Vicar Street, Dublin _ Hallowe'en night
Howrya Horse ! I was at the Dublin gig too. I bought my ticket ages ago but ended up at the left end of the fourth row, looking through a sea of heads. I had been looking forward to this gig so much. Normally I would bring a decent camera to take a few snaps (sans flash) as a reminder, and to share with other fans, but having read all I had, decided not to on this occasion. As I entered the staff told me politely that no photography was allowed inside the venue. In case I missed it, there was also a notice pinned up to confirm it. Fair enough. As the venue filled I was pleased to see Batman there, I didn't know he was a fan. I didn't see Robin, though he may also have been there, but saw some witches, some goths, a nurse and some other strange looking characters. It was Hallowe'en !
I must say I thought Hope and the band sounded absolutely fantastic, and it was a privilege to be there and to hear them live. The set list was the same as previously published (Roisin Dubh). From where I was seated, it looked like she was wearing a black top and a sort of short, layered, white skirt and her boots. She looked very lovely in the flickering gloom, but I dont think I saw her smile once. In fairness, I suppose she was quite communicative, as she said hello when she came onstage, thank you after a few songs, and told us it was Colms birthday. I thought we gave quite a tidy rendition of happy birthday, and I think Hope made some comment after, which I missed. She kept glancing back at the backstage screen. I was surprised by the number of flashes from cameras during her performance, but in fairness, no action seemed to be taken that I could see. I was even more surprised, during the performance, to see a lady walking about on the stage taking photos. Clearly she had official clearance to wander about the stage, but I found her quite distracting. Mind you, I would love to see her photos. While her voice, and the music, were wonderful there seemed to be a strange atmosphere. After each song the lights went out and the applause eventually died, and then there seemed to be a pause, then straight into the next song. I suppose I am so used to some sort of banter, introducing the band members, thanking people for coming out. Maybe that was all it was. People around me seemed to have such urgent things to discuss that they could not wait until it was over. Some of them seemed unable to applaud too. It didn't help the atmosphere that the venue was not full. And too soon it was all over and they left the stage. One of the staff gave me a set list and I was surprised nobody seemed interested in getting one.
Afterwards, as I looked at the merch stand, a voice enquired "what is a tote", and I pointed it out. Seeing my setlist, he asked if he could get a photo of it. He told me he had taken some photos inside, but the monitor on his camera was broken, so I couldnt see them. Another chap also asked to take a photo of the setlist. The first chap asked if I was going to get her to sign it. Some hope ! If you'll pardon the pun. A very enjoyable, if different, evening.
Interesting that Roisin Dubh, with a capacity of around 200, was charging euro16, and Vicar Street with a capacity depending on config, of between 1000 and 1500, were charging euro28. Still great value.
Here is how State magazine saw it:-
"Hope Sandoval always had a reputation for being difficult. In the days of Mazzy Star it was standard-fare for this indie chanteuse to conduct interviews with shades on giving single-word answers. During the early-90’s Sandoval pioneered alternative dream pop and her obstinate repute was taken as the sour against the sweetness of her talent, immeasurable beauty and of course that voice.
It seems little has changed. The show in Vicar St came with rules and instructions from the doormen. No bar during the show. No photography, with or without flash. Phones were on silent for fear of Nokia’s Cicada interrupting the set, which would result in an immediate end to the gig.
However, when the Warm Inventions took to the stage in MF DOOM style Halloween masks the festive cheer instantly dispersed any audience nervousness.
The stage was dimly lit in blue and purple with an outline of Hope in the centre wearing a white tu-tu style skirt. Opening with Nick Drakes’ ‘Courtin’ Blues’ her voice fills the room like a velvety fog; husky, dense and saccharine and the effect is instantly calming and atmospheric.
Earlier this year Hope Sandoval released Through The Devil Softly, her second album with The Warm Inventions. Along with her partner Colm Ó Cíosóig (My Bloody Valentine), the pair created a lush album that has all the aesthetics of her previous works but possibly not as strong on melody as 2001’s Bavarian Fruit Bread. In saying that, when performed live the band inject hooks into the material that didn’t jump out on the record. The percussion is soft and sophisticated. The guitar is reverb-heavy with tinges of country blues. There’s a shimmering interplay between guitar and vocals on ‘Blanchard’. Hope flits from harmonica to xylophone lifting the music by adding some inticrate details.
There’s very little interaction with the audience, except to announce Colm’s birthday followed by a brief “Happy Birthday” sing-along. The backdrop has visuals of ballerinas, eerie Vegas scenes and old tour footage. ‘There’s a Willow’ finds Sandoval in a reflective mood while on ‘Blue Bird’ she wonders “Is there a devil in your eyes?”.
From Bavarian Fruit Bread, ‘Charlotte’ is a delicate ballad delivered with the familiar breathy vocal but it’s ‘Suzanne’ that is greeted with a warmest reception of the night. The entire set was soothing, hazy and captivating but also sedative (in a good way). So when as the band closed the set with ‘For The Rest of Your Life’, it was thrilling to find the them spin off in a dark, chaotic psychedlic jam.
Perhaps there’s an element of artistic personalilty syndrome about Hope Sandoval, the rumours and reports are not unfounded; she has been witnessed storming off stage on several occasions. Perhaps its for all the right reasons; to create a stage that projects her voice and her music as she would like it to be experienced. And when it works, it works beautifully. "http://www.state.ie/2009/11/live/hope-s ... -vicar-st/