Friday, December 18, 2009
This was in response to my request for an interview about their upcoming Christmas Mystery Gig (Monday, December 28). Considering what they did to the reporter from Cork City's Campus FM, a guided tour of Limerick in a blacked out BMW jeep was almost luxurious.
Anyway, big interview with the boys in next Tuesday's Limerick Chronicle - a bumper Christmas edition to read over the holidays.. No excuses, go out and get it.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This is after a very pleasant half hour interview with the amenable Robinson, during which he makes no mention of the band splitting up, except for a number of pointed allusions - at least they look that way now - to the fact that they will have to “see what happens in the future” with regard to touring and recording in 2010.
So, Oppenheimer - also made up of guitar/synth player Rocky O’Reilly - are to split, but at least are to play one of their final gigs in Baker Place this Thursday night, giving the gig an extra edge for those who attend.
The band formed over five years ago as a result of a mutual love for ‘Moog’ synthesizers, and have released two albums, their 2006 self-titled debut and their Choice Music Prize nominated follow-up, Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It, one of the albums of 2008 in our opinion. Their music was/is beguiling; an exuberant and sweet concoction of synths, guitars, backing tracks and drums - a high-energy sugar rush of electro, indie and pop music.
The strange thing is, the band are calling it a day after a national tour with Bell X1 and two American tours that saw them open for the Presidents of the United States of America and OK Go, while their music has featured on shows such as Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl.
They also toured for five months with They Might Be Giants in 2007 and 2008, but it now seems the strain of touring was too much for Robinson, as a message on the band’s website says “the level of commitment, passion and drive” he can give to the band has changed.
“Shaun has realized that in order to fulfil his hopes and dreams he needs to take a new and different path in his life,” reads the statement.
Speaking to On the Beat last week, an upbeat Robinson said the band had had “another good year”, despite the announcement that was to come just days later.
“Yeah we have. We had quite a busy and a bit of a strange year,” he explained. “We toured with the Presidents for about a month - they are a bunch of really nice people. I got married in April, I married an American girl and Rocky and our sound-man came over for the wedding and we hit the road straight after that - literally I had a two day honeymoon and then it was into the back of the van to drive up to Rhode Island,” he added.
Although the ramifications of this trip might be clearer now, Robinson said that his new wife quite enjoyed this novel honeymoon experience.
“She didn't mind, she actually joined us for the first couple of nights and then went back to New York while I stayed on the road. That was a fantastic tour and we got to play places that we never have before. We ticked another state off the list - so we have now travelled through 46 of the 48 continental states. We've kept ourselves busy.”
Looking back to their formation, Oppenheimer started off as a simple set up; two musicians and one computer, plus loads of backing tracks.
“We started off in a spare room in Rocky’s house with an old vintage synth, playing along to a crappy drum beat that we programmed,” laughed Shaun.
“We were both interested in making wacky noises, but over the years it has moved away from that; Rocky is a big fan of heavier rock music, so it has a harder edge now that we have gone out and toured so much. There is a lot more stomping on distortion pedals than there was in the beginning.”
Looking to the future, Robinson is less effusive, understandably so given the announcement that the duo are to go their separate ways.
“You know what, it is all in the future, we are just going to have to see what happens,” he said. “Who knows what tomorrow holds? Walt Disney might ring up and say we are going to use your song for the theme tune to our new movie - and Rocky and I will have a money fight on a Caribbean island,” he laughed.
Whatever about Walt Disney and the future for this twosome; Limerick audiences have a chance to see Oppenheimer in Baker Place this Thursday night, probably and unfortunately for the last time.
For more see here. Doors at 9pm this Thursday in Baker Place.
Joining local rockers and headliners Last Days of Death Country are the eclectic local ensemble Noland Folk and guitar slinging troubadour Brian McNamara, formerly of Figment fame.
Last Days.. are not just a band with a great name and Cranberries’ Fergal Lawler helping out on recording duties; no, this band are genuinely worth getting excited about - a rock outfit boasting great melodies and rhythms.
Boasting four Limerick men among their ranks, this quartet offer something rare - they can flit from loud and heavy to soulful and tender in the blink of an eye, or the flick of a wrist from guitarist Dave O’Dowd.
Fellow Last Days men Patrick O’Brien (vocals, guitars), Rob Kelly (drums) and Gary Lysaght (bass) combine to form a tight and cohesive unit that are capable of belting out pulsating and aggressive sleazy-rock, dotted with melodies that are anything but saccharine.
"Moving melodic rock, which will leave you wanting more," is how the band have described themselves, but they would prefer to call it “alternative rock”.
