and explained why yesterday.

So the awards are establishment-lead trash but the live performances are what keeps people coming back. There were 16 performances last night and here are the most notable ones:


Chance The Rapper, Kirk Franklin & Tamela Mann

Chance The Rapper’s performance was a highly-charged medley from Coloring Book complete with choir, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. Chance won Best New Artist and this is how he accepted.


A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak, Consequence & Busta Rhymes

A Tribe Called Quest performed ‘We The People’ (with some bits from ‘Award Tour’ and ‘Can I Kick It?) with Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes and Consequence. Busta called Trump President Agent Orange, they brought American Muslims on-stage and Q-Tip called the crowd to ‘Resist!’.


Beyoncé

A heavily-pregnant-with twins Beyoncé delivered the most visually-arresting performance of the night with some slow Lemonade cuts.


Bruno Mars’ Prince Tribute with The Time

Bruno Mars’ did a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and The Time (a band that Prince played with and formed in school) – ‘Jungle Love’ was played too but isn’t in the video. Mars did ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ is a Purple Rain-era velvet suit and it turns out he can slay on guitar:


Adele’s underwhelming George Michael Tribute

The big winner of the night – Adele performed a tribute to George Michael that was she restarted as she was off-key. Performing ‘Fast Love’ she slowed the song down to a craic-less coma level cover that could have been so much more. She also performed ‘Hello’ at the start and acknowledged that Beyoncé should have won the album of the year trophy (the Grammys do not have a strong history of giving big awards to black artists).


The Weeknd performed with Daft Punk

DP dressed as Glam Darth Vaders. They are very good at standing around behind equipment (it’s unclear if they did anything).


Metallica and Lady Gaga – Why?

Gaga couldn’t have fallen from the top further with this shit show pairing. Hetfield’s mic doesn’t work for most of it, Gaga trips. Why?

Posted on February 13th, 2017

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Dublin-raised UK based Bonzai is to play live and is bringing some friends to the city to DJ alongside here for a New Year’s Eve Eve party at District 8 this year on December 30th.

Joining Bonzai will be DJ sets from Mura Masa, Mumdance, Wastefellow and Bobofunk.

Tickets are €22+fee on sale now on Eventbrite. Facebook event.


Margaret Glaspy plays The Grand Social, Dublin on November 30th. Tickets €15+ fee on sale now.


Culture Vultures, Tony Clayton-Lea and Andrea Keogh’s music and interview event has found a new home at The Sound House, Eden Quay. The next one takes place on Tuesday, 13 December and features live music from Hilary Woods along with chat with myself and Bantum. Tickets go on sale on now from Dice at €10 without any fees.


Swedish songwriter Jens Lekman is to play Whelan’s, March 28th. Tickets priced €25 on sale now from Ticketmaster/ WAV.


Frances, the UK singer-songwriter plays Whelan’s on Saturday, April 1s. Tickets €16.50 +fee. Her debut album Things I’ve Never Said is released weeks before.


65daysofstatic play The Button Factory on Saturday 4th February 2017. Tickets €17+ fee on sale now from Ticketmaster. The band recently soundtracked a game: No Man’s Sky.


Bruno Mars plays 3Arena on Saturday, April 29, 2017.


Donal Dineen is hosting a music and live art performance of ‘The Pipes, The Pipes’ an homage to the Irish uilleann pipes. The performance at the RHA Gallery on Thursday November 17th will feature pipers, Padraig McGovern, Leonard Barry and Maitiú Ó Casaide with visuals by Lionel Palun and Donal Dineen.


Andy Irvine & Paul Brady will head off on a nationwide 40th Anniversary tour accompanied by Dónal Lunny & Kevin Burke

Vicar Street, Dublin – Saturday May 20th
Cork Opera House, May 19th
Millennium Forum, Derry, May 25th
University Concert Hall, Limerick, May 26th
Black Box Theatre, Galway May 27th
Ulster Hall, Belfast May 28th

Tickets on sale Friday November 18th from venues or Ticketmaster.


Posted on November 15th, 2016

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From the very first time I heard Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ back in November, I couldn’t help but admire the influences the pair were mining for the track. Particularly, I’m thinking 80s funk: whether it’s the Minneapolis funk pioneered by Prince along with Morris Day and The Time or the vocoder electro-funk of Zapp And Roger, or Cameo, either way, there’s a lot of fun to be had spotting the influences.

