Return of the Tiz
Alrighty folks! You may remember the name Tiz McNamara from my Stephanie Rainey blog post series here. So I mentioned in the post that Tiz had been playing some really cool gigs and festivals like Indiependence and Electric Picnic and had a headline tour upcoming. I was keeping eager eyes on his tour dates, which was constantly growing as more and more dates kept being added. A huge bunch of dates in Canada had been added, but for a while his Irish dates lacked the presence of a Cork show. That was until he added a show in Cork at the venue Fred Zeppelins on September 13th with support from Sarah MacDougall. With the date set, I was looking forward to seeing some more cool music.
A pleasant surprise
When the evening came around and I left my apartment I had not realized the venue was only around the corner from where I lived, so even with my tendency to arrive early, I was there about 15 minutes before ‘doors open’ which in Irish time means I was easily well over an hour early. On the upside, I was only sitting about for a couple minutes before Tiz, his 2 band members Dylan and Kevin, and the support artist Sarah MacDougall emerged from the venue presumably after sound-check. Tiz recognized me and invited me to join them as they sought a pre-gig meal in a local establishment, which I had not been expecting but gladly accepted the invitation. ‘Twas a grand old time and we chatted about various goings on in the Irish music scene, from Dermot Kennedy’s ongoing tour headline tour, to Little Hours and the departure from their line-up of Ryan Mc Closkey and other such stuff. I was also informed that Tiz’s band members Dylan Howe and Kevin Herron have a band called ‘Rowan’ for which Dylan is the main singer, and Kevin also has other interesting involvements in the music scene coming up that I’ll speak further on in mid-October in case it’s too early now. On the TV at the time the Champions League football match between Liverpool and Sevilla was kicking off, with Tiz not being a Liverpool fan he just fancied the notion of them losing. Within minutes they had already conceded a goal so it was all good spirits at this point in time. By the time we left to go back to the venue as time had been kicking on quite a bit, Liverpool had brought it back to 2-1 in their favour so that dampened Tiz’s spirits just a tad.
I had not been to Fred Zeppelin’s before, but basically it has a really intimate atmosphere for gigs in the upstairs room. When we got in and I paid my entry, I was sat down for a bit and contemplating whether or not there was merch to acquire as I hadn’t spotted anything. I was about to get up and ask Sarah if she per-chance was selling any merch as I already had Tiz’s EP, when I spotted it. Behind the door that I had entered in from, and thus also partially obscured by it from where I had been sitting, was a table with three stacks of CD’s at the front – 1 for Tiz, 2 for different albums of Sarah, and behind the CD’s were stacks of those 2 albums also on Vinyl. Now, when I left for the gig, I had not envisioned Vinyl being on the agenda, so my wallet was economically packed on a CD Budget. Nobody had taken to the stage yet so I did the only thing I naturally could think of in this situation – I legged it out of the venue to my apartment a couple minutes away, and stacked some more money into my wallet, before running back. Ain’t no way I was missing out on an opportunity for more vinyl should Sarah impress me with her music (Generally not a difficult task with my ever growing diverse taste in music and my trust in the choices of artists I like for their support)
Pre-Support Support – Rowan (Kinda)
Before Sarah MacDougall was to take the stage, there was a bit of time for Dylan Howe to first go up and do a short solo set of music from his indie-folk band Rowan. Alternating from the piano to the guitar between songs, Dylan showcased a stripped back version of what Rowan had to offer, and I was pretty impressed. He even chucked in a song completely As Gaeilge (In the Irish language for the non-Irish readers) which he did a really good job of, even if he insisted he’d be rusty at it from not doing that song in a long while. My particular favourite that he played was a song that is also their most recent video release, ‘Asleep in the Rain’ which will be below this piece. Besides the strong music and vocals to the song, what also gets me is when Dylan goes into the ‘Woah oooh ooh ooh ooooh’ part (Super technical description right there, I’m not sure how to actually describe it!) which you’ll see him do in the video, and later into the song when he whistles the same tune. While it sounds great on recording, it’s even better again to hear it in person. It seems simplistic, but it has a penetrative emotional quality to it that seems to just transmit the feel of the song directly into your very being, perhaps helped also by the intimate atmosphere within which I was hearing it. It certainly sent spine-tingling shivers down my back. Rowan will be making a brief return to kick off the start of a very exciting post I’ll be putting out on Thursday the 28th, so stay tuned for that.
After Dylan had done his bit, Sarah MacDougall took her turn up on the stage. First, just a little bit about her. Falling into my live-discovery category of artists I had no experience in listening to until the very moment I saw them on a stage (Which Tiz was also a part of when I saw him support Stephanie Rainey, and thus the cycle continues), I nonetheless held fairly high expectations as I had faith in whomever Tiz would opt to play and tour with. A Canadian/Swedish artist, Sarah goes back about a decade or so as an artist with 3 full albums released in that time – ‘Across the Atlantic’ 2009, ‘The Greatest Ones Alive’ 2011 and ‘Grand Canyon’ 2015. With that said, she opened with a song called ‘Sometimes You Lose, Sometimes You Win’ from her second album, during which my eyes flashed back towards the vinyl’s and I knew it was very likely I’d be walking out with them come the end of the evening. Going into the second song ‘I Want To See The Light’ from her latest album, Sarah first went into the emotional story behind it. She spoke of a time of fear and sadness in Sweden when there was a serial killer on the loose who was shooting people from behind who had dark hair, and her dealing with that much like anything else in her life – By writing a song about it. It’s a very moving and uplifting song of standing strong during such tragic and fear-stricken times where one couldn’t walk the streets without wondering might they be the next target.
