Trigger Part Two: Double Perspective Album Launch

Hey, it’s me again! Running on time and such, fancy that. Could get used to this. So, after the hiatus I returned to writing with a piece about a series of gigs I went to last summer right on my doorstep. One of those was the Irish Hip-Hop artist Trigger, and he just released his second album at a launch party 2 weeks ago, so I figured with the timing we may aswell tackle that while it’s fresh. His second album takes the name Double Perspective, the naming of which has a tragic backstory. I wrote in part one about how Trigger talked of his friend and fellow artist Basic and that he had commit suicide. Back in the day when they would rap together, Basic and Trigger had plans to create a collaborative mixtape called Double Perspective, a goal that was to be their crowning achievement. Unfortunately that never came to be, and now Trigger carries the torch for both of them with the release of this album. Having worked at the album for over 2 years to perfect it, Trigger has confidently said in interviews on the lead up to it’s launch that he doesn’t feel like any tracks on the album are filler, and that not only do they all have a deep meaning to them but he feels any one of them could be taken as a single. Indeed even looking at the tracklist, the album boasts a plethora of strong features with artists such as Harry J, Ophelia, Myles Gaffney, Bubba Shakespeare, B-Wonder, An Buachaill Dana, Nichole Desmond, Red The Future and Kreo Ghost collaborating, and most impressively, the rap group Outlawz of 2Pac fame putting in a feature. Not a bad accomplishment for the resume of this Cork Hip-Hop artist that’s for sure.

The venue in question for the album launch was none other than Cyprus Avenue in Cork City, with entry on the night even being free. Arriving on the evening and waiting on doors to open, all eyes were drawn away from the doors and up to the top of the street at a spectacle taking place. Pulling up to the curb was a silver Stretch Limo, from which emerged Trigger and co. Taking a moment to lavish in the attention of photographers and media presence alike lining up to preserve the moment, Trigger stood with Champagne bottle in one hand and a fresh copy of his album in the other.

With the grand entrance made, the doors to the venue opened and we made our way inside. A nice half-and-half setup had been put together inside, with a wide open space towards the front by the stage for people to crowd up or dance, and then table and chairs set up around the rest of the room. So before I jump into all the details, I’ll just make a quick disclaimer. There was a LOT going on that evening in the range of artists who took the stage and I do not entirely know who all of them were, so I may miss parts or get some parts wrong, but for the most part I’ll attempt accuracy. If you were involved and wish to rectify any gaps or mistakes, by all means contact me and I shall amend. For the first while of being in there, DJ Jus’Me was working at his booth in the corner of the stage to provide music to keep the atmosphere up while people began to fill out the place and all the formalities were made among various parties, with several different photographers and interviewers getting their shot at Trigger and the rest of the entourage. He would continue through the night to spin the beats for the various artists to take the stage. Stage host, presenter, and general character of the evening was Bubba Shakespeare, and I gotta hand it to him, he’s got a talent for working the crowd and the stage and is quick on his feet when he needs to improvise to keep the stage presence going.

The first act to take the stage is one I was already familiar with from the last show, none other than Anthony Jackson. It was no surprise that he absolutely killed it with his set, offering up a solid opening for the evening with some proper bangers. After he was done, Bubba took to the stage to keep things running until the next artist, Costello, was ready to take the stage. With quips galore, starting crowd chants, and more 16-bar freestyles than he bargained for, Bubba kept the crowd entertained. Finally, Costello came up to perform, and the fella I was standing next to and chatting to for a while was definitely a big fan of his already, singing high praise for him so I was intrigued what I was in for. As it turned out, I was definitely in for a treat. Costello was phenomenal, from his flow to his style, Costello was absolutely owning it on stage. I was breathless just listening to him as his non stop pace and intensity carried through track to track to track with no let up, with very clean delivery of his bars. He even clambered down from the stage with his mic to rap around in the crowd for a bit which was good fun. It turned out that he was selling an album on the night as well, by this point I had already bought Triggers new CD and my wallet groaned when it heard there was more, but nonetheless I added it to my collection. Hell, even the fella I was talking to already owned it and ended up buying it again cause he was having that much fun.

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Anthony Jackson opening up
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Costello
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Costello’s Album Overnight Legends

Following Costello’s performance was the duo Red The Future and Kreo Ghost, repping the group Flowstate Movement which acts as an ambassador for much of the Irish Hip Hop scene. Both individually brilliant rappers, they worked off each other with excellent synergy, continuing to contribute to a jam-packed evening of solid entertainment. Kreo Ghost had a surprise in store though, as they came to a track in the set called ‘Lately’ and Red The Future delivered his verses, Kreo topped it off by singing a breathtaking chorus at a pitch one would not expect and showing that not only could he rap, but he could sing really well too, then diving straight back into the rapping. (Check out the YouTube video for Lately here) The duo of many talents finished their set and once again it was time for Bubba to grace the stage. For the next while to kill some time, they began freestyling some more, with loads of people hitting the stage to deliver their 16 bars, continuously keeping the action alive. Anthony Jackson, Costello, Bubba, Red the Future and Kreo, Costello’s friend who’s name I think was Hanzo but I’m not sure on that one, plus many more from the crowd. Whole thing was pretty incredible to watch, and it was all building to the big moment.

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L-R: Red The Future & Kreo Ghost

At last, the next step was for Trigger himself to grace the stage. With an Irish flag draped over his shoulders, he got up there and put on the performance the whole evening was culminating towards. With many of the artists who had features on his album in the venue, there was a lot of people up and down to put in their part on stage with him, making for a very fun evening all round. We even got another appearance from the ever brilliant Dylan Brickley for Triggers song with him ‘Let ’em Know’ from the previous album. When that was all finished, DJ Jus’Me tagged out of the DJ booth to let in the one and only Stevie G to take over for the rest of the evening. Once again another round of freestyles started up, with Trigger taking part aswell in this round with many of the aforementioned artists also doing some more. And that is how the album launch party went, it was an absolutely amazing and well put together evening and I’m glad I went and discovered a lot of new stuff from it. The kicker was that during his performance, Trigger threw out a copy of his previous album Triggernometry out into the crowd, right into my hands, so now I have two. That’s all for now folks, and remember, keep on Merchin’

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Double Perspective CD

 

Links:

Costello: Facebook

Bubba Shakespeare: Facebook Instagram

Red The Future: Facebook Youtube Instagram

Kreo Ghost: Facebook Youtube Instagram

Flowstate Movement: Facebook Youtube Instagram

Dylan Brickley: Youtube Instagram

Trigger: Facebook Youtube

Stevie G: Facebook

 

Tune in to the Merch Perch at 5PM on Monday (14/08/17) for the first of a sequence of 3 blog posts I’ve been itching to get onto this page for quite some time, it’s gonna be a good one.

