Archive for Ham Sandwich

Arthur’s Day – The ‘Hot’ Stuff?

Posted in General Tickets There Blog, INTO-NOISE!, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Tickets There

Now that things have calmed down, Tickets There would like to further explore the Arthur’s Day controversy the erupted within certain circles of the Irish music scene last month when Walls / Stunning front man, Steve Wall, attacked the day for promoting English artists ahead of Irish talent, given that the spirit of day is a celebration of Ireland’s most famous export – Guinness.

Steve is quoted in the Irish Times as describing this year’s Arthur’s Day celebrations as a “cynical act in pulling the wool over Paddy’s eyes”. A great number of people have supported Steve’s comments while many others (including The Minutes & Thomas Walsh of Pugwash) don’t see what all the fuss is about. From a bog standard point of view, it should be simple, an Irish festival for Irish bands – but that’s just not the way it is unfortunately. This article is not directed at Steve Wall, but rather the points he raised that a lot of other people / musicians agree with.

Diageo PLC, owners of the Guinness Brand and many others, are a British company that decided to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Guinness Brewing Company in 2009 with an international tribute to Arthur Guinness, the man who started it all. They landed in Ireland on September 24th and spearheaded a massive celebration using international music acts with a massive Proud to be Irish / Guinness drinker theme running through it. Great success, made a bit of dosh for Diageo– everyone happy. However, when it returned a year later people got the message that this was not a once off thing. Obviously the chance to generate a guaranteed annual increase in revenue was a little too lucrative for Diageo to just ignore. Fair enough, this is a recession after all and more revenue equals more money for the country and St. Jame’s Gate employees getting to stay in the job. All good, no?

So the money-making side isn’t what’s annoying Steve and supporters of his comments. It all comes down to the entertainment being used to promote this supposed Irish / Guinness festival. While Diageo promoted that fact that over 500 Irish bands were taking part in this year’s Arthur’s Day celebrations, none of those names were headline artists. Indeed, no Irish act of any sort was chosen to be a headliner at a festival that used Ireland and Irish-ness as its foundation and platform worldwide. Very unfortunate and a little disrespectful to a country long renowned for its powerful traditional music and its massive contribution to the world of internaltional music over the years….not to mention all the pints of the black stuff us good auld Irish have purchased over the years. While Arthur’s Day could have been a chance to allow home-grown talent like Le Galaxie, Jape, Ham Sandwich, Cast of Cheers, (Shudder) Fight Like Apes..etc, etc to shine on an international setting, on a day when the whole world wanted to embrace Ireland and it’s culture. A very fair point, but Tickets There can’t unanimously agree we’re afraid and it’s for one simple reason. Arthur’s Day is a celebration for a man who endorsed the idea of British rule over Ireland and proclaimed himself an Irish Unionist. Therefore, isn’t it more fitting we get British acts in to represent Arthur’s Day rather than Irish ones?

To be fair, that’s not our real reason. Unlike St. Patrick’s day (incidentally, another plastic paddy festival for a man who was 1, ENGLISH and 2, brought Christianity to Ireland – something a lot of people these days would rather hadn’t happened), Arthur’s Day is an event invented by and run by a company, not a country. Sure pubs chip in and do their part, but they aren’t answerable to Ireland or its people. It’s all for a drink and the man that invented it and it just so happens they came from Ireland. We are fortunate a company has taken a lead at drumming up some good cheer and extra business for our streets, pubs and restaurants during these bleak recession hunkered days, rather than do nothing at all like most of our national companies. None of the Irish bands mentioned in any of this are tearing up the international charts so why would they be booked as major headliners just because of where they’re from? That folks is bias, discrimination and wouldn’t be tolerated in any other form.

