There’s been a debate going on recently, spawned by this article, about whether right now is some sort of golden age for Irish music, particularly with respect to the independent side of things. I’m not all that convinced by this. There has always been a pretty vibrant DIY scene – the difference is that in the last few years more and more bands have decided that putting out your own music is a viable way of doing things, and more and more media outlets have realised that this is something worth supporting. However, more music being produced and more people writing about it, does not mean all of it, or even any of it, is any good. I still hear a lot of generic sounding stuff that seems to be aping whatever is fashionable with the music publications and blogs at the moment. The real test will be whether there are bands and artists original and talented enough to create music that we will still be listening to in five years time, and that we won’t have simply forgotten about.
A case in point though is Adebisi Shank. I am pretty sure that I won’t be saying “Adebisi who?” in five years time. I first saw them two years ago at a festival down in Wexford that my own band was playing at as well. They were really good then, but in the two years since then that its taken me to catch them a second time, they have really kicked the whole thing up another level. They’ve augmented their sound with all sorts of samples and loops, and have managed to incorporate this into their live setup without losing the frenetic manic intensity that made them so compelling in the first place. Where once they were just an exceptionally talented post-hardcore instrumental rock group, now they are something else entirely. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it is completely original, and it is completely great.
The photograph above was taken in Whelans on the 23rd of October. A few weeks previously, at the launch of their new album, which is helpfully titled This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank, they sparked a near riot, with ecstatic punters invading the stage (this is brilliantly described here). I wasn’t able to go that night, which was a pity, because I would love to see what a stage invasion looks like on a five minute exposure. Unfortunately there was no such hi-jinks this time around. Adebisi were supporting US band Maps & Atlases, so they were on early, and playing a short set to a half-full venue. They were still phenomenal though.
The picture is a four minute exposure. I have been looking forward to photographing Adebisi for a while now as I wanted to see whether their constant movement around the stage would cause them to disappear completely. It almost does. There are no feet visible as they don’t stand still. There are no microphones or keyboards to anchor their faces or hands in place. However, someone’s camera flash has momentarily frozen the guitarist and the masked bass player as they turn towards the drummer. I love it when that happens.
The track below is called International Dreamboat and is the first track on the aforementioned second album. You can buy it from The Richter Collective. Adebisi Shank will play the Button Factory in Dublin on November 20th 2010. Who knows, there might be another stage invasion.