Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Digital Socket Awards

Cast of Cheers, Adebisi Shank and Villagers were the big winners at the first annual Digital Socket Awards in The Grand Social last night with each picking up several awards. Other winners included Solar Bears (Best Hip Hop) Cathy Davey (Best Pop) and And So I Watch You From Afar (Best EP). Performances on the night came from Groom, Meljoann and Ham Sandwich.  Perhaps controversially none of the performing acts won an award on the night.

The biggest talking point however was the comedy stylings of MC Garreth Stack whose brand of comedy offended many nominees with good reason, mostly because his curt witticisms where so close to the bone that undoubtedly, many of them where in fact true.  His attempt to do a "Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes" worked perfectly as he too was lucky to leave alive. Ham Sandwich, who received most of the Stack's diatribes-to their credit-took it on the chin with a smile, in public at least.

Nay McArdle from Harmless Noise kicked of the night by introducing Groom a groovy genre splitting seven piece band. Their music is lively and multifaceted with continuous mood swings. They are influenced by Elvis Costello, Blur, Neil Young and Ben Folds' Five with a dose of Morricone on the side. Their songs are more like movements from a classic piece than singularities. They bleed into one another, the last note from one song, being the first note from the next. The Hispanic rockabilly of "Doorways" and the clippity-clop percussion of single "Golden Age" the undoubted highlights of their set. A heavily out of key vocal, on an otherwise excellent cover of Wings "Jet" However, was an unfortunate moment of mediocrity for Groom.

The first award of the night was Best EP received by And So I watch You From Afar next up Aoife from Sweet Oblivion presented a rather drunk Cast of Cheers with Best Indie act. While Nialler9 presented Best Design to Adebisi Shank.  Stephen from 4fortyfour delivered the best introduction to an award of the evening before present Best Newcomer to Cast of Cheers. Mike from Drop D presented Adebisi Shank with Best Rock, their second award of the night.

Then Meljoann took to the stage and made me want to die!!! For the first five minutes I thought her act was a joke or some form of electronica take on Spinal Tap and I was waiting for a punchline to walk onto stage. But then, much to my dismay I realised she was deadly serious. Meljoann is the worst thing to happen to dance music since Kevin & Perry sampled their parents love making. There is no interaction or attempts at interaction between her and the crowd.  She nervously mumbles her inaudible lines, always looking at the ground while her band mate hides behind the stage curtain. The beats are plodding repetitive and mind numbingly boring.

At this point I choose to stare at Neil Hannon, who was sat with his arms crossed angrily, staring at the floor trying to block it all out. I tried to use telepathy to get Neil Hannon to come over and punch me, which would surely make this all stop, but alas no luck. Neil Hannon and I however, were not alone in our disdain for Meljoann's disjointed, stream of consciousness, basic beat, electronica. Is it really to much to expect a chorus?

There was an en mass exodus to the bar and the smoking area. 5 people in lone-wolfpacks at the front of the room were enjoying this performance.  I counted them twice, just to make sure nobody was having an epileptic fit. It's not often that you hear something that's only fit for a torture chamber. George Bush would have relished a weapon like this.

Followed the musical travesty the night thankfully got back to the awards Chris from AU Magazine presented Best Video to The Ambiance Affair. Carl from Those Geese Were Stupefied presented Best Pop to Cathy Davey, much to the pleasure of the onlooking Neil Hannon. Nay from Harmless Noise returned to the stage to present Best Photographer to Loreanna Rushe. Villagers won their first award of the night for Best Folk. Golden Plec's, Vanessa Monaghan presented a chuffed Donal Dineen with Best Radio for the Small Hours. Solar Bears received the award for Best Hip Hop before RTE presented Cast of Cheers with the Outstanding Award 2010.

Unsurprisingly Garreth Stack was otherwise engaged when Ham Sandwich took to the stage, for a mostly emphatic point proving performance. Niamh looked extremely sexy in a figure-hugging white dress with black polka dots she controled the stage, her voice a cross between Deborah Harry and Sonya Aurora Madan. Ham Sandwich are at there best when they unleash the unison vocals of Podge and Niamh and the songs are driven by dirty distorted guitars. And at their worst with the limp politeness of The Naturist.  New single Ants  and The Fog were amongst the highlights of their set. Of course it wouldn't be a Ham Sandwich gig without a comedy moment delivered by Podge. This came when he called on the crowd to "unleash" their "inner gorilla" 

The night concluded with the final 3 awards. Unsurprisingly, due to the number of nominations their acts received for tonight's awards Richter Collective won Best Label. Their marquee act Adebisi Shank won Best Album and last but not least Villagers won Best Song for The Meaning of the Ritual.


Anonymous said...

Why take the Meljoann stuff out of the other review? It's word for word bar the Meljoann stuff left out. Pretty over the top stuff here.

linda said...

I wish i could look at Neil Hannon's face to tell me how to feel about things

Anonymous said...

Yeah I was there with a friend who recommended Meljoann to me and I wasn't too impressed at all...... touching the nerve of a cosy scene are we?

Anonymous said...

Your over use of bold fonts makes me want to scream at children.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Holy shit. That's a hell of a melodramatically over-the-top, harsh review of Meljoann's performance. Baffled and disturbed to read this from any self-styled music writer, it shows an appalling lack of rationale and restraint.