Reviews

Irish Times - February 2 1999

Life in the music business in February. Nu-soul diva Beverly Knight cancels her world tour of Dominic Street, Cork-based trio Bass Odyssey get drafted in to fill her spot in the Roisin Dubh, only to find ex-Stone Rose Mani and his mate, Phil, warming up the decks for them.

The "Bass", however, seem able to understand the quirky accidents of fate. Take Twilight, for instance, their second track on the night and a song which name-checks Wordsworth, Michael Carruth and the Cork City D.S. in its first verse. Or Poncherello - "dedicated to all the chip-heads" - a fond eulogy to Seventies children's TV.

 

Hot Press - Bass Odyssey - September 13 2001

Bass Odyssey are Cork’s finest guitar band, and they’ve kept too low a profile for too long.

Their brief set tonight augurs well for the future; with a new deal, a new single about to hit the shops, and an album well in hand, their upcoming tour is one to look forward to.

Apart from Jam Master Jay’s decks, Run DMC don’t really play instruments, as such, but they have many other claims to fame. They practically invented hip hop, they were the first rap act to appear on MTV, the first to be nominated for a Grammy, and the first to sign to a product endorsement deal.

In all the years I have spent supporting live music, I have never witnessed a band promote a product as shamelessly as RunDMC do tonight. Each – even the roadie who spends nearly as much time on stage as the band do – wears a t-shirt bearing the name and logo of their sartorial corporate master. At the end of the gig, they set up a stall by the exit stairs. There they autograph t-shirts, each festooned with the same corporate name and logo, which they flog for twenty quid a go. To my surprise, there are at least a hundred takers.

But what of the music? The songs, of course, are great. ‘It’s Like That’, ‘King of Rock’ and ‘Walk This Way’ are just some of the highlights of their set, and even the absence of Aerosmith from the proceedings does little to dampen spirits. The audience is not just the largest I have seen at any gig at the Savoy; it is also the most enthusiastic, and the band have little trouble whipping their devotees into a frenzy.

It is many years since Run DMC first came to prominence, and they have weathered some personal storms in the meantime. Both Run and DMC are born-again Christians, which probably explains why their use of street patois never extends beyond the occasional ‘Goddamn!’. At a time when every epithet imaginable has lost all power to shock, it comes as a jolt to realise that hip hop’s pioneers still exercise such constraint over their language. And I really like their hats; which are logoless, of course.

Mark O'Sullivan

 

Hot Press - Living It Up! - June 24 1998

Quadraphonic beats activist Donal Scannell reports from the frontline at the Heineken Cork Weekender…

Soccer and beats mixed with wicked Cork humour, kept our Quadraphonic crew sustained for the four days of full on madness that was the Cork Weekender.

Cork's own local beats crew were the principle players in a live-action sitcom that kept us laughing between gigs. Stevie G and Jimmy in Comet Records, Graham and Alan from Bass Odyssey, Uaneen and Rory from No Disco, The Donkey's Ears posse, Frontline promotions - you never had to wander for long before someone somewhere flung a wise-crack your direction. You haven't lived until you've sat inebriated in Cork Opera House's Half Moon Club very late at night as a fella by the name of Rosie entertains a packed room with just his falsetto rendition of opera's greatest moments whilst in the next room Bass Odyssey are busy rocking their home-town with their first Cork gig in months.

Thanks to the decade of hard work put in by the Sweat team, Cork has always been a massive house and techno base which made the Weekender even more special for us beat-freaks - you don't normally get to choose between beats nights in Cork. Thursday kicked off with a stirring show by Portishead in The Opera House, when they were far more direct than their televised Glastonbury show the next night. The hall was crammed, the touts were out in force and everyone wished they could have stayed for longer.

Later on in The Half Moon Club, after much lager swilling, Portishead DJ Andy Smith showed us why his 'Document' compilation is no one-off as he shared the decks with Cork's own smoothie Jimmy 'Eyebrows' O'Mahony for a back to back selection of the rarest and the funkiest gems from Jimmy's vast collection. There was much oohing and aahing from Andy as Jimmy showed off his rarities.

