Galway Advertiser 1992/1992_10_08/GA_08101992_E1_022.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 1992/1992_10_08/GA_08101992_E1_022.pdf

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Last week The Sawdoctors finally released "All the Way From Tuam" the follow-up to their phenomenally successful debut "If This Is Rock and Roll, I Want My Old Job Back". It is, in terms of the hoary old music cliche, that "difficult second album". More difficult in the case of the Sawdoctors, perhaps, than some other bands. So what's it like?
The Saw Doctor's story has been one of almost astonishing success against the odds. Initially (and pro bably still) despised as hicks by the " h e a v y " musicpress, they won their huge following first of all among the very country crowd these (mainly) Dublin critics already held in scorn. " I Useta L o v e r " ? A fluke, they said. " N 1 7 " ? Well, you see, it was carried on the back of the first one. The album? Ah...well, you've got to admit, they're a great live band, if you like that sort of thing. Finally, even Dave Fanning capitulated and The Sawdoctors became national icons. The appeal of The Saw Doctors has been discussed endlessly over the last year o r so. Certainly their or dinariness has a lot to do with it, as does their jokey, unpretentious approach to the whole music business. Add that some of their lyrics capture with uncanny skill the actual " f e e l " of rural Ireland about as well as Irish songsmiths ever have, and that they're all very good musicians, and you've pro bably gone quite a way to explaining why they've done so well. But now they've got a record deal with Warners (big time stuff) and they're older too (experience replac ing innocence, perhaps?). And there's no way that any band can sustain the kind of enormous and mostly un critical adulation they've received for ever. I'm talk ing about their real fan base, not the Dublin critics who, in any case, are waiting for the bubble to burst, so they can repeat the mantra, " W e told you s o " . So what's the new release like? Let's not beat about the bush. " A l l The Way From T u a m " is good stuff, no question about that. With songs like "Sixties Still" and " H a y W r a p " and " F . C . A . " , they continue to mine the vein t h e y ' v e already tapped with " I Useta L o v e r " and " N 1 7 " . "Never Mind The Stranger" and the majestic "Green & Red of M a y o " build on the anthemic strain of songs like " i Hope You Meet A g a i n " . And the title t r a c k is a p u g n a c i o u s declaration of their roots. i n g " and "Midnight Ex p r e s s " . For here The Saw Doctors begin to move away from what you might call the "rollicking" style of " I Useta L o v e r " into the realms of the well-crafted pop song. And they do it very well. But that's maybe where the problem lies. They're in danger of being trapped by their own success doing one kind of thing and doing it well. For some of their fans, The Saw Doctors could go on re-writing " I Useta Lover'' until the cows come home. And it was interesting to see the reaction when they - unwisely, I think - decid ed to put " Y v o n n e " up against "Pied P i p e r " in a popularity poll. Okay, it was c l o s e at the e n d . But " Y v o n n e " was, and is, a much better and more in teresting song. And they should have released without any apologies. it

But the most interesting tracks are those like "Music I L o v e " , " Y v o n n e " and, especially, "Exhilarating Sadness", plus the two new tracks, " W a k e Up Sleep

"All The Way From T u a m " will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes. But for those who've followed the band for the last few years and seen the way they've matured in their songwriting and approach to music, it may be a wee bit of a disap pointment. And I say this as a fan. In some ways, "All The Way From T u a m " is more like " I f This Is Rock And R o c k . . . " , Part T w o " , a transition album (the fact that a good few of the songs have been part of the band's gig list for the last year or so adds to this impression). That " d i f f i c u l t second a l b u m " still waits down the road. P.T.

Many people have difficulty in experiencing imageless or what's usually referred to as " a b s t r a c t " , "nonfigurative" or "non-objective" art. What is it supposed to mean?, they ask. The lack of an immediate answer to such questions causes further frustration and sometimes even hostility. Well, there was never any work of art without meaning. Even the most geometrical and decorative painting is about a certain love of colour/shape relation ship. And there has never been an " i m a g e l e s s " painting, only images that look like things and those that don't. The work by Mike Fitzharris and Oisin Breatnach, currently on show at The Arts Centre Gallery until 24 October, is essentially nonrepresentational but certain ly not " i m a g e l e s s " . Both artists have been deeply af fected by certain life ex periences and their paintings and collages clearly reflect their responses to these ex periences in a direct and visually appealing manner. Mike Fitzharris is in terested in the small "visual e v e n t s " that occur within a neutral but still active space - as in the way that the neutral sand of a long beach or wide desert can sudden ly come alive when we unexpectedly come across some attractive stone or fragment that catches our eye. In his painting titled " S e a s c a p e " , for example, we see a large area covered with a simple blue wash which is relieved by small by highly effective smudges, marks and flecks of pure colour. In other works such as "Travelled P a t h " and "Ancient E c h o e s " , he uses the rich and subtle dark tones of actual pieces of slate for his painting sur face. The " m e a n i n g " of such works as these rests in an individual's creative response to his or her own visual experience. Oisin Breatnach's work is d e c e p t i v e l y uneventful, while being concerned with the building up of brooding textures. These are created by the use of acrylic paints, glue, ink and the addition of torn fragments of newsprint. Upon closer inspection of such pieces as "Bookburn i n " and " B l i n k e r s " , we discover that the actual pieces of newsprint he uses are, in fact, taken from writing relating to the Irish Republican Movement. This then takes us across into areas of meaning relating to censorship and ideology that go way beyond an initial perception of these works as purely abstract studies in texture and form relationship. This exhibition, as with all the recent shows in the Arts Centre Gallery, gives us the welcome opportunity to experience the recent work of important contem porary Irish artists.. Praise and appreciation is due to Michael Diskin, the Direc tor of the Arts Centre, whose unerring taste and eye for q u a l i t y and seriousness in the visual arts has been Galway's gain.

