Flannery’s Mounted Head > Foburg – Sugar Club, Dublin (25 March 2007)

Hotel Debussy
The guestbook at this five-star exclusive resort hotel says more that we can about what has made it the must-stay option for visitors to the New City and hard-loving natives alike: former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos, rock star GG Allin, US statesman Henry Kissinger, Khmer Rouge second-in-command Khieu Samphan, the touring cast of Cats, philosopher Roger Scruton, and Irish world champion kick-boxer Seamus O’Siocfhradha have all left glowing comments in the guestbook, and bodily fluids on the ceilings, of this fine establishment, where reproductions of original musical scores from the pen of the famous French composer Claude Debussy (of ‘Jaws’ fame) may be viewed in the numerous alcoves and delicious all-you-can-drink Jacuzzi.

From the store guide of the Foburg Valley website

Is it necessary for me to trawl out the saga of Flannery’s Mounted Head again? Personally I think I’ve covered it enough, but if you really want me describing it you should go here.

I’m told The Sugar Club used to be a ‘gentleman’s cinema club’ showing all the arthouse films that you couldn’t see anywhere else in Ireland. These days it specialises in office parties and pole dancing contests.* There’s a general ambiance of a rushes room somewhere off Wardour Street. As near diametrically opposite a venue to the bingo-ridden church hall of the original performance, but somehow just as fitting.

Cathal Coughlan gives us a little warm up. He plays a short solo set just him at the piano. A handful of songs just as stagerring as the full set previously in Cork. Oh, I could go home happy now. Can there be more? Oh yes.

By the time the first chorus of opener Ophelia Crescent Is Burning soars off, I can feel my innards being grabbed and take with it again. This is what it’s supposed to be like. Still the musicians are superb and the material sublime. It’s as tight as a rally tight thing. and, CC’s unleashed from the piano allowing him to engage full man-possessed mode. Intense. Beautiful. Beautifully intense and intensely beautiful.

The album Foburg, isn’t strictly the album of Flannery’s. Although it does comprise of most of the songs, there are a few omissions. One can only put this down to the practicalities of CD length as they quite easily hold their own next to the other (now) much more familiar material. Also missing is a lot of the short abstract and spoken word ‘linking’ pieces for the work. These have changed a bit since the first performance, but still retain their black surreal humour. It’s kinda like Brazil. Y’know, like if Kafka‘d ever cracked a smile?

I still have no idea what it’s all about. But, we’re certainly on our way hellwise handcart styled. That seagull is still bothering me.

He introduces us to the band, namechecking the visual artist and commissioning folks at Note. “And, I’m a bollocks.” That’s problem with so much music today. No bollocks.

We are left stunned and grinning like loons, while Jeremy Clarkson‘s corpse being ripped to shred by a pack of wild dogs somewhere on the outer edges of the M25. Which is surely great night out in anyone’s money?

*Please note the use of the term “I’m told” in that sentence. I’m pretty certain this is probably untrue, but it suits me to think otherwise at the moment.


Written by Tony Kiernan

03 April 2007 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Gigs

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