Meanwhile, over the corridor at the Half Moon Club, The Plague Monkeys, who you wouldn't expect to be at home playing a dance festival, earned their inclusion on the weekender bill with a laidback groovy set that really worked and opened their music to a crowd would never normally have seen them.

Friday night's visitors of honour were Audioweb who, despite going on stage up against Bass Odyssey, still pulled a great crowd for a set that was audible as far away from The Metropole as the South Mall. As mentioned earlier, Bass Odyssey like nearly everyone from Cork, always keep the gags flowing. Despite their wild stage show in The Half Moon they continued performing off-stage for many a hour, with Alan's hairdresser impersonations scoring highest on the clapometer.

Saturday night's headliners were the Good Looking Records crew - Danny 'LTJ' Bukem, Blame, MC Conrad and MC Drs. They arrived in early to allow Danny Bukem valuable record shopping time. Full Marks to Jimmy 'Eyebrows Alfonso' O'Mahony who not only showed Danny around his own Comet Records on Washington Street but brought us to a great soul & jazz shop called Vibes & Scribes where the only complaint was the staff's dubious taste in speed metal and their insistence on inflicting it upon us. DJ Razor picked up some more soul gems for his Mr. Ray alter ego and Danny walked away smiling with some old records by The Police and Fun Boy Three as well as digging out a few bargains by Boz Scaggs and The Crusaders for me to feast on.

MASSIVE CHEER

The Good Looking Crew's soundcheck was a race against time as it had to be finished in time to do a No Disco interview, a photoshoot and be back at the hotel in time to see the Brazil Vs Chile game. Uaneen Fitzsimons presented the lads with a miniature Book Of Kells which they were so taken by that a celtic influenced album cover may become a reality.

After Brazil's masterful dispatch of Chile, Blame was in flying form as he took the decks from Alan Bass Odyssey and played one of the sets of his life. The Metropole's grand ballroom was hopping by eleven as Blame's staccato style kept everyone fired up. All Danny Bukem had to do was enter the room to raise a massive cheer and his jazzed up set had everyone living it up on the floor until well after the lights went up. Sean from Partisan Record's Deep Blue arrived down at The Metropole raving about the reception he received in The Brog for his funky melodic drum & bass set. Meanwhile The Beta Band were playing a much talked about set over the Half Moon Club, involving lots of instrument swopping and infectious stomping tunes.

Sunday afternoon was filled with the sweet sounds of DJs kicking the crap out of each other (virtually) as they all lined up for the Quadraphonic Playstation Playoff upstairs in Joe Kelly's well luxurious Bodega Bar, slugging their guts out on a beat 'em up called 'Cardinal Syn'. Alan Bass Odyssey was an early casualty when he was well hockeyed by Lindy Layton from Skint Record's Hardknox. Uaneen Fitzsimons, playing video-games for the first time in her life squared up admirably against MC Strict from The Bass Odyssey crew as local TV honcho and former Hot Presser Rachel 'RaRa' Prendergast stormed ahead as an early favourite by swiftly and viciously beating a path to the finals. Both Dominick and Stuart from Calibre dominated the winner's podium by finishing first and third as RaRa was left fuming at second whilst Rory 'No Disco' Cobb had to settle for fourth.

That left just enough time to down our beers before the Weekend's last big blow-out, a three-room affair at the Half Moon Club with Hardknox and Spaceraiders from Skint, Calibre and Razor flying the Quadraphonic flag and good ol' Jimmy 'Eyebrows Alfonso Alexis' O'Mahony appearing. Hardknox were amazing, a real revelation, spinning a mixture that spanned the gaps between house, hip-hop and big-beat wonderfully. Spaceraiders need a bit more time - they feel like Bentley Rhythm Ace Jr. at the moment - so let's wait and see. It's impossible to give an unbiased impression of Calibre, but this show, their Cork debut, rocked.

After four nights of such intense action, sleep in a familiar bed was all we needed. After three different cars broke down on Monday (hi Biggie, Ray & Graham) we finally said goodbye to Bass Odysseyville and made it back home, already looking forward to the next weekender - Dublin in October.

Donal Scannell

 

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