dEUS at Tripod on Monday night were ridiculously good, playing with such power and skill that I felt both sickened and highly relieved that bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers sell out stadiums at massively inflated prices, whilst groups as good as this one have to toil away in pub-sized venues, charging 25 euro a head.
Still, the tiny venue definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the gig and it was great to be able to go right up to the front without being trampled on or suffocated. My only gripe was that they threw in Instant Street as their second song, before the crowd were really warmed up enough to enjoy it properly. The crowd seemed to be of a similar demographic to me, with most people a little too world-weary or self-conscious to throw themselves fully into jumping around or singing along. My neck hurt viciously the next day and it took me a while to realise that this was a result of some very enthusiastic head-nodding on my part. The band also had the decency to close their set on another of my all-time favourites. So thank you, dEUS, for the Roses.
Tuesday brought me to the Amnesty International Duke Special vs Divine Comedy gig, accompanied by bloggers of all shapes and sizes. I've always quite liked both of these artists, without being a huge fan of either. So the gig, with both performers only playing a piano and occasionally accompanied by a guitar, came as a reminder to me that in general I like my music fairly stripped down, without too many instruments clogging the mix. Darren and Darragh have both written comprehensive reviews of the concert that I can't really add much to, except to say that Neil Hannon covering Duke's 'No Cover Up' was one of the most emotional moments I've had at a concert in quite a long time.
Tuesday also brought the Budget to those of us in Ireland. I'm no expert, but I would imagine the 50 cent that has been tacked onto each pack of 20 cigarettes is largely going to have to go towards hiring extra customs officials and airport and harbour police to stop an increase in the amount of cigarettes being brought in by the case-load for sale on the black market. you can get 200 in Egypt for the price of 20 here now, y'know. It's easy for the government to pretend that they instigate these kinds of increases because they don't want people to smoke, but in fact it's far too valuable a source of revenue for them to wan t people to stop. Which means that a move like this is, in fact, calculated to take advantage of people's addictions. Likewise, the rise in petrol. We are addicted to driving in this country because our lousy public transport infrastructure gives us no other option. From where I work I can get back to Wicklow in about 35 minutes by car. Or, I can walk 15 minutes, take a Luas for another 15, walk another 10 and then get a bus that takes an hour and a half. I'll stand by my car for now.