niallon – Dancing In The Dark

I’ve well and truly run out of ways to describe my obsession with the music of Bruce Springsteen by now. For me, he and the E Street Band are the music. The music that popped up in my life at a time that I needed something to, that I needed something to point me in a direction. It’s my get hyped music, my comedown music, my inspirational music and of course the “Jesus will this hangover ever go away music”. I do feel a slightly stronger connection to it too, namely the New Jersey factor. My uncle Michael emigrated to the States many years ago as so many did and so many still do. He settled in New Jersey, married and started a family. He worked his hands to the bone, made a great life for himself and I think if I tried for the rest of my life, I’d never find someone with a bad word to say about him. Every time I have been to the US has been to New Jersey. I’ve seen other places on those trips, but it has always been New Jersey with Michael, my aunt and cousin and more that was the base station. We’ve had some amazing trips there, the most memorable of which for me was when Michael took me down to Asbury Park. It was my Graceland, seeing where it all started. Standing outside The Stone Pony where The Boss got started out many years before. Walking the shore, taking in the sights so vividly described in “Sandy” and other tracks. Memories like that mean that Springsteen’s music runs much deeper than the surface layer for me, incorporating history and family and blood.

Michael passed away just over two years ago. In my life I’ve always had a steady nine to five and been a musician on the side. 2015 brought about a lot of change. I quit my job, started a new one that I far more enjoyed, and most importantly I rediscovered music. We started, myself and Peter, in earnest to make something of this YouTube project. What the ultimate goal is, we aren’t all that sure. What we do know is that we love doing what we do.

He wasn’t a hard core Springsteen fan, nor had we ever much discussed music at all to be honest, but I can’t help but connect Springsteen back to New Jersey, back to Michael, which leads to interpretations like this one. On the one hand, I do sometimes feel a little bad taking these upbeat poppy tracks like “Read My Mind”, “Toca’s Miracle” and “Mr Brightside” and completely flipping them on their head, turning them into melancholic trods through deep thought and lyrical meaning. On the other hand, to me there are always real songs hiding behind the synth and pop. “Dancing In The Dark” to me is a perfect pop song with an insanely catchy hook, but it’s also a song that encapsulates loneliness, isolation and pure desperation. Sometimes, in Ireland in particular, we don’t like to admit when things are shit. We’d sooner ‘keep calm and carry on’ rather than tell someone we’re having a tough time. The origins of this track lie in Springsteen being pressured to write a hit. I feel it reaches beyond that specific territory though. To me, this song speaks for all of us being asked to work outside of our comfort zone, being asked to be someone we’re not and most importantly, being asked to betray ourselves. If we’ve managed to convey even a tenth of that in this version, I’ll be happy. As always watch, like, share, subscribe.

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niallon – Fire

This one is a bit of a coincidence, solidarity with Bruce and all that. No this was just another one of the remakes, the original upload of Fire being one of our more popular ones, and we decided to drag it kicking and screaming out of the black and white mullet days into a more presentable HD world. Then North Carolina and HB2 happened. I’m not going to pontificate, much, on this situation but suffice to say there has been an attempt made by a government organization to alienate and segregate members of the LGBT community and any opposition of that is a cause I can always get behind. My favourite musician gets behind it with a grand show of power? I’m there in a heartbeat. Bruce Springsteen has never been one to hold his tongue, whether he is letting his thoughts be known when a presidential candidate uses his music against his wishes, speaking out against immoral government practices or simply the state of his homeland he holds so dearly. To have him cancel his scheduled concert in North Carolina, and in turn find many other artists shining a spotlight on the HB2 passing, has been greeted by mixed reactions from the public. I, for one, will gladly say that if he had cancelled the two Dublin gigs next month, I’d be pissed. But I would understand and relate and ultimately, should these cancellations lead to the right result, I would be happy. It’s the 21st century, it’s time to realise there are no “normal” people and there is no one true model that humanity should conform to biologically. In Ireland in particular we made a massive leap last year, a leap I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Let’s let that not be the only one.

But enough of my soap boxing, here’s our latest for this week, Bruce Springsteen’s Fire. 

niallon – Thunder Road

Sometimes you practice the hell out of a song and still fluff a chord or two, but then you decide to cover a song on the fly and realise early in that you don’t know it at all! A song that needs no introduction, from Bruce Springsteen’s seminal 1978 album Born To Run, Thunder Road is, to me anyway, the embodiment of what The Boss is all about. A cool summer’s evening in New Jersey, deadbeats, blue collars and wastelands all around, but the small few who might dare to dream of finding another way, a different path, want their voice to be heard. Or something like that! Watch, like, share, repeat!

Live In Concert – The Gaslight Anthem, Olympia Theatre, 2010

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Back in 09 a buddy pointed out a band to me in Rolling Stone. They were from New Jersey, they played in a punk rock fashion and one of their songs directly lifted/referenced Bruce Springsteen lyrics. ‘Nuff said, I was interested. What followed from there was me well and truly developing an obsession with Gaslight that has remained solid to today, and with them playing here in a few months what better time than now to look back at when I first saw them.

Continue reading Live In Concert – The Gaslight Anthem, Olympia Theatre, 2010

Springsteen Set For Croke Park

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As an avid Bruce Springsteen fan and as the proud owner of an unused Garth Brooks ticket it’s hard to respond to this news with anything but at least mild trepidation; but all signs indicate that Bruce Springsteen is set to play two nights in Croke Park this coming summer. Continue reading Springsteen Set For Croke Park

Live In Concert – Bruce Springsteen, RDS, 2008

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Seven years ago, my life changed. Not some personal epiphany or near death experience; I got a new soundtrack. I actually can’t remember what specific song or moment it was that turned me onto Springsteen, I’m thinking it was “The River”, but what I do remember is that not since Tom Waits had I known so instantaneously that an artist’s music fit so perfectly in with my styles, though I don’t think even then I could have foreseen the fanatic I would become.

Continue reading Live In Concert – Bruce Springsteen, RDS, 2008

Dublin Grooves To Jake Clemons

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Dual blogged on Irish News Review

Rarely I go to a gig entirely oblivious to the music of whichever artist I go to see. I’ll usually at least know their biggest hit. But when said artist is the sax player in my all time favourite band, good faith alone sees me buying a ticket, and I’m glad I did. Continue reading Dublin Grooves To Jake Clemons