We must all be getting sick of Irish people attacking anything and everything in sight. Why don’t we all just attack Oxegen and Electric Picnic for not exclusively booking Irish talent as their key headliners? Or fine MCD and Aiken for not ensuring that 50% of their events are Irish based? If Irish bands want to make it in this life they’ll have to do what every other band has to do, appeal to people, sell albums and make it. They’re not being discriminated against, they’re not be cast away or anything else. This is not 1960’s London, we are no longer below the dogs. We are a respectable country with a proud musical heritage and should be able to make our way in the 21st century without Bono or hand-outs. If people higher up in the Irish entertainment world have a problem, why don’t they arrange their own festival to celebrate our music? If our bands are as big a draw as they say then certain people will make a fortune and the bands will get a larger platform.

The Irish need to stop blaming their problems on everyone else and take some responsibility for themselves. How can we ever hope to restore our pride and dignity if we keep running back to internationals, pulling on their trousers asking for more? Ireland needs to re-carve its own identity and make other countries look to us with awe and excitement, rather than berate, guilt and sulk our foot through the door.

Incidentally, Steve Wall is a man I have a lot of respect for. He’s one of the greatest song writers Ireland has ever produced and founder / driver of two bands Tickets There (and myself, Robert O’ Connor) greatly admire and enjoy. This is not an attack on him, but a criticism of any Irish band that sits around waiting for ill-gotten hand-outs. It’s tough out there but that is life as a musician (and everyone else for that matter). Stop sitting around waiting for others to open doors and do it yourselves with your music. If Ireland doesn’t suit, re-locate or get a new job. If things are made too easy, everyone will be in a band and the whole scene will water down even further. Steve fairs better than most and works exceptionally hard to keep his bands going, but it’s time Ireland stopped blaming all of its problems on the English and got up and did something about it for ourselves. Let’s just leave Arthur’s Day for what it is, celebrating the black stuff!

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The Jägermeister Freezer Sessions Are Back!

Posted in IRISH NOISE!, Music, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by Tickets There

Jägermeister have announced November dates for their Freezer Sessions series of gigs. Taking place in Limerick, Galway, Dublin and Cork, the shows are committed to bringing you some of the most exciting up and coming names Irish music has to offer.

Bands already confirmed include O Emperor, Windings, Last Days of Death Country, Dark Room Notes, Ladydoll, The Riptide Movement, The Mighty Stef, Ham Sandwich, Kid Karate, Maud In Cahoots and New Amusement with more to be announced soon. For a full list of dates, check below.

Cork: Reardons (November 25th 2010)

  • Dark Room Notes
  • Lady Doll
  • The Riptide Movement
  • The Walls

Dublin: The Workman’s Club (November 30th 2010)

  • The Mighty Stef
  • Ham Sandwich
  • Kid Karate
  • Maud In Cahoots

Galway: The Rosin Dubh (December 2nd 2010)

  • Special Guest
  • Dark Room Noyes
  • New Amusement
  • Maud In Cahoots

Limerick: Dolan’s Warehouse (December 9th 2010)

  • O Emperor
  • Windings
  • Last Days of Death Country
  • The Flaws

Pay To Play – Tyrants, Thieves and The Bands They Rob

Posted in General Tickets There Blog, Music, Special Features with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by Tickets There


If there’s one topic that every music site, blog, magazine and opinionist in the world has to voice their view on at one time or another,  it’s illegal downloading. Ever since the whole Metallica Vs. Napster fall out in 2000, the music world has become strongly divided on the subject of illegal downloading and file sharing. Bands and fans alike have split right down the middle with some artists strongly supporting moderate file sharing while others bitterly oppose illegal downloading of their music, their work and their art. Tickets There strongly supports the latter and since UPC won their case yesterday, we decided it was the perfect time to tell you why.

Anti-Capitalism – Viva La Revolution!

Is anyone else getting sick of people constantly heralding the advantages of illegal downloading? The constant punk rehash drivel we’re subjected to every time an outspoken unemployed college student or post grad jumps to defend illegal downloading and the D.I.Y. environment that’s rising from the ashes of the once mighty music industry? The whole anti-capitalist, anti-system propaganda they drill you with to justify their positions and the slew of examples of tyranny and control the record companies yield and the travesty that befalls good bands. Sorry my friends, you’re not hurting anyone….aside from the bands you claim to love and support that is.