The Collective Sessions 2016

Greetings peoples! Sorry I’ve been away, had a lot happening over the last two months, hopefully I’m back now. In short, I’ve moved house, started a new job, spent a month living on a floor, been attending more gigs and concerts to write about in the near future, and then procrastinated a bit before finally getting back to this. Just to quickly address the last blog I wrote before this about EDEN, I spoke of wondering if EDEN himself might have actually read the blog after the reaction to the first part. Well, to my amazement, he revealed to me shortly after posting the second part that he had in fact read both, so I mean that’s kinda #BlogGoals right there, I was really happy about that.

So, let’s get into it! I want to continue this on with some of the smaller, more intimate gigs I’ve been to and come away with Merch from, so we’re going back to the Summer of 2016 for this one. It was pretty much the same time of year as now, the cusp of June and August, when weekly music sessions began to take place in a venue in Skibbereen, West Cork, called The Eldon Hotel. The driving force behind all this was local musician Paulie Fahy of ‘My Secret Collective’. Paulie set out with an ambitious undertaking: Collecting 12 promising artists from all around Ireland, and bringing them to West Cork week by week to showcase them for an evening of entertainment and general fun. And indeed, ambitious as it was, the whole endeavor was quite successful and brought some interesting variety of artists to the local spotlight. I personally made my way to three of these sessions and had a wonderful ol’ time, so I’ll detail them to the best of my recollection here.

Lily Connell Bass

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Picture from the facebook event banner

The first of these I went to was actually for a close friend of mine, and is more of a talent to look out for in years to come as she is currently studying music in college and has yet to put something out into the world. That being said, if the night were to be considered an indication of things to come, then I would certainly be expecting to see her name circulating in the far reaches of the land and perhaps beyond some day. Brandishing her acoustic guitar and with great vocal prowess, Lily took to the stage and brushed aside any first-gig nerves that may have been present with a stunning performance. Joining her at times with his guitar was Matthew McCarthy, hailed by many in Skibbereen to be one of the most promising young guitarist talents coming out of the region, and some collaborative backing vocals from Paulie Fahy himself. With her unique renditions of a set of great songs ranging from Mr Brightside by the Killers to Zombie by the Cranberries, needless to say those who were in attendance were highly impressed with her abilities. Naturally there was no merch to obtain, but nonetheless it was a brilliant night. Towards the latter end of the evening, things took an interesting twist, as in a surprise turn of events one of the bar staff of the Eldon Hotel by the name of Cillian took to the stage, nabbed an acoustic guitar for himself, and belted out a few tunes in quite impressive fashion. Such is the artistic nature of West Cork, there are many talented musical gems hidden away in every nook and cranny that can turn around and surprise you at the drop of a hat.

 

Fintan McKahey

This next one I attended upon recommendation from a friend, and had absolutely no idea what to expect. Another West Cork native, Fintan had already at this point begun to establish himself, with an EP in existence and the assurance of much more to come. A lad of a similar age to myself, Fintan blew me away when he began to play. With his acoustic guitar, every bit of his own unique style permeated through the sound he was producing, utilizing his guitar to also add an impressive emphasis on percussion to his music. Vocally, Fintan showcases abilities beyond his years, employing an almost rap-like approach to his powerful singing at times. His set for the night was a mix of his original songs with a few covers spread throughout. Truth be told, I don’t have a strong enough musical ear to accurately represent the depth of what was going on with the music that Fintan makes, but it’s safe to say that I’d highly recommend it and he’ll be going far. His EP is available on most streaming platforms, and he’s also put out some music videos. On the night itself, I gladly picked up his EP in disk form to add to my collection. On a last interesting note, with my interest in vinyls, I was quite jealous to see on Instagram that recently Fintan celebrated a birthday and received an amazing gift of his EP pressed onto Vinyl. Suffice to say that was definitely a really cool present to get.

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Aint no Vinyl but this is Fintan McKahey’s EP Two Lifetimes Late on CD in all it’s glory

 

Benzo, Trigger & Support

Finally, the biggest evening I experienced of the Collective Sessions was definitely when Cork/Irish Hip-Hop artist Trigger and his entourage were brought out to Skibbereen for a show. If asked before the night in question about Irish Hip-Hop, I’d have shrugged and said I know absolutely nothing about it, so the evening certainly served as a fitting introduction. But first things first, before Trigger or his fellow artists were to take the stage, there was a local artist to open up the evening, Benzo. Prior to this event, Benzo had been making waves locally with his Rapping, quickly racking up a large repertoire and improving his skills rapidly over a short period of time. Posting regularly on Facebook and other social media, Benzo had been building a name for himself with the tracks he put out, from producing great beats to spitting his bars over them. With elements of old school rap and hip-hop oozing through his sound, he was on a mission to prove his abilities and show that he meant business. Opening on the evening for Trigger was to be his big live debut, and it did not disappoint. Benzo owned the stage, delivering a performance that solidified his emergence into the scene and also importantly proved that he was just as good as a live-artist as he was on recording. Benzo signed with the label Money on Demand Entertainment, and recently released his mixtape called ‘Diazepene’. Link will be at the end