Her next story spoke of living in a part of Canada where 8 out of 12 months of the year saw a constant state of snow, and only 2 hours of light in the day, in a dwelling that had no running water and a toilet in a cabin that was separate from the building. Naturally, Sarah identified darkness with the potential for bears and wolves to be lying in wait at any spot between the house and the toilet, so she came to the only obvious conclusion. She would simply have to train her mind and body to only make the necessary trip within the daily 2 hour period of time. Such hardships and weather-woes, she went on to say, are the inspiration behind many of her songs being about darkness and snow. So of course the next song she played was called ‘Permafrost’. She fit another few songs in, and got the audience in attendance to help and sing along to a song called ‘Sparrowhead’ which is about a place in Canada called Manitoba, also commonly referred to as the armpit of Canada. The sing-along consisted of a softly repeated chant of the word ‘Manitoba’. My verdict of Sarah MacDougall’s performance on stage, in which she delivered brilliantly musically and also with great story-telling and humour throughout the evening, could probably best be described by the fact that she had barely stepped off stage by the time I was clinging to 2 brand new vinyl’s to add to my collection. What I also love about the Grand Canyon vinyl is it came in a dark blueish green with subtle white and black marbling throughout, making it my second coloured vinyl after EDEN’s red one. After the end of the evening she was also nice enough to sign both records.
Musician/Stand-Up Comedian Tiz McNamara then took to the stage with Dylan Howe and Kevin Herron to see us through to the end of the evening. I say Stand-Up Comedian, because his humorous and at times raunchy stories and quips throughout the evening were something else altogether, with great big asides from the music that showcased his down to earth character and ability to work with the audience. The kind of fella you could picture sitting at the table in the corner of the pub with, telling great stories with everyone either listening intently or falling over themselves with raucous laughter. His actual music was on-point as well and made for a fantastic evening over-all. From a song of admiration and appreciation to his
lover cat Daisy, to a story about the popularity of his biggest single ‘Steady As You Go’ which had been featured on Hollyoaks 8 times to date or “7 times too many” as Tiz put it. He said that in the event of a characters death on the show, chances are it was his song you would then hear in the background. His next story was one of the highlights of the comedic side of the evening, where he told in great and somewhat horrifying detail the story of his times as a struggling artist when he sold music lessons. In short, one particular client had him teaching a 5 year old boy the guitar, and left in his company, the not-so toilet trained child had required a helping hand to do his business. Heading into the song ‘Better Man’ after this story, Tiz quickly pointed out that the story had absolutely no relation to the song and was in fact an entirely pointless rambling he had just ventured down. He did however have everyone in stitches from that little bit.
He had another entertaining story from earlier in the evening during soundcheck. The room of the venue in which the music was happening, also happened to be next to the doors to the ladies bathroom, and a girl had come up and noticed the band setting up and spotted Tiz standing about and asked him what was going to be on. Tiz told the girl that it was Folk music, to which she responded with an exasperated boo and a thumbs down. Realizing the err in her response she quickly asked ‘You’re not in the band are you?’ which Tiz confirmed he was. Mortified, the girl ran away to the bathroom, where she proceeded to tell a girl in there the embarrassing tale of what had just happened – The entirety of which was audible to Tiz inside the band area. The tales and the music continued on in entertaining fashion, naturally including Tiz’s fantastic new single ‘Slippery Slope’ which has just been released as a music video which I’ll include below. Tiz has just finished up the Irish portion of his tour and is jetting off to Canada to continue his run of shows there.
A one-question interview of sorts
Overall, it was a fantastic evening of music and I had a great time. I do want to address two things I wrote in my previous post about Tiz’s supporting slot for Stephanie Rainey. Firstly, I made a silly mistake when I quoted him as having played a cover of ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon when in fact it was the song ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston and I had mis-remembered it when thinking back to the evening during the writing of said post. The other thing I wanted to chase up on was due to the following piece I wrote in that post “dropping some new tracks as well such as ‘See You Soon’ which he has pegged for release very soon and is going to be pretty awesome”. The release of Slippery Slope as his latest single instead certainly threw that into question. I had kept an ear out for the track during the evening as well and it had not cropped up, though I was also aware that they’d had to cut a few songs from their set to account for time. Thus I took the opportunity to query this with Tiz, to which he had a solid answer, stating that it had indeed been the plan, however due to shift in the direction of the song during production which advised for changes in order to release the best possible version of the song for the listeners, it was pushed forward and ‘Slippery Slope’ was chosen as the next single. Given the praise that Slippery Slope has received since it’s release, and it’s air time on radio stations, it was a good choice and we’ll hear more about ‘See You Soon’ in the future. That’s about it for the evening, I managed to nab myself Tiz’s set-list and Sarah’s as well. Not everything on Tiz’s set ended up being played, and the order of some of the songs were moved around. For Sarah’s set list, they had not had a page for her to write it on at the time, so it was written on a sheet of cardboard which had come from a slab of beer cans. A nice sturdy collectible. That’s a wrap, so remember folks, keep on Merchin’!
P.S. Liverpool got sloppy and let Sevilla score a goal to end the match 2-2, much to the delight of Tiz McNamara.