Funnily enough, you rarely hear any of these struggling artists come out and support the outspoken contingent that drives these messages. I’ve yet to hear one of the hundreds of independent Irish bands who are actively looking to make a living from the music industry and their art come out publicly and say yes, ‘we want people to illegally download our music and share it with the world forever’. They may give a free single here and there, offer free streaming of new albums but that doesn’t mean they want you to ignore the physical copy when you see it in Tower, or click next when it pops up on ITunes. They’re offering you these free streaming sources because that’s practically the only thing new bands can do these days to make themselves known and make a name for themselves. It might be easier if they had a record company behind them, you know pushing their name, getting them airplay, managing them properly and what not  but no, the ‘champions of the illegal file sharing’ have made certain that there’s no money to be made from real bands anymore. Round of applause, you’ve done a good job killing hopes for new bands around the world.

While these ‘champions’ make their speeches, write their articles and blogs, fill their IPhones, IPods and MP3 players with terabyte’s of stolen music, all the while feeling smug that they’re fighting the enemy, bands and artists are feeling more pressure than they’ve been subjected to in decades. It’s no secret that many, many bands and artists have/are and always will be given the shaft by the industry that feeds of their work but now, thanks to the lack of revenue from real bands (aside from the handful of lucky ones), record labels are no longer interested in even pretending to sign new acts and why would they be?

Record Companies = Tyrants?

Record labels are in the music business to make money, same reason as every other company out there. If they don’t make money, they can’t compete or give their artists a decent financial or competitive platform. These days, X-Factor, American Idol, Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Jedward, Take That, Justin Bieber and Cheryl Cole make money for the record companies so who do you think will benefit from that? I doubt anyone could believe that Justin Bieber’s success will land Ham Sandwich a recording contract. More than likely a Justin Bieber replica will reap the benefits.

Unfortunately, the industry isn’t hurting. But Jobs are being lost, less and less bands are getting signed, A&R men have become virtually non-existent, Promotion is becoming more focused on the guaranteed buck earners with little or nothing left for new and upcoming artists yet the machine keeps rolling. Major record labels like Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI and the Universal Music Group continue their acquisition of smaller, independent labels because real bands aren’t selling albums anymore, which is creating an excellent little niche monopoly in the music industry. Without record sales, most independent labels haven’t a hope of surviving long and without these independent labels even fewer ‘real’ bands and artists will get signed in the future. The fewer ‘real’ bands on the scene decreases competition and stops people from being distracted from the main sales pitch and products. Welcome to a world laying the foundation for 24 hour, manufactured, conveyer belt music monopoly with no dangerous originality, no un-controllable elements and a marketing strategy that’s been perfected over decades and is now ready to come into full fruition.

But, But…..

There are arguments of course, the best being the claim that music is now returning it’s original state. Before the 1930’s, bands almost exclusively played live and that’s how they earned their reputation. Live performances were the be all and end all and now, more than any time over the past few decade’s bands are relying on live performances to make an income and afford to stay together. This is a fair point but next time you’re going to see your favorite Irish band and they’re playing to 30/50 people despite having (in your opinion) the greatest song repertoire in the country, ask yourself something, would you keep going? Would you be happy in your 5th year together playing to crowds of 10,20, 100+ max? Receiving rave reviews from the few major sources with readership, working hard to appear on any radio station, magazine, TV show or event that’ll have you and still end up with a better reputation than your bank account and ticket sales would lead you to believe?

It isn’t all about the money, but as a wise musician once told me, “if you’re gonna be in a band you need a lot of free time and a lot of money”. That is what it takes to make a real go of things in the industry but if you aren’t selling albums, aren’t filling venues but you’re still paying for studios, rehearsal spaces, travel costs for tours, management, booking agents, equipment rental, equipment purchases, tour hands, rent, food, bills..etc, etc then the money comes into play and bands need it to survive and compete. They need it to make a name for themselves. Thanks to illegal downloading, even some of the best bands are being left to rot and defend for themselves.