With Benzo’s set finished, the second portion of the evening began. Trigger was not the only Irish Hip-Hop artist to come all the way out to Skibbereen for the evening, as he had also brought along some of his mates. Anthony Jackson, and Darragh Ryan both had their turn on the stage, putting on amazing performances and showing a portion of the depth and variety of talent that could be found in the Irish Hip Hop scene. I remember talking to Anthony afterwards and he was a proper genuine lad who was enjoying what he was doing and proud to be representing the scene and bringing more attention to it. Trigger then took to the stage and put on a brilliant show, the honesty of hardships and struggles seeping through his tracks. Joining him on stage at times to provide an acoustic track and backing vocals/chorus vocals was Dylan Brickley. Dylan is a talented musician in his own right, mostly known for his busking, and most recently won 1st place for best solo at a busking festival, earning him a spot on the line-up for none other than the brilliant Indiependence Festival next year. One thing that Trigger touched on that rang incredibly true and deep was the topic of suicide. He spoke honestly and openly of a fellow artist and friend named Corey, or better known as ‘Basic’, who himself had commit suicide. In a year that locally had been hit really hard by suicide, there wasn’t a single person there that Triggers words didn’t ring true with. Trigger dedicated a lot of his work in tribute to the memory of Basic, and continues to carry his legacy with him, and he also played Basic’s only recorded song ‘Act This Way’. Trigger had an album out at the time called ‘Triggernometry’ which I picked up for myself after the show.

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When Triggers set was finished, the night was not yet over. Benzo, Darragh, Anthony and Trigger all took to the stage and started a bit of a Cypher, freestyling over beats and each having a go or few to spit some bars. When I thought things couldn’t get any better, Trigger then asked if anyone in the crowd of people there could rap. I was sitting at a table with my friends, and we all turned towards my friend Josh. He’d recently been telling us that he was gonna be making rap music in the future, and even had some songs written. He hid in the corner but we pointed him out and Trigger told him to come up on stage and spit some bars with them. What happened next was brilliant though, as for a moment Josh hesitated then realizing he probably wouldn’t get out of it now, confidently stormed his way up to the stage and was handed a mic. They started up the beat, and we watched in anticipation. Josh absolutely nailed it, much to the surprise of the crowd and Trigger himself, earning quite the loud reaction from the crowd. An immensely fun time was had all round, and Josh even put in a second round of bars when they continued to Cypher some more.

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L-R: Anthony Jackson, Darragh Ryan, Paulie Fahy, Trigger, Dylan Brickley, Benzo

That’s all for now folks! Glad to be back, I’ll be keeping at this I promise. Keep tuned for my next post, which will be a part 2 about Trigger as he recently launched his second album. And remember, keep on merching.

 

Links:

My Secret Collective: Facebook Website

Fintan McKahey: Website 

Benzo: Facebook ‘Diazepene’ Mixtape

Dylan Brickley: Youtube Instagram

Trigger: Facebook Youtube

 

 

Oh and shoutouts to Mihaela on her birthday as this gets posted for all the support and stuff

EDEN Part Two: ITYTTMOM, Futurebound Tour Feat. Majik

Hey look, I’m late again to the blog! Sorry to keep my devout followers (Of which I am sure there are legions of, naturally) waiting in suspense. Changes in the circumstances of my life at the moment are making it a bit more difficult to complete these blog posts within the schedule I have set. Hopefully in the not too distant future things will settle somewhat, but until then I’ll do my best to keep up with the schedule when possible! Now where was I? Oh yes, a blog to write! Before I proceed actually, allow me to share a useless piece of information and personal observation. So when I posted part one, I put the picture on Instagram like the rest of them and linked the blog and all that. Interestingly, the photo has about 81 likes now, of which a small margin of them actually did click the blog, so welcome, if you ever decide to return. Of those 81 likes though, was EDEN himself, which I’m totally happy about. I know there’s a very high chance he liked it for the picture only, but a tiny part of me likes to believe that maybe, just maybe, he clicked on and maybe read the blog. Just saying, he was in the states at the time for part of his current festival circuit, and there was about 3 visits from the USA via Instagram around that time. I choose to interpret that however I like. Anyway, enough about that. Also I’m not gonna lie, this post is probably gonna be really long, I have no intentions of holding back on this one as it’s the one I’ve been looking most forward to writing. Sorry, not sorry, read it anyway sure, be good fun hopefully.

If you missed part one, feel free to drop it a read here. I’m gonna run things back just a tiny bit into where we left off in the last one. When I said that his second tour was one of epic proportions, I really meant it. In the first tour, he reached 7 locations, and it was proper awesome. The EP and the tour for it really set the bar high for the caliber that EDEN was capable of and there was absolutely no doubt that he could come back with something even bigger and better. The new tour, labeled the Futurebound Tour and accompanying the new EP ‘I Think You Think Too Much Of Me’ (Called ITYTTMOM from here on out), boasted a highly impressive, if not ambitious, 33 locations in the US and in Europe. I for one couldn’t be more excited, I was going to see my favourite artist for the second time in a single year.

Before we get into the tour side of things though, there’s a few interesting things of note to get through beforehand. As you should know from part one, I bought the EP on Vinyl, and sure enough when the EP launched it arrived in the post, autographed and all. The only catch? I didn’t actually have a record player, it was purely on the basis of supporting EDEN and having it as a collectors item. Call it embarrassing if you want, but I figured it’d be comical to take out the Vinyl, blast out a song from it on my phone while spinning the record by hand and snapchat it to EDEN with a witty caption. Sometimes you just gotta be creative to entertain yourself. On the bright side, EDEN found the concept funny and snapped me back to convey as much. What can I say, I’m just a complete fanboy and thought that was awesome. So how was the ITYTTMOM EP, anyway? Fucking awesome, if you’ll pardon my French. With 4 new tracks, aptly named ‘Sex’ ‘Drugs’ ‘And’ ‘Rock + Roll’, all of which make individually solid cases to be EDEN’s best tracks to date alongside the likes of ‘Wake Up’ and ‘XO’ (‘And’ being a shorter almost interlude style song, it’s more the other 3 that achieve this status). These were then accompanied by a revival of three tracks from The Eden Project days: ‘Fumes’, which contained a brand new feature from Gnash that wasn’t on the original version, ‘XO’ and a remastered version of ‘Circles’. All this equated to a stellar EP of pure amazingness. Not to mention some really cool music videos, with Drugs getting not one but two official music videos. One in the more traditional sense of a music video, and the second one being a Virtual Reality experience 360 degree video.

