Archive for the 'Music' Category

Burning Powder

Thought this was worth your perusal. Great EP too.

[Sorry if it didn’t embed right…]

Lowly Knights – Burning Powder from Phil Harrison on Vimeo.

Bands with managers

Thursday 27th May


Exodus – Lisburn

29 Railway St, Lisburn

This is something you should all go to cause it’ll be beezer.

I’ll be there which will make it even better. I’ll even have a band to make pretty music to make up for my lack of ability.

The Turf Brothers will be there in their first live performance since the last one.

I need to go practice singing in tune.

I’ve been to a marvellous party

Friday night was my chance to see Divine Comedy as close up and personal as I ever likely will.

I am, it could be said a big fan. The man knows how to write  lyric and a melody and a chord sequence. The man is a living legend.

I kept leaning over to Transfarmer and recounting tales of when we used to play that song or this song in the wedding band or some school concert.

I fondly remember busting a string on the second note of the guitar solo in National Express in the civic centre in Craigavon during  school concert.

It is odd that Neil Hannon seems like one of ours, an Irishman, a much beloved Irishman. It’s odd because the whole persona he has created is intensely English. This is the man (who with another Irishman) made an entire (and wonderful) album about cricket. Yes of course there’s satire, and parody but then we Irish can’t pretend that we’re not just a little bit English at heart…

The Sugar Club is a wonderful place for a gig. Despite missing the early rush to grab a seat we managed to get a seat that some lovely young folk were willing to share. Rarely have I been more happy to get a seat a gig.

This was a civilised gig. He came in a suit and bowler hat and there was even an interlude. He rattled through some really high quality new stuff (can’t wait to hear the full version of the Complete Banker – the man knows how to capture the mood of a nation) and some old classics too. I’d be happy if he’s just stopped at Tonight we Fly (the second song).

The thing that everyone will remember is the mistakes. Firstly that they happened at all – I was a little bit surprised at the frequency of the cock ups of the lyrics and chords. And secondly – the mistakes were half the banter of the night, it became like a little bit of stand up mixed with pop.

Bring on the album.

Free Coffee

Since I met Transfarmer I have writen one song.

Most rejoice at that.

Simy would say that I’m no longer miserable and therefore can’t write the sad bastard music any more. I’m still miserable, she has that effect on people, it’s just I seem to have spent all my time driving or training (should really be a verb…) up and down from Maynooth.

Though I do drive an automatic it is still hard to master the corners while singing and playing guitar.

I still like some of the old songs. Well 5 of them at least. And I like the idea of playing them more often. However singing in front of people gives me the willies like nothing else. I get nervous about very little (if anything) but singing is one of them.

On Tuesday I got to play in a Starbucks where I live (some guys I know had got the use of the place for the evening and I got a chance to sing a bit).

Transfarmer even took some video. Some better than others it must be said. If you stick the video to the end then there’s another guy doing something really cool.

It went remarkably well, in that I enjoyed it and even occasionally hit the right notes.

Will be good practice for a gig I’m playing here (with the legendary Turf Brothers) at the end of May. We have our first practice on Saturday morning in our living room. Hope the neighbours won’t mind…

Pay for what you get

My brother had a friend in 1997 who came back from America brandishing a copy of Crash and a few weeks later I was printing tabs off the internet and furiously trying to play the fiendishly impossible slides and hammer ons of So Much to Say. Me and Woodsy invented the word nequethiel to describe the mood of Two step. I played Crush very loudly the day I passed my driving test

I was a big Dave Matthews Band fan. Till Everyday and I kind of lost interest.

I am still not sure why they are so damn popular. Who would want to listen to obscure drum viruoso rhythms accompanied by violin and sax with a lead singer who looks like an Accountant (direct quote from wee Liz). It’s hardly “what the kids are listening to.”

So finally I got to see them last night. In the very neat and tidy but horribly sterile and commercialised O2 Arena. Incidentally I like the way they still call it The Point on the LUAS.

And they are as brilliant as they sound. The quality of the songs they’ve produced in recent years is far below the old days in my opinion but my those boys can play. Though maybe not dance.

Leroi Moore (the sax guy) died a couple of years ago and this coupled with the arrangements of the new songs appears to have left the wonderful Boyd Tinsley (violin) some what out in the cold. He spent most of the first half of the gig standing at the side of the stage holding his violin while being drowned out by an overly loud Tim Reynolds on electric.