They Don’t Need the Money, they have enough!!

Some like to point out that they’re really only out to hurt money made bands and they still buy music from smaller unknown acts. Very decent of you, but please explain to me why those ‘smaller unknown bands’ aren’t appearing in the charts if that’s where your money is going. Record labels still aren’t signing these small bands because they don’t believe there’s a market for them. Why? Because older bands that sound like them aren’t selling anymore. Illegally downloading music from the likes of U2 and Metallica won’t hurt them financially in the same way it will a smaller act but if you step back a moment and see the big picture, you’ll notice any illegal downloading affects all of these bands, big and small. If bands like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins want to give away their music for free then great. These guys all have studios, money and can do what ever they like. If a band doesn’t want you to download their music for free then have some respect and don’t do it. There’s no justification because it’s illegal and despite some peoples claims, it isn’t a victimless crime. It’s hurting the bands you love and only making the record company’s control of our beloved music world more dominant and powerful. Dead weight is cut, profits increase.

Couldn’t Care Less – Long Live Downloading!

As for the whole ‘you can’t respect something you didn’t earn’ theory. Well, that might explain why even semi-big independent album releases generate hype for about 2/3 weeks before disappearing off the face of the earth. People can’t focus or devote themselves to albums or bands anymore. It’s trendy to be eclectic and all knowing about everything but you know what, sometimes it’s a lot more enjoyable to find one good album and immerse yourself in it rather than finding 200 poor albums with various hooks and going through them like socks. Quality will always be king in the world, everything else is fleeting and that’s why the quality bands deserve the attention because they’re the ones you’ll re-buy on new formats. They’re the ones you won’t take for granted. They’re the ones you’ll dream of taking your kids to see, just so you can pass on the same joy you feel every time you think of their music and they’re the ones that you’ll bore your friends to tears taking about every chance you get because you just can’t thank them enough for giving you something very special and you want to spread that message as far as you can reach (Def Leppard RULE!!)

Don’t download, don’t file share and don’t rip off bands money. They need it to survive and the more money they make, the more likely it is the recording industry will come back and help these bands out again. There’s a lot more money to be made from bands who can tour and release albums for decades on end than there is from overnight success stories who manage to keep it together for a quick 3/5 year period before the press attention and drug problems send them spiraling out of control, Rock bands can hold their drugs and they know how to moon photographers when the occasion rises. Pay for music like you would anything else and support your local bands, your independent labels, your local Record Stores (who sadly didn’t get a proper mention here – we’ll make it up to them) and the recording industry. Things are only going to get harder and harder for these bands so let’s try to show them we do care and we’re not just in it for the freebies.

Ham Sandwich – White Fox (Album Review)

Posted in Album Review, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by Tickets There

They’re back, one of Irelands most hotly tipped bands Ham Sandwich have returned with their sophomore album, White Fox. It officially hits stores in two days but seeing as they’re lovely folks, they’ve allowed State Magazine to post the whole thing online for free streaming. It’s been so long since we reviewed an album here at Tickets There, we’re not even sure whether we know how anymore (or ever did for that matter – Ed.), but over the next few paragraphs we’re going to do our best to tell you exactly how good this album is.

The Naturist was a lovely single in May and now it’s a lovely opening to the album. There’s nothing bad about this song and almost six months after it’s release, it’s as appealing, fresh and loveable as ever. Can’t think of a nicer way to start things off or prepare you for the heavier, faster sounds of the album’s title track, White Fox. It’s upbeat and edgy but broader and more dynamic than Ham Sandwich’s older sound, yet still retaining that energy we love about them.

Ant’s gives of the impression it’ll be a duet folk number like something from the sixties before unveiling its self fully and transforming into one of the most powerful pieces on the record. Niamh Farrell really out does herself vocally, giving the song a very strong performance that really drives this piece home. OH-OH’s dance floor driven poppiness is a welcome boost to the albums energy before the soothing sounds of Models brings us to the half way point. So far, so damn good.