So. I bought 2 tickets. I knew Christopher would naturally have his own one bought aswell. I didn’t actually have anyone I planned on bringing to the gig though, nah, my intentions were very much different. If there’s one thing I can be sure of Christopher being likely to do on a general day to day basis, it’s attempting to convert his friends into EDEN fans. A feat that honestly isn’t that difficult, people tend to get hooked pretty quickly from my experience doing the same. With that in mind, I waited until the EP had come out, the tickets sold out, and for Christopher to get his friends well acquainted with all the music available. I then told Christopher that I in fact had a spare ticket and that he should announce to a friend of his choice that they were going to EDEN’s gig after all. Well hadn’t no time passed at all pretty much when I immediately received a skeptical message from a random name “Tell me that Chris was just pranking me about the EDEN ticket”. As it turned out, this was a rare instance where Chris was in fact not making a practical joke. To be fair to him, EDEN is sacred to him, he’d never lie in that context.

The 18th of November finally rolled around, and the gig was set to take place in the same venue as before, The Academy, Dublin, only this time in the main bigger stage part. I made my merry way up to Dublin in as speedy a manner as one could considering the transport was not under my control. This time, I had been saving religiously and my wallet was pretty stacked. There wasn’t a hope of me falling short for anything this time. I arrived outside the venue early, and as I had the VIP Upgrade for myself, waited eagerly. The time came for me and the other fans that had opted for VIP to enter. The first thing to happen when we went inside is we were each given our own VIP poster, a VIP lanyard, and a free Jaunt VR headset to watch VR youtube videos on with your phone. I would later discover that my phone was far too big for such a device and thus it didn’t end up being of any use to myself.

EDEN VIP
VIP Package Items: Poster & Lanyard, Jaunt VR Viewer

Next up was pre-sale access to the Merch counter. Naturally, I was straight up in there, one of the first to hit the table, and I eyed everything up hungrily. Damage was about to be done to the wallet. EDEN caps in both black and white? I don’t even own or wear caps. So of course, I bought both. Black short sleeve EDEN shirt and a white-ish/grey long sleeve shirt? Done, mine! Black EDEN Jumper? Hell yeah! Wait, what do you mean you don’t have any in small or medium even, I’m literally the first person to even look at it. Damnit, whatever. Mega bummer that was. Ooh, white shirt and an EP belonging to the support act I’ve never heard of? Are they even good? Probably, EDEN picked them. Bought! At this point I had cleaned out the table of anything purchasable and I’m sure the person manning the counter thought I was bloody nuts.

EDEN Merch
Merch Haul of EDEN Items: Black shirt front and back, White long sleeve shirt front and back, Black cap with ‘Futurebound’ imprint, colour makes it hard to read. White cap with ‘EDEN’ imprint.

I quickly donned the black shirt and headed upstairs to the next portion of the experience, which was the Meet & Greet and Signing. Finally, I was getting to make up for the total failure of trying to meet EDEN after the first tour. I got to meet EDEN, who I suppose I should mention at this point actually has a name, that being Jonathon Ng, and we had a brief exchange of words while he signed my VIP Poster, and then we both posed for a picture together. Finally, once EDEN had made his way through all the fans, the last part of the experience was a half an hour viewing of the sound-check, where we got a nifty behind the scenes peek at him getting his instruments and mic in order, blasted with some of the songs he would perform later, and also of some of the light-work configuration that would accompany the performance.

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Meet and Greet photo with EDEN, me on the left, Jonathon on the right. Also low-key wearing Orla Gartland shirt below the EDEN one

Scurried back out onto the streets of Dublin with a couple hours wait until doors would open again, my spirits were very much elated as I made my way to meet up with Christopher and Co. Fully decked out with merch, I found them perusing the shelves of a nearby shop. There, I met Christopher, another friend he had brought along with him, and Abi, whom I greeted by handing her the spare ticket as promised. And off we went, grabbing food before heading to the venue again. There, I briefly departed their company again as VIP’s had 10 minutes advanced entry to the normal ticket holders. One more check of the merch counter confirmed the disappointing news that unfortunately, they had been unable to get in the jumper in any decent sizes for this gig. Reunited again with the others, the night kicked off with support by Majik, consisting of a duo named Jamie and Marcus. They were definitely the ideal candidates to take up the mantle of setting up the crowd for EDEN’s entrance, with their music and chemistry providing a great opening to the night. The best way to describe their music, and the members of the duo personally, is to visit their Facebook page (Link will be below) and read their Bio in the About section, it’s quite the interesting read. Once Majik were finished their performance, EDEN came out and put on a masterclass of a performance in which it was easy to see he had used the experience from the first tour to vastly improve and refine his set. Overall, I can quite easily say that this was pretty much the best day of my life so far.

After everything was finished, we bumped into the duo of Majik outside and had a chat with them, both lads proving to be really cool, down to earth blokes who were great fun. They autographed my copy of their EP I had picked up earlier, and then posed for a photograph with the group of us. I was certainly glad I took the leap of faith and picked up their merch before even hearing them, because I was certainly interested in following them from that point on, and thus the journey of discovering new music continued.

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Majik Merch: White Hourglass Shirt, Signed EP front and back
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Photo with the group and Majik. Christopher on the left, then me, then Abi between the Majik duo

Huge merch haul aside, my quest for EDEN merch had been incomplete as I was missing an important piece of the collection, the jumper that had been out of stock. Therefore I had to go to extra lengths in order to acquire it. Thankfully, EDEN continued the tradition of putting the merch online for an exclusively limited amount of time after the tour was finished. Unfortunately, despite being an Irish based artist, his store was American based with no Euro store, so picking up the jumper set me back an arm and a leg, but such was the necessity of my quest. At last, I was satisfied. I’ll probably give a brief follow up to this blog post on EDEN in the near future, because even as I write this there is a limited edition EDEN hoodie being shipped to me as he released for 2 weeks only exclusive new merch. Find the social links for the artists below, and as always, keep on merching!

