“Music borrowed from the savages of Africa by the anti-God society, with the object of destroying morals and religion” – (Father Peter Conefrey, 1934)
The ‘Down with Jazz’ festival is an event that pokes fun at priest who tried to stamp out the evil scourge of Jazz, during the 1930’s in Ireland. It’s depressing that anyone thought they stop a form of music, so it’s good to remember where we came from, and celebrate it once a year through dance and song! Meeting House Square is a lovely venue when seated, and with Oysters and Mexican food stalls as well as the bar, it was all very civilised!
The bands on Saturday (31-05-14) were a mixed bag, and by their own admissions, not always jazz. They were a collection of talented musicians, performing a variety of diverse sounds, which is all you can ask from a festival line up. The one true jazz band that played on the night were the Tommy Halferty Trio who opened the evening with some standards and their own music. The three piece have Guitar, Double Bass and Drums and were a nice way to ease the audience in.
Next up was an abrupt step sideways with OKO, a band that do things a little bit differently. They mix traditional instruments with a DJ in the form of DJackulate to create an individual edge. They are a four piece, focusing on guitar, keyboard, decks and drums, and improvise over known skeletons of music. There are hints of krautrock and free jazz and they draw from a wide musical spectrum.
Seeing DFF was like a return of old friends! We featured one of their gigs recently here. They are a super group of sorts, and are fronted by the talents of Dave Flynn, Vyvienne Long and Niwel Tsumbu. They were a seven piece on the night, and their sound is varied, dabbling in African beats, pop and funk and many worlds inbetween.
The surprise of the night were Booka Brass Band who really captured the imagination and had the audience up off their seats (a difficult task at the best of times). Brass sections can really blast it out, and this young crew gave a dynamic performance that featured a number of their own songs but also some crowd pleasers, with a cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’ living long in the mind.
The Alarmist ended the evening, taking to the stage at around midnight. They are a four piece from Dublin who play a blend of experimental rock that draws from electronica and jazz to make some interesting soundscapes. It’s they type of music where you just don’t want the songs to end, as they find infectious grooves and work them to a conclusion.
We can only hope that Father Conefrey would have enjoyed the evening he inspired!