Chant! Chant! Chant!
Dublin 1980 - 1982
Eoin Freeney Vocals
Robbie Wogan Guitar
Larry Murphy Bass
Paul Monahan Drums
26/07/1980 Project Arts Centre, Dublin with Moondogs, Nun Attax Hot Press Review by Liam Mackey Chant! Chant! Chant! Offer glimpses of what the embryonic Talking Heads must have been like struggling to create coherent music out of all those bubbling, half realised ideas in a New York loft way back when. They’ve got something of the dark pulse of Joy Division too and their methodology – songs constructed around the startling bass runs of Larry Murphy – has a precedent in the work of the Public Image chaps.Murphy’s bass is the cornerstone of the music and he handles the responsibility with pointed assurance. Moving, pumping, imaginative bass lines flow out of him and through the instrument like the two were one. The rest of Chant! Chant! Chant! Don’t as yet match his input. The guitar is wildly inconsistent by turns numbing and complementary while the drummer is a mite arthritic, at one point causing an observer to comment that he appeared only to have one hand. And vocally, they might have their most difficult problems to iron out. Yet it must mean something that despite all the deficiencies, Chant! Chant! Chant! Are capable of moments of genuine excellence – “Still Life Portrait” and “Change The Scene” stick in the mind. Watching them grow will be one of the more interesting activities over the coming months.
And then....... and then there was Nun Attax. Weirdness, insanity and true stardom all the way from Cork city. Forget Geldof, forget Sting, the ace face for 1980 is one Donnelly, lead vocalist and spiritual lynchpin of Nun Attax. A rare sausage, Donnelly transfixed an audience who didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or dial 999. Facially, simian is the most pertinent term that comes to mind, and Donnelly’s uh, gestures heighten the effect. Prancing around the stage, arms flapping, eyes rolling and bulging, his voice alternating between vintage Rotten whine and unintelligible garble, Donnelly rules supreme. I particularly liked the bit where he tried to swallow the mike while his D.I.Y. hair dye trickled down the side of his face like blood. I’ve never witnessed an exorcism but I’d imagine it’s pretty minor league stuff compared to this.
Nun Attax’s flinty cracked music seems designed primarily to irritate and I hope I don’t offend them when I say that I liked some of it and was particularly struck by “Eyeballs”.
12/08/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin with 19:91, Low
Tonight was the first time I’ve seen all three bands so that these are initial impressions only.
Broken Doll under the influence of Joy Division, play slowed down punk. To be fair, a couple of their songs do show dist promise but the mix was so bad that the lyrics were indecipherable. With experience, they’ll be worth watching.
The End wear leather jackets and play pop songs. It’s not that I’ma hippie in disguise, but the lack of one lead line all night from Cormac Wright meant that the sound did get a little tedious. Lynott is the best bass player in the band – and I’m sure if I heard their songs frequently enough, I’d call them infectious, but I probably won’t allow myself that dubious pleasure.
Chant Chant Chant are very good. Bass player Larry Murphy is the star of the show – and I tend to like the sound of bass oriented groups. His playing is quirky and subtle, without ever losing the basic rhythm drive. Guitarist Robbie Wogan plays psychotic choppy chords and fluidy, slippery lead lines. Unfortunately, the weak link is drummer Mono, who seldom deviates from a bass drum/hi hat/snare rhythm, and seems to have difficulty hitting a snare properly. It’s a pity because if Murphy were paired with a sharp drummer, the band could develop on the syncopation intrinsic to his playing. Finally singer Eoin Freeney has a limited range but uses it well.
The only criticism is that because the band’s songs seem to be written around the bass lines, the sound becomes a little repetitive after a while. Still, time should heel these wounds.
I’d go and see them again.
Des Traynor Hot Press
Vaguely experimental bands can be counted on one hand – D.C. Nien, Modern Heirs, The Dormant Prunes, Tell Tale Heart and Human Dance Faction.............. and now these two, the Assassins and Chant! Chant! Chant! The occasion is this “experimental” gig, which financially is a disaster – but bully for Chant! For trying.
Chant! Chant! Chant! Are exciting – the most refreshingly different band to emerge for a long time. Drummer Mono and bassist Larry Murphy are ex-members of the Threat, a band frontman Eoin used to manage, but all links with that band should be forgotten, as CCC Music is far removed. Chant! Music is the result of the collected works of Joy Division, the Cure, Public Image Limited, Magazine and the Banshees being thrown in a liquidiser and mixed for 5 second. What emerges is a joyous pastiche of brittle shattering guitar of the Banshees, Jah Wobble meets Joy Division on bas, while the other two compliment the cacophony. The guitars make some fantastic sounds - don’t come late to a Chant! Gig, because the instrumental intro is incredible! I’m still trying to think of a better bass player doing the rounds at the moment, while guitarist Robbie coaxes some beautiful noises from his guitar, in between dropping plectrums and breaking strings.