The Fog again gives the album a good belting number, this time coming from the drums. A hard, quick paced beat with picking guitars provides an excellent base for the tracks clap along breaks. Like Ant’s, The Fog grows and develops with each new verse and chorus to become one of the albums standout’s. It’s also one older fans will find comfortable as the sound is similar to previous Sandwich favorites like Click Click Boom and Words.

Long Distance, In December and Animals provide more room for relaxation. Filled with melodic guitars, soft drums and soothing vocals, the songs almost run in to each other but in a very welcome form. They may not be the unquestionable stand outs of this record but their presence would only be missed if they changed. Floors finishes of the record on a very soulful note with Niamh and the band giving a very atmospheric, subtle performance. A nice way to end a very welcome return by Ham Sandwich,

Simply put, White Fox if a lovely album from start to finish. The heavier style from Carry The Meek is all but gone but instead the band can now offer a very personal, mature sound in their writing. An excellent return from one of Ireland’s brightest groups.  

Don’t forget, Ham Sandwich will officially launch White Fox on October 30th at The Button factory. Click Here for Detials.

Ham Sandwich Confirm New Album Title and Launch Show Details

Posted in IRISH NOISE!, Music, News with tags , , , on September 17, 2010 by Tickets There

Meath rockers Ham Sandwich have confirmed the title of their second album will be White Fox and it’s coming to a record store near you on October 1st.

Track-listing and more details will be confirmed shortly but if the material released so far is anything to go by, White Fox is going to bury Carry The Meek and finally show the public what they’re capable off. To celebrate the release, the band will be holding a Launch Party in Dublin’s Button Factory on October 30th with tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster.ie and Tickets.ie priced €15.

If you’re not in Dublin, you can catch the band playing around the country in a few weeks,

September 21st – Limerick Arts College
September 23rd – GMIT Galway with Delorentos
September 24th – Weavers, Drogehda
September 25th – The Forum, Waterford
OCTOBER 1ST – ALBUM RELEASE!!! INSTORE IN TOWER RECORDS!!
October 8th – Barcode, Tipperary
October 14th – The Spirit Store, Dundalk
October 30th – ALBUM LAUNCH, THE BUTTON FACTORY.

Tickets There would like to wish the guys (and Niamh :)) the best of luck with the tour and release, cannot wait to hear what they’ve got in store for us!

Ham Sandwich – The Naturist (Stream)

Posted in IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , on May 20, 2010 by Tickets There

This is a song we very much regret not reviewing a couple of weeks ago when it first appeared. Alas, here it is now and if you haven’t already heard it on the other 150,000 Irish blogs praising it, then listen now. Ladies and gentlemen, Ham Sandwich’s latest release, The Naturist. Fantastic 🙂

Ham Sandwich – The Naturist by statemagazine

Ham Sandwich – Out of the Darkness (Single Review)

Posted in IRISH NOISE!, Music, News, Single Review with tags , , , , on November 4, 2009 by Tickets There

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Tickets There doesn’t do many of these but we’d like start more of them. To kick things off, we’re taking a look at Ham Sandwich’s brand new single Out of the Darkness, which is officially released on November 6th. Unfortunately I can’t find an image of the single cover yet (but it’s there on their MySpace in tiny format) so I’ll add this when one pops up.

Out of the Darkness is the first single from the bands highly anticipated second album and ya know what, it’s not too bad. Tickets There has always liked Ham Sandwich’s harmonies and there’s plenty of them on this number. The style isn’t as unique as their first album but it’s still got that Ham Sandwich loudness pasted all over it. Niamh’s voice sounds great but Podge’s has been pushed to the back alot more than on their previous material. Musically it keeps that building feeling from start to finish with several deliveries. The chorus is sweet. It’s simple but nice.

Weird to write about one song so we’ll wrap up this short n sweet wee tweet by saying, Tickets There likes it. The albums due out in Spring 2010 so we’ll be bring you more as we hear it.

Click Here to visit the bands MySpace and hear it for yourself!

Oh, and Niamh…smile more, it suits you.