Wednesday, 15 October 2014


It's been a while. I know. Things have changed. I (Vick) have things to do, things that are, dare I say it, slightly more important than organising The Medicine Sessions.. I know, I'm a sell out, trying to forge a career at my age! Pfffttt.. fucking insane. The Sessions are still ticking along though, in the hands of Alan O'Callaghan, who also has his own massive responsibilities, but at least has youth on his side... and good looks... and lots of hair... and a lurcher.. and he said he'd be happy to help. So here we are. Slowly figuring out what everyone is capable of taking on and what direction The Medicine Sessions takes. Like all shuffles, it can be a bit awkward, slow and untidy, until the groove is found.

So on, to the reviews.. (which I will still be writing as and when I get a chance).

I'm always a little dubious about tribute bands. The whole point of starting up The Medicine Sessions was to promote original music and give artists a new platform and audience for their own creations. This was one of my original staunch conditions. When Alan told me that a Neil Young band were coming last Thursday, I was a bit bewildered. He assured me they would be excellent though.. he's enthusiastic like that.. I admit, I was more easy about the prospect when I heard that the band was made up of members of bands like The Calvinists and Jukebox Gypsy, (I initially imagined a shabby looking novelty act.)

Last Thursday, it happened. Psychedelic Pill hit The Medicine Room. Hard.

No fucking about, they opened with a smack in the face, riffs and licks and bass boom, drum smashing and dirty, filthy, crunchy, crunchy goodness.

Isaac Tabor fronts the band, taking the role of the real Mr Young, in a way that doesn't imitate, but reveals a genuine kinship and understanding of the early Young catalogue. Isaac's voice, is no doubt, influenced by Young, the fact that he is, actually American, is a relief, otherwise the lilt could have been cringey coming from say, a pure-bred Kerry bogman. His guitar solos are far from shabby, and he effortlessly dives into the frame of Young's material and paints his own versions, with great big bold splashes of colour and light. His obvious love of the songs shines through and I was genuinely delighted in his moments of 'jam state'...

Which brings us to second guitarist, Brian Casey. Who kept his own state of musical chaos under sublime control, riffing off of Tabor, duelling with rhythm from the drums, battling with the bass riffs, loud, fast, intricate, fierce and ornate. Brian is a joy to watch, switching effortlessly between backing vocals, guitar and keyboard, often within seconds and sometimes even all together. Hammering on a beautiful hollow-body bright red Gibson, ramping out some seriously nice blues style jangly keys and perfectly harmonising with Tabor. To hear the two of them jamming against each other, is truly, a joy to behold!

Darragh Coakley, drummer with The Calvinists, as usual, was percussion sex! Wedged, as always, in the bay window of The Medicine Room, he kept time with the life-force of Yoda, driving on the songs with a punch befitting the set's origins. The great thing about Darragh's drumming, is his ability to know when to shut up. Allowing the songs to ebb and flow as they should, letting the slower pieces breath, building that goose-bump inducing middle and being ready to jump in, feet, hands, head and heart and voice when the moment is called for. I later talked him into starting a 'Durdle' Choir with me.. but that's another story.

Finally, last, but not least, Alan Brookes was absolutely, bass cool in the dark corner. He didn't have to jump about, he didn't have to shag his guitar, he didn't have to do anything.. which really, involved everything; keeping that heartbeat, blood and guts, pumping an essential life-line through each song. It would catch you unawares, hammering in your solar plexus as the room held the wall of sound created by the band. "What the fuck is that!"... "I'm having a heart attack!"... oh.. wait.. "s'alriight.. the bass player is just off on one".

The Medicinners absolutely lapped it up, calling for more and more and more... even though they had received everything.

I hate tribute bands... except this one.

 Photos of Psychedelic Pill by Zena Al Nazer

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