Sloppy, Ploppy Nizlopi

nizlopi21I just accidentally heard a song by Nizlopi as I was trying to find something else on the wireless.  I had to double check, though; as I find myself saying more and more often the older I get, I thought they were dead.  But, no, I just looked them up and apparently they had an album out last year; and, possibly because it wasn’t exactly a roaring success, they’re now having a wee holiday.  Well, at least someone in radio land hasn’t forgotten them.  I had occasion to see Nizlopi live in Whelan’s back in 2006.  I went partly out of morbid, masochistic curiosity, and partly because the tickets were free – having been harder to flog than current Mexican pork products.  It was quite a night., March 12 2006

So, just which demographics were responsible for the most projectile-nauseatingly sentimental number one since There’s No One Quite Like Grandma? Well, surely, primary school children, viewers of X Factor, regular consumers of Happy Meals, and one or two other societal groups for whom discernment is still a future developmental stage. Worryingly, at least for JCB Song perpetrators Nizlopi, music enthusiasts appear to come way down the list, at least if tonight’s attendance is anything to go by. The greater part of their audience is obviously excluded, for being either too young or too sedentary, and those who have bothered to show (it would be too charitable to describe them as a ‘crowd’) look like the sorts of people more likely to attend a séance than a pop concert. Woollen fashions and coiffeurs are clearly influenced by Joan Baez and Germaine Greer, while one group on the balcony make rueful merry, displaying balloons bearing the legend “Happy 40th Birthday”. And I’m not the only one to notice that the air hangs heavy with the stench of stewed tea and mothballs. Still, this creaking assemblage has patently placed Nizlopi on a lofty pedestal – one from which the duo can more easily overlook their shortcomings.

From their opening bombast, a harrowing incitement to “make some noise before we start the show”, played from within the heart of the audience, it’s clear where folk-rap combo Luke Concannon and John Parker are coming from – Butlin’s, on a wet July Tuesday in 1974. When they then take to the stage in all their odd-socked, Black Lace-haired glory, Concannon with acoustic guitar and Parker with double bass and mortifying beatbox, it’s no stretch of imagination to see that, number one single notwithstanding, they are merely a pair of harmless would-be children’s entertainers with an amazingly transmittable delusion of adequacy. Each threadbare, faux-political, expletive-peppered ditty is received by the audience with such whoops and squeals of ecstasy as would embarrass Ricky Lake. It just may be that allowing the punters to sit through two excruciating support acts to encourage them to drink more was a very good move. Having encouraged audience participation from the start, Nizlopi reach the zenith of puke-prompting populism when they invite a middle-aged Irish mammy onstage, presumably to play Jane to their Rod and Freddy. Her enraptured attempts at hip-hop amount to “WHOO-OOH! GET DOWN! WHOO-OOH! GET DOWN!” and naturally glean a jollified, pantomime response from the floor. In fact, such is the holiday-camp gaiety the buskers have created, that their performance of Disney-Club dirge, The JCB Song, seems somewhat of an anti-climax.

In the end, though, the world is still on its axis. The Baez-Greers get what they paid €21 to see, the 40th birthday party are still holding up the heart-bypass – and me and my friend are having a top laugh.

2 thoughts on “Sloppy, Ploppy Nizlopi

  1. What a mess! This article was ill thought out and poorly delivered. If you spent more time listening to good music and less time desperately trying to think up quips and put downs you might recognize the rare combination of passion and honest real music when it rocks up infront of you!

  2. You didn’t like it then, Jimmy, no? Aw, sorry. Thing is, I’ve written screeds about passionate, honest, good music. But in this instance, I was there to review a Nizlopi gig. Just to clarify, this gig came only a couple months after they had a huge hit and yet ticket sales were embarrassingly low. This was during the Irish ‘boom’ times, when people spent more money than they had sense, and were paying top dollar for even the most mediocre gigs; and YET, the PR firm were desperately trying to get shot of tickets, gratis, to help the venue look full -even then, they could barely GIVE tickets away. And when I saw the band play, it was easy to see why so few people were interested.

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