Dundalk musician Jinx Lennon's gig is a chink of light after a period of blackness

Niall McCann


Niall McCann


Dundalk musician Jinx Lennon's gig is a chink of light after a period of blackness

Back in the early 1990's, the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers released the single Motown Junk, a pop punk blast of rage from four blouse wearing headers from Blackwood in the valleys.

The track opens with a sample from the hip hop legends public enemy, namely the word revolution repeated over and over before cranked up guitar blasts us off. I know many people who have wanted some sort of revolution on this island of ours for some time, before the bankers tapped us out, before foreign planes engaged in illegal wars used our airports to refuel and carry prisoners who in all likely hood were being tortured through our borders, before the redoing of votes that the status quo wanted redoing, before the endless massive pensions for politicians who helped bring us to our knees, before massive cuts to the health budget, before endless trolleys with patients marooned in hospital corridors, before Irish water and before the abuse scandals involving the church.

There are always people striving to make the world a better place, even if these people are not always ones we agree with it always good to see and hear from people who care about and are engaged with the world.

One man who seems to be retreating rather than engaging with the reality before him is our own Enda Kenny, Taoiseach and all round nice guy.

On Sunday he tweeted (or whoever tweets for him tweeted) that Vice President elect of the United States Mike Pence and he had a lovely little Henry Kelly on the phone.

In his own words: Had a really good conversation tonight with US VP Elect Mike Pence. He certainly knows Ireland and the issues that matter to our people.

Now after all the hoo ha about the Trump presidency and the very real and legitimate worries people from all over the world, never mind just the US hold regarding attitudes towards global warming, LGBT and minorities of all stripes, gun control and a new age of proto capitalism which could in all reality herald a new age of darkness for the world; Mr Kenny's tweet, with it's all too willing cap doffing to a man no one should doff their cap to was at best disappointing and at worst indicative of a supine political mind and malleable weak willed character.

His tweet caused much outrage amongst the Irish people, with many replying to state that "you do not speak for us". Mike Pence is amongst many things a man who believes that homosexuals can be "cured".

Perhaps after the triumphant and inclusive marriage equality triumphs in our own country our dear leader would hesitate from cosying up to Homophobes just because they might give you a few bob down the line.

The reason I mention this is unlike Kenny there was plenty of exciting political dissent and engagement going on in the Workmans Club in Dublin on Saturday night as the inaugural Temple Bar View Festival which aims to turn the Dublins cultural quarter that little bit more cultured and politicised, climaxed with Jinx Lennons Big Protest Night.

The line up featuring artists all of whom have brought political insight and social commentary to bear in their music.

First up was Fiach Moriarty, Moriarty released the record ‘The Revolution’ in April 2015 and immediately caught the attention of national media with subjects as heavy and current as The 1916 Easter Rising, World

War 1 and Los San Patricios (the Irish brigade in the 19th century Mexican Army) tackled head on. When he first came on the music scene he had a sparser more stripped back sound and was known as plain Fiach but he has matured wonderfully and presents a suite of politically engaged songs which captivate the room.

It comes highly recommended for anyone with an interest in pop or politics. That's just about everyone then.

Next is Dublin rapper Temper-Mental MissElayneous (Elanye Harrington).

I was only familiar with some of her tracks and tonight she easily and utterly convinces me of her real talent. MissElayneous uses her music hand in hand with her social activism and she has worked with organisations such as YMCA and The Y Factor.

Having experienced periods of homelessness herself, she is a keen activist on behalf of those living on the streets and in sheltered accommodation in Dublin.

Her set tonight is commanding and assured. The artist has a real gift for lyricism and word play and dominates the stage and makes it her own tonight. Temper Mental MissElayneous just keeps getting better and better. Make sure you don't miss out. You'd be a fool too.

She is followed by the wonderfully named Avant Gardai who combine different genres of rock music in a sort of pantomime comedy political musical act complete with air hostess backing singers and personality to spare.

Their show is an enjoyable laugh with proper hooks on display and great showmanship.

A reminder that humour and music are not mutually exclusive. Their most recent release Think Happy Thought is well worth your attention.

Headlining of course is our own Jinx Lennon and as always he does not let us down. Playing different tracks from his impressive back catalogue while showcasing material from his recently releases the must own Magic Bullets and Past Pupil Stay Sane this is a superlative and mesmerising performance.

Jinx has been doing this a long time now and he has only grown as an artist. Rarely does a lone man on stage feel like you a watching a 5 piece with an orchestra but that is the level of mastery of craft Lennon displays with ease, holding the audience in the palm of his hand.

He manages to elicit sing alongs from the crowd, no mean feat when it comes to reticent Irish audiences and what's more every one is smiling, singing and dancing. Penultimate song is the glorious "Forgive The C**ts" which we all do together clenched fists held aloft. Jinx Lennon should be a household name from Dundalk to Darwin and tonight as far as anyone here is concerned he is one of the greats.

Tonight is an important and timely reminder that political dissent, debate and engagement are not the remain of the cloistered political classes. Tonight's gig is a much needed chink of light amongst the recent all encompassing blackness. Bravo.