It may be a little early to start drawing up a ‘best of 2013’ list but it will take some record to rival Boa Howl from Halves. The Dublin based trio celebrate the release of their second album with a free show in Róisín Dubh on Thursday, August 8.
The band began working on Boa Howl in December 2011, just after they had played a well-received show in Dublin’s Unitarian Church.
“As soon as we got the Unitarian thing done, we really kicked off working on the second album,” says guitarist and drummer Brian Cash. “We realised if we were going to make a second album, we had to record it the following August. Once the deadline was set in place, we just kept writing.”
Halves debut album, It Grow and Grows (Forever and Ever) earned the band a prestigious Choice Prize nomination. Did they feel under pressure to match it?
“It’s initially very daunting,” Brian says. “For your first album, you have years of riffs, and little ideas and songs, even. This time, we had absolutely nothing. But once we got past the first three songs, we knew we were OK.”
Boa Howl begins with the cacophonous Drumhunter, a gem of a track that sets the standard for a great album. Why did Brian and his band-mates (brothers Elis and Tim Czerniak) decide to start with this track?
“That’s a direct reflection on the first album,” says Brian. “We love it, but I think the one problem we have with it now is that the song that opens the first album is very wishy-washy for the first two minutes. There’s no immediacy; for people that didn’t know our stuff, it was kind of a hard sell.
“So we wanted a very definite message to start the second album,” he adds. “And we wanted people who knew our previous stuff to be a little taken aback at the change. It was almost dancey; it was very deliberate to put that first.”
One of the highlights on Boa Howl is Tanager Peak, which features Gemma Hayes. Why did the guys want to work with the Tipperary-born singer?
“She’s amazing,” Brian enthuses. “Her first album was gorgeous, when it came out we all fell in love with it. One of the places we were going to record was in France with Dave Odlum, formerly of The Frames, simply because we love his production on her records.”
“We always like bringing in vocalists. This time around, we had one person on the list and it was Gemma Hayes. I heard through a friend of a friend that she really liked the band, so I just sent her an email. She’s an absolutely lovely person.”
They mightn’t be competing with the Fab Four on eBay, but Halves are certainly in the running for Irish album of the year. Are they contemplating a second Choice nomination, and the €10,000 that comes with winning it?
“Before we got the nomination the first time, it didn’t enter into our heads, because we didn’t think we get nominated,” Brian says. “When we did, we were quite realistic that they weren’t going to give it to us. We were the smallest act on the shortlist, but we got publicity out of it.
“We’d obviously love ten grand. But I don’t know if we’ll get nominated again. Even if we did, we definitely wouldn’t win!”
Halves play the Róisín Dubh on Thursday, August 8. Doors are at 9pm, admission is free.
Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer
Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.
She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.
Maeve is involved with Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.
She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.
“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.
“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”
Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death
Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.
In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.
Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at tht.ie, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.
Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry
Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.
Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.
Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.
His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.
He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.
He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.
According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’
He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.
Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at ticketsolve.ie