Posted by: chiarraigrrl | April 19, 2011

Strange Famous… Sage Francis at Whelans, 17 April 2011

Sage Francis at Whelans 8

As I write this I should probably point out that I’m sitting at my desk at work, looking out the window at a gorgeous sunny day, trying not to do too much chair-dancing to AOI tune (by one Sage Francis) “Masturbate Your Brain”, and the memories from URI are threatening to overwhelm my proper brain function (I still have the Art Official Intelligence version on cassette tape from the late ’90s in a box in my room. The copy I’m currently listening to is on Sage Francis’s disc “Sick of Wasting…”, picked up for a whopping (cough) €10 at Whelans Sunday night). 🙂

Sunday night Whelan’s on Wexford Street (Dublin’s oldest music venue, I’ve been told) played host to “cult American hip-hop poet” (per Hot Press) Sage Francis while he was this side of the Atlantic, visiting Ireland and Scotland with his mom (aww). Many years ago, in the late 1990s when I was attending the University of Rhode Island, Sage used to organise a poetry night on Mondays at the student-run coffeeshop where I used to volunteer, and I distinctly remember going to see him do a gig with Art Official Intelligence at the Ocean Mist in South Kingstown (I thought that was around 1998, but the internet is only coughing up an AOI gig there in 1997, so who knows… early alzheimer’s and all that ;)). So, needless to say I was a tad on the hyper side on the way in to the gig (but hiding it well, I like to think, at least in front of other people. My poor long-suffering friend Mags had to listen to me all evening occasionally bouncing and quietly going “yay!!”, though.). On the way in, I was glad to see a young lady in front of me on the way in who replied to the bouncer’s “how are you this evening?” with a “Great! I’m so excited I get to see him!” (pointing at Sage’s name on the ticket). YAY. I love hyper fans. 🙂

The set itself was fantastic, as anticipated. I was especially delighted to hear “Crack Pipes”, “Sea Lion”, “Makeshift Patriot” (of course) and “Bridle”. The crowd seemed really into it, too, and everyone around me was at least enthusiastically bopping their heads and generally singing along. When the music wouldn’t play for the last song, “The Best of Times” (one of my favourites, I have to say), Sage went ahead with it a cappella, the crowd clapped along to the beat and everyone who knew the lyrics seemed to be singing along. Fantastic stuff. Both friends that I had convinced to go had a brilliant time and said they would see him again, which is always a good result! Afterwards I was impressed to note that Sage stayed to talk to everyone who wanted to talk to him (and there was quite a crowd), and signed anything anyone wanted signed (including the back of the hyper fan who’d gone in to the venue ahead of us). Of course I stuck around to say hi and bought the CD he was selling (“Sick of Wasting…”) and it was great to see him again after all these years (and got to say hi to his mom, too. Yay!!).

Sage Francis albums are on sale at Tower on Wicklow Street, online at or in the online store at And as per usual, I took a load of photos at the gig hoping one would come out OK, but a few did, so they’re up on my flickr if you’re curious.

Update 23 April: I’ve set up a separate set for photos from the gig here so they don’t get buried on my flickr. Thanks, y’all. 🙂



  1. Interesting style of writing; I would have enjoyed this more if there were fewer parantheses, they were bit distracting and unnecessary. Good review, otherwise.

  2. This was great. I like your style!

    The photos were also great.. You do some professional stuff!

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