August 20, 2014

Brassland @ National Concert Hall of Ireland this December

Dia dhaoibh! We have some news for you and it's completely craic for anyone in the general vicinity of Éire. If you haven't given up on this post already due to confusion, or offense at our half-assed use of Celtic greetings & Irish slang, please read on: Brassland has plotted an event at the National Concert Hall of Ireland (NCH) this December. It's going to be awesome.

The location is Dublin; the dates are December 13 and December 14. On Saturday we'll present a marathon of individually ticketed shows. It kicks off at 3pm with three intimate gigs in their Engineering Library and finishs up that evening with our headliner in the main room:
- 3pm: Crash Ensemble performing the music of Bryce Dessner
- 4:30pm: This is the Kit
- 6:30pm: Buke and Gase
- 8:00pm: Sounds of the South featuring Frazey Ford, Matthew E. White with members of Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull performing music collected by American folklorist Alan Lomax

On Sunday, comes the European debut of Doveman's Burgundy Stain Sessions featuring:
- Glen Hansard (Swell Season, Once, The Frames)
- Paul Noonan (Bell X-1)
- Lisa O'Neill
We'll add more guests and sidepersons to this post as we confirm them.

You can BUY TICKETS right now. Or check this video playlist if you want a preview of what's in store.

Note that the lead video includes Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), the dulcet-toned dude who co-founded the Sounds of the South project; however, he will not be part of our weekend. We're sad about that. We're also sad to report that the inspiration for the SoS project — song collector Alan Lomax — will not make an appearance. (Lomax passed away in 2002, so it's not like anyone was expecting him.) Point being, the amazing music that inspired both Vernon & Lomax will be in full effect. So it's all good.

We know what you're thinking: Brassland has done events at Australia's Adelaide Festival & Germany's Haldern Pop. But the National Concert Hall? -- that sounds like quite an upgrade! And you probably have other important questions: Do they serve beer at NCH? (Or, well, at least Guinness?) How about veggie burgers, and light bites featuring kale? (Actually, we're not sure if Ireland does kale. Sorry Brooklyn!) For the record, we have already confirmed NCH serves drinks. We'll work out some food recommendations closer in.

Now for the other whys & hows: About a year ago we began a conversation with our longtime acquaintance Gary Sheehan—NCH's head of programming—about a weekend of concerts that would plot the common ground between the hall's new Perspectives series and the music associated with the Brassland label.

We decided the crossover is a place where folk, classical and alternative rock traditions meet in unexpected ways without getting bogged down in either classical music conventions or folksie informality. Together, we plotted a weekend that focused on musicians whom, on the surface, seem to be do one thing really well, but actually do an entirely other thing just as well. I.e. A rock guitarist who writes composed music for strings & things (i.e. The National's Bryce Dessner); alternative rock & folk groups whose music sounds unusually well-composed (Buke and Gase, This is the Kit); and, of course, the two main stage concerts which treat 20th century vernacular song with the respect & attention usually reserved for 18th century German dudes in powdered wigs. In a roundabout way, we're trying to show how the song-based traditions of Ireland & Scotland deserve just as much respect.

Too much explanation, you say? Well, here's a trailer for what looks to be a sweet ass Alan Lomax documentary about America's "patchwork culture" derived, in this case, from Irish, Scottish & British tradition:

(If you're hooked, watch the doc in full right here)

In a less genealogical sense, we think it's self-evident that there's a commonality between the poise & chops that Doveman brings to the singer-songwriter tradition; the intensity and virtuosic-ish-ness of Buke and Gase's take on post-punk; and the way the Sounds of the South and This is the Kit find, in folk music, the same aesthetic aspirations & deep insights into human potential that others find only in composed music. And, of course, the connections between the artists playing our weekend, Ireland and The National's extended family tree shouldn't go unmentioned. For a catch up, check out The Irish Times' recent oral history on The National's decade of memorable concerts in the country — or, heck, just look at this gift box which "The U2ers" had delivered to the boys from Cinci backstage in Dublin last month.

Does that answer the question about if there'll be drinks? Did that last quip just lose Doveman a shot at getting Bono to sing a tune with him? (No worries! We're holding out for Sinead, cause she's the boss.)

Anyhoo, the NCH has prepared a press release explaining the weekend right here. Forward that link to any friends who might find Brassland-dot-org style news stories to be overly chatty and rambling.

Go ahead, read up at that other site.



Okay now that you're back, a special thanks Mr. Gary Sheehan who we've known since the early '00s when he was a show promoter interested in the cross-genre explorations of our artists Clogs and Erik Friedlander. It's been nice reconnecting with him a ways down the road.

Hopefully, Brassland's December weekend in Dublin will become part of our story & your story, very soon...

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