Majik:

Facebook – Merch ShopWebsiteYouTubeTwitterSpotify InstagramSoundcloud

EDEN:

Website – YouTube Account – Instagram – Soundcloud – Facebook – Twitter – Spotify

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Lastly, EDEN Merch Jumper to complete the collection at the time, front and back

EDEN Part One: Introduction, End Credits Tour Feat. Talos

Ever since the Paramore concert, myself and Christopher have continued to keep in contact. Our number one topic of conversation always revolves around music, and because of this we often discover new artists through each other. One of the best discoveries of this nature I credit to Christopher, when he shared with me an artist he had come across on YouTube by the name of The Eden Project. We were both hooked pretty quickly and began to eagerly follow the artist’s progression. The Eden Project’s early music had a strong electronic edge to it, although the songs of his which gained the most recognition tended to be when he deviated away from this slightly to more vocal-heavy emotional songs. From covers and remixes to feats of his own songwriting masterclass, The Eden Project had an impressive range of music available, releasing dozens of songs in this era, for the most part recorded and produced from his own bedroom nonetheless.

Towards the latter stages of his development as an artist, The Eden Project began to further refine his sound into more of the vocal heavy indie-pop kind of feel and thus he headed into a new chapter. Re-branding as ‘EDEN’ and emerging with more confidence and strength behind his music than ever before, he launched his own record label by the name of ‘MCMXCV’, and with it his debut EP “End Credits”. Safe to say, both me and Christopher continued to be in awe of every aspect of his music and were dead set on the ambition to see him live should he begin touring. We weren’t kept in suspense for too long, with EDEN soon to announce that he would be going on a tour in which he would play in Dublin, London, and a few states in America. At this stage he already had a fiercely loyal fanbase and the tickets were fast to sell out, not before me and Christopher nabbed a pair for ourselves of course.

Set to see him play in The Academy, Dublin, in the Green Room (Smaller part of the venue) on March 22nd, 2016, our excitement was beyond measurable. Never mind huge concerts like Paramore and The Script which preceded it, this felt extra special as we regarded EDEN to be our #1 artist, irregardless of his music not being exposed to as many people as we feel he deserves. If anything, it made the ability to see him live even more intimate and there was the added bonus of it not being slapped with a superstar level pricetag. Eventually, after what felt like an age of a wait, the date for the gig rolled around and I made the ever lengthy trip to Dublin. Upon arrival, I rendezvoused with Christoper at the Spire and we found the Academy not too far away after some amount of searching.

Unfortunately, prior to this gig I had not been able to economize my money properly and thus I was pretty tight on the wallet on the day, to the point I wondered if I could even afford some food. Thus when I entered the venue and saw a table packed with various items of Merchandise, I was practically heartbroken that I could not acquire any of it. Onwards, I continued. Once inside, it was quickly apparent that it was a fairly small setting, which would shortly be filled up with EDEN fans. We pushed ourselves to a spot by the front lines, and waited for the show to begin. Before EDEN though was the support, which took the form of a band called Talos. I enjoyed their performance very much and made sure to make a note to check them out further afterwards. They’ve recently released their album ‘Wild Alee’ which I would definitely recommend checking out.

At last, the part of the night that we were most anticipating rolled around, as the lights dropped and the stage fogged up, with an extended version of the instrumental song 02:09 from the End Credits EP playing the perfect backdrop to build the hype for EDEN’s entrance. When he came out, the crowd, and of course me and Christopher, went wild as he kicked things off for an unforgettable night. Naturally his set included all the tracks from the EP, plus some of his content from The Eden Project days such as ‘Fumes’ and ‘XO’ with an added twist of a previously unheard of extension to the song. When he played the titular song of the End Credits EP, he brought a surprise guest on stage of the artist Leah Kelly who was on the original recording of the song as well. He also performed his cover of Billie Jean by Michael Jackson that he had released beforehand, and did a new cover of the song Hey Ya by Outkast. Lastly, he threw in an original song that had not been heard before, and would later emerge to be the song ‘Sex’ from his next EP. Along with his fantastic performance, of which some first time flaws did nothing to take away from, there was also a heavy emphasis on brilliant light-work and visuals on the stage which all culminated in an experience to remember.

When the gig was over, we headed over to a side of the stage we expected he might come out from to perhaps get a picture taken with him. Looking back on it now, it turned out to be quite comical, as we stood there like two complete idiots taking pictures of his Piano Case with the custom MCMXCV imprint, whereas over the other side of the stage unbeknownst to us was EDEN himself taking some pictures with fans. How gutted and embarrassed we were when we realized from social media posts afterwards.

To make matters worse about not being able to afford any merch at the gig, a short time after the tour was over, EDEN put the merch up online for a limited period of time to obtain the items and I had literally no money available to me to put into my bank account til after the deadline, and I was dealt the second heartbreak over once again being unable to capitalize and get me some merch.

We didn’t have too long to wait after the tour for news of big things to come from EDEN. Riding the wave of the End Credits success, EDEN announced the launch of his next EP ‘I Think You Think Too Much Of Me’, with pre-orders for it digitally, on cassette and on Vinyl available, plus a fresh new tour for it of epic proportions compared to the first one. This time, I had ample funds prepared, so I wasted no time in dropping a small bomb on my wallet. I pre-ordered a signed copy of the EP on Vinyl, marking the start point of me collecting Vinyls, and purchased two tickets for the tour, including a VIP package for myself. I’ll elaborate further in EDEN Part Two, and leave you with a showcase of the ‘ITYTTMOM’ Vinyl.

Artist Links:

Talos:

FB – WebsiteTwitterInstagramYouTubeSoundcloudSpotify

Leah Kelly:

Facebook

EDEN:

On Youtube search ‘The Eden Project’ for a plethora of his early content available to listen to.