Dave – I say this for your own good, Tim is great and all that but you don’t need him. Stick to the brass and violin, it kind of made you more interesting and less like a band led by an accountant. I’m just saying.

We left before the encore (just after All along the watchtower of course) so we didn’t get locked out of our car park. We missed two songs I’d never heard of. I’m not bothered.

So I’ve had my old Dave Matthews Band on repeat all morning. I’m not sold on the new stuff. If Dave goes back to writing Two Step again and I go back to being 16 then we’ll both be happier.

Kid go get it

Been a while since I’ve had any new music worth talking about.

Inevitably when it comes it’s all Northern Irish indie bands

Just before Christmas SixStarHotel released their new album. These guys have been about fro years and their musicianship goes from strength. With Tides and Tides I think they’ve perfected it.

Two Door Cinema Club are annoyingly young and talented and make me wish I’d dedicated my youth to floppy hair and playing crappy indie venues instead of wasting my time in education…

They’ve received a lot of press and have been on tour since some time before they were actually born it seems. They finally have a deal and an album and it rocks.

And last and of course best we have the Lowly Knights. It has been a pleasure seeing these songs develop live and  become the wonderful creations they are on the Hollows EP. In an ideal world I’d love my music to sound like Mumford & Sons, but it would have to be with a hefty does of the Lowly Knights. Sharing a house with the pianist probably makes me a bit biased but hey.

August and everything after

So as summer comes to an end with a cold, damp, miserable thump (what a surprise) it’s time to review some of what i’ve been up to over august.


I was at a wedding in a castle in Edinburgh (though not edinburgh castle) where they had the most wonderful humanist wedding ceremony. (I think we need more humanist wedding ceremonies, but that’s another blog.)


There was great food, good wine and even some dancing – of which i did not partake i must confess. Even the Bon Jovi.

I picked up the guitar and grew some balls and played my songs in a wee cafe in Portadown. And after the first 4 songs i even started enjoying it.

And in a fit of musical enthusiasm I picked up the old electric again and played with the old band in church. Lamenting my dying guitar amp and how rusty I’ve got at playing the electric guitar.

I await my new valves in earnest in the hope i can resurrect the Hot Rod deluxe to do another 10 years of loyal service.

On a more positive not the new Pod X3 rocks. While a little on the complicated side to set up and run it does sound pretty sweet. These are the days i wish i hadn’t sold my strat to Woodsy.

In between I have actually enjoyed my work. Which is kind of new for me. I have found myself too often pisssed off and frustrated in work so it’s nice to have a wee bit more enthusiasm and positivity about the whole thing. being there less helps. Which i know sounds weird – “I love my job as long as I’m not there…” – but when I do less hours I sleep better and am more sane than usual. This has got to be a good thing.

I look forward to dropping a day a week in the middle of september and going back to cutting up dead bodies with the students.


And then most recently was Jonny and Lynne’s wedding. Dear Jonny, whom I’ve known since I was 6 when he arrived in P2 and stole my lego. Not that I’m bitter. Dear Jonny, who I shard houses with and tears and joy with and made 9 platiunum selling albums with in the Turf Brothers. Good times.

Great wedding, though running around doing musical stuff all day. Including the first ever live turf brother’s performance.

And it was mighty craic playing in Nice Guy Eddie again (my old wedding band) and even nicer to move from dance floor to band and back to dance floor again getting to play just the songs that i remembered.

There was dancing. There was me dancing. There was me enjoying dancing.  But i blame Transfarmer for that. I blame her for everything really.

But above all else what made the wedding was the fact that we didn’t have to drive the 1 1/2 hours back from the Killyhevlin at midnight. Instead we sat about the hotel till 0130 and then dandered back to our little chalets at the riverside for a cup of tea and a nice kip.




And so began our little two day holiday in damp fermanagh. Like the donegal trip simply transplanted to a pre-fab chalet on the bank of the river.

I took the good ship pudge out on my own for the first time but was slightly annoyed that the brisk wind meant that i couldn’t get the thing turned and embarassingly had to reverse the canoe to shore just to turn it.


Everyone else seemed to enjoy their trip too. No one got wet anyhow.


We visited an ice-cream shop, just for the adventure of getting lost in the Fermanagh countryside. Sat-Nav is great and all that but only if you tell it to go to the right place.


Extended weekends rock. And it’s still only sunday morning.


January 2020
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