Sunday, June 22, 2008

listen to the rhythm of the drum and the bass

Friday evening saw drum legend Billy Cobham visit Andrews Lane Theatre here in Dublin. Billy has played with various musical legends over the course of his career and also has a decent catalogue of his own work to boot. He's played drums with the likes of Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Quincy Jones and George Benson. His debut album 'Spectrum' is probably his best known and most popular but I first got into him through his 'Shabazz' album. If you're not a fan of jazz fusion its unlikely that he'd appeal to your tastes. If however you're a closet wannabe drummer then you'd get a great buzz out of his work. Cobham was one of the first popular drummers to drum open-handed lead. Basically thats equivalent to being an ambidextrous drummer. If you've ever tried to drum then you'll have some idea of how difficult that is. As a failed child drummer the stuff that Billy Cobham can do rarely ceases to amaze me. The fact that he's sixty-four and still doing it is even better. At the gig on Friday he came on stage wearing a bandana. It made him look a little like one of the characters in the Police Academy movies. His accompanying band of long-haired session heads all looked a good forty years younger than him. At times it strayed into the real noodly wanky jazz that most people hate but I've a bit of a soft spot for that kind of shit. As a teenager one of my favourite albums was by a US jazz guitarist called Kevin Eubanks. Eubanks later turned up as the leader of the house band on Jay Leno's Tonight Show and he's been there ever since. Anyway, Billy Cobham played quite a few of his better known tunes and this included Stratus, the tune that Massive Attack made famous when they sampled it for their own tune 'Safe from Harm'. It was a bit of a freaky crowd at the gig and some girls in the corner kept talking the whole way through the gig which was a bit off form. I think he played for about ninety minutes and by that stage I'd seen enough of his brilliance and had had my quota of jazz fusion for the next 12 months. If you'd like to get your own quota fulfilled then check out Billy in action playing the aforementioned Stratus.

The Mullet whisked us off to the newest and best bar in Dublin. By the time you read this all of that wil have changed and it will be stuffed with a load of fuckers that you won't want to hang around with. There's a door on Fade Street just to the left of the Le Geueleton Restaurant. Inside the door there's a blackboard with a sign saying 'bar upstairs'. It feels like you're breaking into someones gaff but when you go upstairs and through a doorway it opens up into a series of rooms that are a cross between a New York loft apartment and a back street Berlin bar. Unpainted plaster rendered walls, wooden floors and simple furniture and the most useless barman you could find in Dublin. It was perfect. It kept that way for most of the night until they started playing Daft Punk at top volume. We decided to leave it and remember it fondly than to stay and suffer the music. I'd like to think it will remain such a charming place but I reckon it'll soon be too popular for its own good. Check it out before it gets shit.

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