T h e n e w play by Vincent Woods, c o m m i s s i o n e d by Druid for its 100th production, is strange and adverturous by any standards. "At T h e Black Pig's D y k e " could b e subtitled "Revenge" as w e are reminded s o many times throughout the play that "revenge is an endless road." In the L e i t r t m / F e r - the yarn out of which the all give nice performances managh border where the theme of the play itself is while Frankie McCafferty action of the play takes woven, In sad but beautiful and D e i r d e Keane are place, the unhappy revenge lines, she reflects, " I t was marvellous and do much to of yesterday coincides with a long time ago - when peo counterbalance the more the cyclic nature of events at ple sang songs at wakes and sombre dimension of the the present d a y . Colm cried when a child was bom. play. Toibin, who's well-qualified when the dead made shrouds As always with her sets to speak, emphasises this in for the living." The lines for Druid. Monica Frawley his p r o g r a m m e notes: herald the despair and w o r k s wonders, ably ' 'That's all it takes for them anguish destined for those assisted by very effective to ccme in and get you. Now it's called freedom caught in the warp and weft lighting from Stephen MacManus. fighting, but it's always of revenge. " A t The Black Pig's " A t The Black Pig's been there, the group thing, the boys going out at night D y k e " is a p o w e r f u l D y k e " , Druid's 100th pro theatrical e x p e r i e n c e , duction, continues the high for a bit of a j o b . " although at times the pace is standard Galway's interna Behind the facade of the rather too slow. It's a dif tionally acclaimed company wren-boys or the mummers ficult play to stage by any has maintained over the that we recall from other standards as one has to bring years. As so many times in days, is that sinister side. so much together. Yet the past, their adventurous Lurking behind the colour Maeliosa Stafford succeeds spirit is very evident in this and the music and the mask admirably in balancing the challenging and thoughtis the pain and tragedy of the sombre and the lighter sides provoking play. accomplices. It is not by of the play. an tSiur Ailbhe chance that one of the mum Ray McBride a s Captain mers is named Beelzebub, a and as name that in itself explains M u m m e r the truly fiendish side of the Choreographer, with his awful acts of revenge that Galway accent more pro nounced than that other Nor run through this play. The Scottish poet Hugh thern one, is very good. And The plot takes time, to un McMillan will be reading he is helped along by Bren told, moving as it does in from his work on Tuesday, dan O ' Reagan and Cora and out of time, backwards the 13th of October, at 8 . 3 0 Smyth. Diane O'Kelly plays and forewarns. As the play p . m . . in t h e L a r m o r her three parts with great o p e n s w e s e e Stella Theatre. UCG. poignancy. Meanwhile McClusker. as Lizzie Boies, Brendan Laird. P e t e r All are welcome and admis beside the cradle, spinning Cowan and David Wilmot sion is free.

As promised last week, " T h a t ' s Entertainment" has got a really super competition in connection with The Stunning. We've got a package deal that includes T W O TICKETS for The Stunning's SFX gig on October 31st, T W O RETURN TRAIN TICKETS from Galway to Dublin, and A C C O M M O D A T I O N FOR T W O in Bloom's Hotel! T o be in the running for this fabulous competition all w e ' r e asking you to tell us is: What was the B-Side of the single release "Everything That Rises"? Put your answer on a card and address it to: Galway Adver tiser SFX Stunning Competition and either post it to the Galway Advertiser office, 2 - 3 Church Lane, or leave it in by hand, before October 20th. We'll be pick ing the winning entry on that day and we'll contact the lucky winner(s) immediately the draw is made.



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 Galway Advertiser 1992 / 1992_10_08