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I have actually returned you know, just making excuses again!
Reading this page it looks like I never came back from Italy, but obviously I am here now, and have been here for the last three weeks. In that time I have failed to get my iMac to work - the start-up disk is now stuck in the drive. I have also developed an eye infection which meant I haven't been able to use computers much anyway, and then the opticians decided to give me the wrong lenses in the new frames I chose so they had to be replaced.
I have managed a few gigs though, notably the reformed American Music Club in Dublin, a gig I wouldn't have ventured down for at all until I was bowled over by the new album 'Love Songs for Patriots'. During the gig they stuck to that album and a few old classics ('Blue and Grey Shirt', 'Sick of Food', 'Johnny Mathis's Feet', etc) and skipped Eitzel's solo stuff completely, so it did feel like a reformed band.
Oxes were great in the Pavilion in Belfast the day after. I love the hype and the almost prankster mentality that surrounds this band, and their policy of taking the show to the fans. I wish I had remembered my camera. Those riffs though, they love their riffs!
Finally, the Redneck Manifesto in the same venue nearly a week later. Another really impressive album to promote ('I Am Brazil') and another step further down the jazz/ prog direction.

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