Here are 10 tracks that ‘Uptown Funk’ is inspired by, takes influence from or reminds me of and here’s a longer Spotify playlist featuring those tracks.

1. Morris Day and The Time – ‘Jungle Love’

Prince and Morris Day were high school buddies who were in a band together in school. Prince basically started The Time and Morris joined after and Prince focused on his solo career after that. The pair would go on to define the Minneapolis funk sound. Day and his band The Time famously appeared in the film Purple Rain and they’ve a couple of fun albums I’d recommend. Minneapolis funk is the most immediate influence many people hear when listening to ‘Uptown Funk’.


2. Zapp – ‘More Bounce To The Ounce’

If you’re like me you may have heard Zapp (or Zapp and Roger as they are sometimes known) on the soundtrack to Napoleon Dynamite or as sampled by the Beastie Boys on ‘Hey Ladies’ from their sample-bouillabaisse Paul’s Boutique. The Ohio band were characterised by Roger Troutman’s talkbox vocals and an electro-funk sound that would be influential on the west coast G-funk rap movement in the early 90s which culminated in Troutman providing the hook for Tupac’s ‘California Love’. Their song ‘So Ruff, So Tuff’ (which was the song on Napoleon Dynamite) was also sampled on the Beastie Boys’


3. David Christie – ‘Saddle Up’

The French singer’s 1982 sounds a bit like 80s Paul McCartney’s ‘Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time’ but despite Mccartney’s credentials ‘Saddle Up’ is much funkier. It’s all about that bassline.


4. The Gap Band – ‘Early in The Morning’

The funk band from Oklahoma was started by three brothers: Ronnie, Robert and Charlie (who sang on Kanye’s ‘Bound II’ on Jools last year). They had a 43-year long history until they retired in 2010 when Robert died. This track has similarities in the rhythms, drums and some of that dancing swing.


5. Earth, Wind & Fire – ‘Getaway’

The famous American funk band are responsible for many hits – ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘Let’s Groove’, ‘September’ and ‘After The Love Has Gone’ but it’s ‘Getaway’, and specifically the horn section of that disco funk track that can be most obviously heard on ‘Uptown Funk’.


6. Duran Duran – ‘Notorious’

Ronson told the Guardian in an interview that his father, who was in the 80s rock band Foreigner, asked him if the guitar in ‘Uptown Funk’ was Nile Rodgers. It wasn’t but Ronson’s guitar lick isn’t a million miles away from Rodgers work, particularly to these ears, Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’.

See also: ‘Let’s Dance’.


7. The Sequence – ‘Funk You Up’

The line “Uptown Funk You Up” that Mars sings could be from anywhere due to it being used in funk vernacular over the years but the cadence of it does closely align with this 1979 track from The Sequence, an all-female trio of Angie Brown Stone (Angie B, now just Angie Stone, a Grammy-winning long-standing recording artist), Gwendolyn Chisolm (Blondy) and Cheryl Cook (Cheryl The Pearl). The Sequence were the second release on Sugarhill Records after the song that brought hip-hop to a larger consciousness – ‘Rapper’s Delight’.


7. Skyy – ‘Call Me’

Cited by others as a closer influence to the guitar riff, this New York band also known as New York Skyy released this in 1981 and it was their biggest hit.


8. Brass Construction -‘Get Up To Get Down’

The 1979 funk track from the New York band has a similar style.


9. One Way – ‘Let’s Talk’

A 1985 funk hit from a Detroit band embodies the spirit of Ronson and Mars’ track.


10. The Bar-Kays – ‘Too Hot To Stop Part 1’

The late 60s/early 70s group were known for backing Isaac Hayes and their Stax Records recording career. This song opened their 1976 album Too Hot To Stop and a parallel between its double time rhythm is found in ‘Uptown Funk’ as is its “too hot” title.


Spotify

There are plenty of other artists heard by others too from Cameo to Rick James to Prince. I should also say that the only credited track in the liner notes is for ‘All Gold Everything’ from Trinidad James which gives the song it’s “don’t believe me just watch” line.

Posted on January 21st, 2015

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