The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell
Putting a winning spin on Americana, Bird of Chicago play upstairs in Róisín Dubh this Saturday, April 27.
The collective from the Windy City is fronted by JT Nero and Allison Russell, who will be joined at the gig by Will Waghorn on drums and Joe Faulhaber on guitar. Speaking from England, JT reflects on their first European tour.
“It’s been going great, even better than I expected,” he says. “We had a sold-out show in London last night and the European leg went really well. This is a new project; Birds of Chicago is a new baby, so there’s always a bit of nervousness. We’re really excited at the response.”
How did this new project get off the ground?
“Allison and I went from being mutual fans of each other,” JT says. “Her band, Po Girl, was based out of Vancouver, and my band, JT & the Clouds is based out of Chicago. When they went through our part of the world, we’d put on shows for them and they would do the same for us.
“Then we just started finding more and more excuses to do work together,” he adds. “We would show up on each other’s records. And Po Girl took me as a solo support for them on their European tour in 2007. The more time Allison and I spent together, we knew at some point we wanted to be able to give the thing its own space.”
Birds of Chicago released their self-titled debut album last year. When it came time to clock in on the recording, Allison and JT didn’t have to wander too far.
“We did it in a studio that is literally three blocks from our home in Chicago, in the Humboldt Park neighbourhood,” JT says. “We had done work there before, both JT & the Clouds and Po Girl. It’s very much a second home, a very comfortable situation, which is pretty important when you’re doing studio records.”
Watching clips of Birds of Chicago performing, they certainly seem at ease on stage. Is that something that’s hard to replicate on record?
“I definitely think that’s an ongoing problem for most bands, particularly bands that hone their craft playing live,” JT says.
“You go into the studio and all of a sudden it’s a very different atmosphere; you’re on the clock, with usually a limited amount of money. So you’re very aware how many dollars each screw up costs you! That’s not the most conducive atmosphere to producing a relaxed and joyful album.”
To finance their debut album, Birds of Chicago ran a successful campaign on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. It’s similar to fundit.ie, the site used by Irish artists to raise finance for projects. Does JT feel these sites are the way of the future for creative types?
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Comedian Shane for city show
Shane Clifford, who has been described by podcaster and comedian Blindboy as ‘The best comedian in Ireland, hands down’, will be at the city’s Town Hall Studio next Thursday, December 1, at 8.30pm to perform his new show, AW Class.
It’s being presented by the Lisa Richards Agency who are promising loads of laughter as Tralee man Shane tries and fails to get to grips with rugby fans, posh dogs, sinister yoghurt and retail breakdowns.
Shane who previously worked in Tesco, was 30 when he did his first stand-up show about six years ago. That was after he had quit his job, gone travelling and decided, on a whim, to upload some silly videos to the internet. He dealt with issues such as mental health and masculinity in an original and funny way in these videos and has since gone on to gain a reputation as an original voice on the Irish comedy scene, playing festivals and venues including Whelan’s.
Tickets €15, plus €1 booking fee, from tht.ie, 091-569777 or from the Town Hall Theatre box office.
INO present Donizetti comedy at Town Hall
Irish National Opera will return to Galway next Thursday, December 1, to present Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm.
Donizetti’s sparkling operatic comedy is an intergenerational tug-of-war about love and money. It features Don Pasquale, a grumpy old bachelor; Ernesto, his good-looking young heir; and Norina, an attractive young widow.
This unorthodox love triangle is the basis for a hilarious and touching show that offers an entertaining slant on the threat of being disinherited, a mock marriage and a spendthrift wife.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles, it’s conducted by Teresa Riveiro Böhm and directed by Orpha Phelan, with Graeme Danby as Don Pasquale and Kelli-Ann Masterson as Norina.
Tickets for Don Pasquale are €30/€27, plus €1 booking fee, from tht.ie, 091-569777 or from the Town Hall Box Office.
Music festival set to return after a successful debut
Musicians, artists and DJs from more than 15 countries congregated in Galway City at the weekend to take part in the inaugural Songs From An Open Road (SFAOR).
Organisers Pádraic Boran and Pat Neary say the overwhelmingly positive reaction from audiences and participants alike augurs well for its future. They are hopeful it marks the beginning of a new international winter World Music festival in Galway.
There were a couple ‘firsts’ over the weekend. For many who attended the beautiful Loft @Seven in Bridge Street, it may well be a case of an ‘I was there’ moment, as an intimate but appreciative crowd saw a stupendous set from Indian futurist jazz percussionist Sarathy Koewar and his band. This was their Irish debut and also marked the beginning of a pioneering world tour from the burgeoning group. Pat and Pádraic are hopeful that this exciting talent will return to Ireland and Galway soon.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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