Website – YouTube Account – Instagram – Soundcloud – Facebook – Twitter – Spotify

Untitled design

Picture This, Featuring Orla Gartland

For my first two concerts, I got some pretty big names under my belt right from the get go. It was then that I started down the path of discovering newer music for myself and adding a broader range of listening material to my repertoire. One such new discovery came in approximately late November/early December of 2015. Crawling through the aul’ Facebook feed a video caught my eye, and I gave it a click. That video was the instant hit on it’s way to going viral by the name of ‘Take My Hand’ by Picture This. Like many others, I was instantly hooked and following the ascension of this remarkable duo closely from there on out. The pairing continued to put out new tracks over the next few months and showed they were no one-hit wonder as they continued to make waves in the Irish and international music scene with their charm and musical talents. After a while of being on the up and up, the prospect of them going on tour began to become a reality. When they announced that they would be doing a tour of Ireland, I just had to go and see them. The best part? They were coming all the way to my back door practically, with a show in DeBarra’s in Clonakilty, West Cork on their agenda. I immediately bought myself a pair of tickets for the October gig and awaited the show eagerly.

As the date of the gig was almost upon me, I had asked a few different mates to come along with me, with not too much success. Then a friend agreed to accompany me, only to pull out on the very evening of the show. I had to quite quickly consider my options, but ultimately I decided that nothing was gonna hold me back and one way or another I would get there irregardless. As the friend who was no longer coming with me was also my lift between the towns, I had to come up with an impromptu new plan: Thumb it and leave figuring out how I was getting back til after the show. You only live once, right? Despite the relatively late hour and the turning of the sky fast approaching, I managed to nab a lift out to Clonakilty and arrive with some amount of time to spare.

I was chilling across the road from the venue while waiting for the time of the gig to come closer, when a snippet of conversation from a group approaching the venue caught my ear, and then my attention. From what I gathered, they were discussing the fact that there were 6 people in their group, but they only had 5 tickets. Well now wasn’t that something, I was standing there with 2 tickets in my pocket and not a soul with me, Without skipping a beat I was moving across the road directly to the group, and making introduction. I couldn’t help but hear about your little predicament, I chirped cheerily, as it would so happen, I’m stuck with a ticket going to waste, would you care to have it from me? It’s the little things in life like moments of that nature that brings happiness to my life. It was an inexpensive gesture made in a moment of timely opportunity and being open to approaching the world outside my head with a care-free attitude. I like to ride the wave of life in that manner, letting it me take me where it wills me to go. As it was, the group looked at me like I was some kind of guardian angel, and swiftly brought me into their ranks, and I didn’t have to worry about being alone at the gig anymore, an added bonus.

As we handed over tickets before entering the back end of the building where the gig was taking place, I quickly identified a merch table by the entrance and eyed it up with glee. However it did appear that it wouldn’t be in operation until after the gig, so I had to wait for that opportunity. It had also just come to my attention that there was a support act before the main event, so I was intrigued to discover this artist I hadn’t heard of before. With the crowd packed in and settling into place, a red headed lass brandishing a guitar took to the stage, and thus the night was set to begin. Introducing herself as Orla Gartland, it was in a matter of almost no time at all that she had a remarkable command over the crowd. She was witty and funny, built up a great rapport with the audience, and the power and beauty in her singing and music was astounding. To say the least, I was immediately a fan, and already having a great night without even seeing Picture This yet.

Ultimately Orla’s set came to an end, and the general consensus in the crowd was that she had more than suitably warmed the crowd up to her and set the tone for the night. After a brief respite it was time for the main event. Picture This duo Ryan and Jimmy came out, accompanied by a couple of people they had brought along for their live band. Every bit as charismatic and up for the craic as they came across in their multitude of videos and postings online, they lived up to any preconceived expectations and beyond with their live performance, completely smashing it. Any worries about quantity and quality of content were non existent as they moved through a fantastic set of their singles to date, along with plenty of new unreleased material. It was great to be a part of the experience with them as one of the hottest new prospects coming out of Ireland in recent times.

When the gig was over, without further ado I was over to the merch counter in a flash, eyeing up all the goodies. I had already been expecting to get Picture This merch before showing up, but after seeing Orla Gartland I was definitely getting my hands on anything she had to offer aswell. And boy oh boy did she have an impressive selection. To this day, I can honestly say she has some of the best merch I have ever come across, especially from smaller artists. Even her price list cracked me up, as it listed all the items and their already impressively low prices, and then at the bottom the best entry of all. “The whole feckin’ lot – €15”. Well now c’mon, I read that and I turned right to Orla who was standing there and said “I’ll take one ‘whole feckin’ lot’ please”. For that price, I netted myself: A wristband, 3 awesome badges, her EP ‘Lonely People’ and the most kick-ass merch shirt I have ever seen. With awesome colour print quality, the shirt depicted an animated red headed musician in mid air brandishing a guitar, hair flowing majestically behind her, as she flying head-kicks a zombie decapitating him among his undead and bodily degraded brethren, all under the magnificent caption “Meanwhile during Orla’s set…”. Speaking to Orla about the set she had played earlier in the evening, and her brilliant merch, she was very down to earth and great craic to talk to. I especially remember one thing she said which was to the effect that when you’re the lesser known artist at a gig, she figured it was especially good to step up the merch game. Step it up you did, Orla, this is where the bar should be set for all artists! On the topic of merch (No, really?!), I picked up the long sleeve Picture This shirt, which cost me more than the entirety of Orla’s merch collection (Still worth it though!) and their debut self-titled EP. I acquired one more piece of Orla’s merch since then that was not available at the gig, which was the EP that preceded ‘Lonely People’ called ‘Roots’, thus completing my Orla Gartland merch collection.

I made it out onto the streets of Clonakilty afterwards, freshly equipped with Orla’s shirt and carrying the bundle of other items I had picked up, and went for food while I contemplated what exactly my plan of action was next. I had tried unsuccessfully to see if anyone was driving back my way from the people at the gig, so I was running through the options in my head. I was almost half convinced I could just carry on through the evening by wandering aimlessly through the town until an early hitch opportunity would present itself in the morning. However some rain kicked up and cold temperatures set in and my phone didn’t look like it would survive til the morning and that’d be my only source of entertainment, so reluctantly I called a taxi which took me home for a handy price of more money than I spent on all the merch AND the gig tickets combined. Ouch. But hey all things considered? Worth. It.