Their newly recorded demo tape contains four songs, all of which were featured tonight – “Do You Know?, Waiting In The Woods”, “Still Life Portrait” and Enter The Trance”. I haven’t been as excited by a local band like this in ages – possibilities abound.
They’re still very young, and their true potential won’t emerge for a few months yet, although a clue is to be found in their best song, “The Grand Illusion Is Shattered”, The talent is there – so is the guts, bravery and drive to take on the city’s establishment (Punk HM etc) – playing stuff nobody else is touching, bravely taking on gigs like this.
20/09/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin with Broken Doll
03/10/1980 Trinity College, Dublin with 4 B 2's. John Lydon was was at this gig to see his brothers band.
Hot Press review by Ross Fitzsimons The night was well ruined by senseless violence, stupidly fuelled in part by some of the participants in the 4 be 2 merry go round. But more of that later.........I got into the JCR as Chant! Chant! Chant! Were kick off proceedings. They’re a four piece – a sharp precise drummer whose playing meshes almost perfectly with that of the elastic bassman, the vocalist has a commanding stage presence and a strong voice – which was so badly mixed I couldn't decipher the lyrics – but where it didn’t click on the night was with the guitarist. He’s good, bloody good at times, but for much of the gig he was mixed too loud, was naggingly slightly out of tune much of the time, and often leaves little or no space in the sound, something which would improve the band no end.
As yet the whole seems less than the sum of the parts, although what Chant! Do play marks them out as one of the best bands in Dublin at the moment. Jock McDonald told us they were “better than fucking U2 anyway”. Not on this showing, mate, but the pride of Lipton Village may yet have to look to their laurels.
15/10/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin with Rhythm Boys
18/10/1980 Dowtown Kampus, Cork with The Fall, Micro Disney
11/11/1980 Project Arts Centre, Dublin with The Radiators
15/11/1980 Boddis, Magnet Bar, Dublin with Big Self, Eliot Ness & The Untouchables
08/12/1980 The Stardust with The Blades
15/12/1980 The Belfield Bar, UCD
17/12/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin with The Blades This is a charity concert, the price of entry is a toy.
03/01/1981 Boddis, Magnet Bar, Dublin with Broken Doll
24/04/1981 Gaff Club, Limerick. Bands were paid £40 per gig plus B&B.
25/04/1981 Gaff Club, Limerick
A public birthday party costing a mere quid was a great idea, but it didn’t feel like a party and it definitely didn’t feel like a gig. McGonagles was to blame of course, but then it was the only option – a savage indictment of the city elders.
Yet more venues have been STOLEN from us recently. The closing the stable door after the horse has bolted syndrome is widespread since the Stardust tragedy, and the only ones who suffer, as in the Stardust, are the young. Why should we pay for their mistakes?
The New Versions played their first gig in nine months, but that gestation period hasn’t resulted in a fresh start. The not so New Versions played a short set of seven songs, including their soon to be released “Like Gordon Of Khartoum”. More than interesting at times, overall the N.V. sound is still a bit stodgy; they want to be XTC, but sound like The Stranglers. Still, for their first gig in almost a year, they were good.
The End, with Chant! Chant! Chant!, are spoken of in all the right circles as Dublin’s Next Big Things. Tonight The End were forging ahead despite the fact that this was their first gig with new bassist Finbar O’Riordan. Their excellent Fanning session was even better than their much praised demo tape. Highlights of the set were “Reguge” and “Something Somewhere (Here We Go)”, as well as the projected Scoff LP tract “Picture Postcard”.
After a brief set from Stuart of Alternative Cabaret, a Scots comedian who didn’t appeal to some of the rowdier elements, we were treated to the first public appearance of The Last Hurrah.
Featuring three ex Epidemix and the lady of the hour herself, they played for but ten short minutes. Besides Epidemix vocalist Paul (now on sax) and guitarist Colin (now on bass), the line up included another guitarist and a keyboard person. They played two originals, and “Lets dance” Billie possesses a fine voice, and combined with some beefy sax, was the highlight.
And then Chant! Chant! Chant! OK, it was a party, but I still don’t agree with 50% of the band staggering on stage in a stupor and dragging the other two down for the whole gig. Their playing was atrocious, and so was the sound, but bassist Larry did his best to pull it together – losing a tooth along the way!!
The new songs couldn’t be evaluated on this performance, but hopefully we’ll get the chance soon.
Thanks Billie! Happy birthday!
Where are they now?
At this time I have no information on what the band members are doing now.
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