For anyone interested in checking out either of the artists this post is pertaining to, here are the social links, I highly recommend them both if you’ve not yet heard of them, or even if you have just to get your ass to listen to them some more! And as always, keep on merching!

Orla Gartland:

Website

Youtube

Facebook 

Soundcloud

Spotify

Twitter

Picture This:

Facebook

Website

Instagram

Spotify

Twitter

Youtube

Picture This and Orla Gartland

The Script, 2015

If I were a shark, then Paramore was a delicious drop of thick, sweet blood seeping through the water like ink. I had acquired a taste of the good stuff, now I was on the hunt for prey. It wasn’t until almost two years later that my thirst could next be satiated. In that time I had finished school, moved towns and acquired a job. Freshly equipped with some funds and totally excited to pick up where I left off in 2013, it didn’t take long for a target to pop up that caught my attention. When I heard that The Script were going to be playing a stadium concert in Croke Park for their No Sound Without Silence tour, there was no hesitation about it. My ticket was bought within the hour, seated in the stands as unfortunately the standing tickets were sold out.

This was going to be massive, and I was ready to embrace it to the fullest. It was clear early on that I’d be in for quite a different experience to Paramore. There would be no tag-along dad for this event, nor were any of my friends going to be attending, so I was entirely on my own in this endeavor. This didn’t bother me too much, I was still just excited to be going and knew I’d have a good time regardless. Much of the difficulty of the planning process was removed as the ticket outlet was selling tickets for a bus-hire travelling to and from the concert.

Thus rolled around the 20th of June, and I was off. An early start to the day saw me getting a bus before the sun was out in order to make it to Cork City where the bus travelling to the concert was going from. Arriving in Dublin with time to spare, the first order of business was to find the nearest pub and get a pint down. The atmosphere for the Paramore concert paled in comparison to the scale of electrifying anticipation coursing through the streets of Dublin on that day. From businesses blasting The Script’s songs beyond the thresholds of their establishments, to flag bearers and countless stands of knock-off merch (None of that for myself this time, thank you very much), it was a big deal to have an Irish super band on home soil filling out a stadium concert.

I didn’t particularly know the directions to get to Croke Park, but as it turned out that would prove to be no trouble at all. It quickly became apparent that there was a mass of bodies converging on the stadium from all directions, and all I needed to do was follow in the path of anyone I saw walking and sure enough, street by street, the crowd of like-minded individuals was growing and growing as we collectively made our way to our destination.  After getting through the process of entering the venue, I found myself in the laid back atmosphere of the lounge area connected to the stands where I would be seated. Naturally, I immediately gravitated towards the merchandise counter. I made the decision to pick up the shirt and the hoodie, and quickly donned them before entering the stands.

I was pretty pleased to find that I had a fairly decent position to view the concert from upon discovering where I was seated. It was a fascinating and breathtaking sight to watch the place fill up to the brim, the flow of people seemingly never ending through the multitude of entrances onto the stadium grounds and into the stands. The Wailers, of Bob Marley fame, were the first to take to the stage and commence with the evenings entertainment. They proceeded with their reggae set to the still ever growing crowd and kept overall spirits high.

Next up was Pharrell Williams, another artist I was fairly pumped to see. With his energetic, crowd-pumping songs to get everyone into their groove, and his accompaniment squad of dancers, Pharrell delivered a fantastic performance while bringing us one step closer to seeing the Script take the stage. Among the lengthy music repertoire at his disposal, he dropped the then new and just about to be released single Freedom which stands out to me as one of the most memorable songs he performed that day.

Without further ado, with the light in the sky fading away gradually into twilight, the grand entrance everyone was waiting for began. To the fanfair of the crowd, a steady rhythm being pounded out on a drum, and a procession of large green flags, front-man Danny O’Donoghue and the rest of the band began the long walk on a pathway cutting through the crowd to the stage. Upon reaching the stage, they kicked off the show with an energetic display of one of the most Irish songs in their arsenal, Paint the Town Green, quickly setting the pace for what would be a phenomenal concert and one of the most memorable experiences in my life. The Script continued to put on a highly impressive show for the next couple hours. At times strange but intriguing, like when Danny asked an audience member to dial an ex on their phone for him to perform down the phone to them, to moments of the pure awe-inspiring beauty of watching the band play to an entire stadium of lights waving back at them, and the mesmerizing technical displays from the stage lights, pyrotechnics, fireworks and great big confetti cannons to bring the evening to a close.

And then, the exodus. The great migration of bodies that had drank their fill of live music and adrenaline and now had to return to their normal lives. This is where my night turned a bit… awry. Firstly, I was still very much unaware of my surroundings in Dublin and thus had a bit of a difficult time remembering the directions to get back to the bus, zig-zagging my way through several different streets, over and over again to try and get a sense of it. Eventually after perhaps an hour of this, I managed with some amount of success to get my bearings and reach the agreed destination. However it appeared there were some problems and the rendezvous point had been relocated. I was then to learn that while we had been inside Croke Park having the time of our lives, a bit of an incident had occurred with the bus.

I should note at this time that most of the passengers, myself included, opted to leave our rucksacks upon the bus with whatever we deemed unnecessary to bring into the venue. For myself this meant a few pieces of clothing, 2 books I was reading, a little bit of money stashed in one of said books as I didn’t want to overspend on merch, my return bus ticket from Cork to West Cork and my retainer. The staff of the bus had opted to park up and head into a cafe/restaurant and get some hot beverages, and across the road from them doing this, on the blind-spot at the other side of the bus, nefarious activities were taking place whilst they were unawares. A group of lads had broken into the bus, and 3 things were robbed: The bus attendant’s bag which had a lot of the bus companies cash in it, and 2 randomly selected rucksacks from the middle of the bus. One of those rucksacks being mine. Talk about putting a downer on the end of the night, I was a mix of conflicted feelings. I was still pumped to the brim with the elation and adrenaline from the concert and now I had an addition of panic and a some amount of despair.

The bus was making an immediate return trip to Cork City that night, so off we went once the whole kerfuffle was over of reporting it to the gardaí and ensuring everyone had made it back to the bus. Picture the scene, if you will: I’ve just rocked up in Cork City again at roughly 4:30 AM, have just taken on one of the biggest solo endeavors in my life thus far and had nobody with me. I’ve just had most of my travel possessions robbed, leaving me with a phone that has just died, a very tiny amount of cash left, and several hours to kill before the first bus departs that can bring me back to the safety and comfort of home and my parents to offload what I’ve just been through. In one of my less proud moments of my life so far, I ended up spending a number of those hours sat in the back of a McDonalds having purchased just a coke and resting/sleeping at the table surreptitiously. A glance across at the only other occupied table of someone doing much the same thing at least took away some of the guilt of the action. Around an hour before the bus station would re-open, I was awoken by a member of staff, and I murmured my apologies and an excuse about falling asleep by accident, and darted out. Eventually the bus station opened and I scraped together the very last vestiges of cash and coin I could muster up and repurchased my stolen ticket and made my way home.

As with my Paramore concert, there was much to take away from the experience afterwards in order to improve upon how I could approach future occurrences and avoid hurdles that I wouldn’t have been aware of initially. Now as I’ve babbled on for far more time than I imagine you value my experiences at, this is where I conclude today’s blog post. As always, I’ll leave you with the merchandise in question relating to the events of this post. And remember, keep on merching!

The Script Shirt and Hoodie

Chapter the First: Paramore!

We’re taking it right back to the beginning of the learning curve with this one, to my amateur days. My first concert, and I’d say for sure one I wont be forgetting. September 2nd 2013, in the 02 Arena Dublin, the first date of the Paramore Self-Titled Tour. Paramore were easily in my top 5 favourite bands/artists at this point in my life and I was super duper excited to be attending this concert as my first major music event. It was a momentous occasion in my life, and just to tip the scale of how satisfying it was to be going to this concert, I’d actually had enough money of my own to buy the ticket rather than run to my dad for it. Although, on that note, I was 17 and this was going to be my first major concert, so naturally my dad tagged along too regardless.

It’s important to note at this point that not one of my friends and peers was going up to this concert, although that’s not to say that I was going to be enjoying the experience alone. In fact, quite the contrary. See, being in the age of the internet, I had made my fair share of online friends aswell, and it just so happened that one particularly good acquaintance I had made in this manner by the name of Christopher was also going to Paramore. Plans were hatched to meet up and enjoy the concert together and thus this was also the first time I’d be meeting an internet friend in person.

Fast forward to the day of the concert, me and my dad arrive in Dublin after the arduous journey from the countryside of Cork, and proceeded to figure out just exactly where on earth we were going and attempt to not be late. We booked our accommodation for the evening and made our merry and meandering way to the 02 Arena, with many a detour as we tried to gauge the correct direction. It was as we neared the venue in question that we made the fatal error, the reason I look back at this and consider myself to be such a merch amateur at the time. We passed one of those unlicensed stalls selling knock-off band merch with sub-par designs that didn’t really have anything to do with the band. The sensible thing to do would be carry on to the Arena and pick up some official merch there. But I didn’t know any better and I saw this stand and I just haaaad to have a shirt to wear when I was supporting Paramore. Even back then, catching my first sight of band merchandise, the pull to acquire it which I am so familiar with nowadays was just too strong to resist. It’s an ok shirt and I still wear it to this day, but I look back in shame on the missed opportunity to have the proper good stuff. A learning curve indeed, I didn’t make that mistake again.

We reached the 02 Arena, and the queue was larger than anything I had seen before, waves upon waves of people encroaching upon the entrance packed into the zig zagging formation of the crowd barriers. We joined the lines and I was buzzing at how close I was to seeing Paramore play live. We finally made it inside, and I quickly ditched my dad in the “I’ll find you here if I need you” corner and ran off to enjoy myself. I located Christopher, made a quick determination that he was indeed the same person as he came across as online, and probably not likely to bring me any harm.  We joined forces, along with his friends he had brought to tag along, and we lost ourselves in the expanse of the crowd, managing to plant ourselves in a strong position about 20 bodies deep from the front lines.

There’s a number of emotions and thoughts that come to the forefront of my mind these days when I think back to the Paramore concert. And one of those particularly that crops up is a sense of regret. Regret? Oh come on Seán, you’re not still hung up over that shirt, are you? No, not at all, allow me to explain. Naturally at most concerts you don’t just get to see the main headlining artist, there’s also a support band involved. I had never heard of the support band in question at this particular concert, and I don’t recall paying a whole lot of extra attention to it or committing much of that portion of the concert to memory, eagerly awaiting Paramore’s entrance as I was. I’m sure at the time I thought the support act was quite good but thought nothing more of it beyond that. Well, therein lies the problem. The support act was a band on the up and up in the Irish music scene, and soon to be international scene, called Walking on Cars. Mhmm, that’s right. Guess who’s a big fan of Walking on Cars now and totally regrets not paying more attention at the time when I actually got to see them live? Yep, you guessed it. No matter, I haven’t managed to get to see them any of the times they’ve played since, but spoiler alert, that’s going to be remedied next month thankfully.

Pangs of regret aside, this concert was absolutely phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade any part of the whole experience for anything. Not even to not make the mistakes I did, because that’s all part of the process and thereafter appreciating doing things the right way (Mostly). The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced before that moment. it was electrifying and for those few hours I was the physical embodiment of pure joy and happiness. Above all I had a great time solidifying a friendship with Christopher that stands strong to this day. In fact, he is responsible for much of the music I have discovered and am obsessed with to this day, and since Paramore we have both attended a couple more concerts, with even more on the way so you’ll be sure to see his familiar character popping up here and there. On that note however, I believe I have babbled on enough on this particular post and we have reached the end. Marvel in the wondrous quality of this ‘Paramore’ shirt, unrivaled by any official merchandising company I’m sure. And remember, keep on Merching.

Paramore