“We are just four guys trying to make music that we enjoy more than anything else,” Patrick explained.
Also playing are Clare/Limerick ensemble Noland Folk, who are set to release their debut album ‘Ghosts Light The Scene’ this week. The predominantly Clare based group are well known in local circles having played here on and off over the last few years, and there rollicking, sea-shanty brand of Irish folk is well worth checking out.
Finally, former Figment frontman Brian McNamara makes a return to the local music scene this Thursday and will be debuting some of his own new material.
The all acoustic Belltable Sessions takes place this Thursday night at 8pm.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Messrs. Russell Crowe and Steven Spielberg have become confirmed fans, the former praising the “inspired mastery of their harmonies” and the “streetwise intellectof their humours”. Size2Shoes are to travel to Australia next year to record in Crowe’s studio.
Plenty of gigs around the country,plus recent radio and television appearances and strong word of mouth - in particular - about their superb live performances, has seen a deserved rise in profile for Eoin and Moley (Mícheál) and their uplifting form of folk-pop.The duo recently performed with The Chieftains at the University Concert Hall, performing with the seminal band for “Teddy Bears Picnic”and taking control of the stage to perform one of their own tracks,“Take It Easy”.
Size2Shoes best selling point is that they can combine rap, vocal percussion and exquisite guitar playing with either their own original music or other classic tracks, yet still keep that distinctive Irishness that many acts run away from.
Moley told the Limerick Chroniclerecently that he “started to write songs quite late - I was sixteen or so- and so did Eoin, so we were always careful about what we did and we didn’t want to sound like anybody else.
Simply put, he added that the duo“just wanted to create something that was great fun and uplifting”.
This they have done and a couple of hours in their company will leave you smiling from ear to ear, the perfect antidote to the ever-prevalent doom and gloom out there.
Size2Shoes play the Belltable this Friday night, doors 8.30pm. For tickets contact 061-319866.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Navan funny-man is perform a “World Tour of Limerick” in the new year, which will include dates in the Strand Hotel, Thomond Park, St. John’s Church and Dolan’s Warehouse.
Tiernan will also perform in the recently opened Southill Area Centre, which was opened recently by President Mary McAleese.
The comedian will perform three dates in Limerick county, in Adare’s Woodlands Hotel, the Devon Hotel Inn in Templeglantine and Bulgaden Castle, Kilmallock.
Tiernan caused some controversy with remarks at this summer’s Electric Picnic festival that were viewed as anti-semitic by some. He later said he had not meant to cause offence with his so-called “Holocaust-rant”.
Controversy aside, the news that Ireland’s top comedian is to perform for an extended period in the city will come as welcome news for venue owners and promoters, given that January is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year.
The Strand Hotel gig will be a 600-seater affair, while the Thomond Park date will see 500 tickets on sale.
Tickets will be priced at €25, but will be cheaper for the Southill Area Centre gig, going on sale at just €10.
Tiernan recently broken the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous solo show by a comedian and performed sell out runs at the Montreal 'Just For Laughs' and Galway Arts Festivals.
The comedian has released seven multi-platinum selling DVDs and remains one of the most popular acts in the country.
Tickets for the gigs went on sale this Monday from Ticketmaster and the venues themselves.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
WITH a rush of books appearing for the saturated Christmas market, 2FM DJ Jenny Huston’s ‘In Bloom - Irish Bands Now’, stands out from the glut.
The Canadian-born music supremo has attempted to chronicle the heaving Irish music scene she has called home for 13 years, in her new book, and fares admirably well in this compelling and attractive tome.
Everything you ever wanted to know about your favourite Irish band - 15 in all - is included here, with all offering up an honest appraisal of their careers and where they see the industry going.
There is also a profile of up and coming bands, called the Hotlist, including a nod for Limerick’s own Giveamanakick, who sadly recently announced their intention to go their separate ways.
Huston explains that she got the idea for the book after being approached by the publishers, Currach Press, who wanted to do something about emerging Irish bands.
"They asked if I had considered writing a book on emerging Irish artists and the proposition of it excited me,” says the engaging Huston. “I'm not a journalist, I wasn't sure if I was the right person to do it, but more and more people kept saying to me, ‘what's happening with Bell X1’, to which I responded that they have just done four tours of North America and played Letterman twice.
"I realised that there just seemed to be a gap in information between the bands that are doing international work and for some reason no-one seems to know how well they are doing, so I felt the need to brag about them,” she laughs.
This is an admirably complete analysis of a well-stocked Irish music scene, from Bell X1 to Villagers, and while a couple of names are not included, there was simply no way Huston could have included all, a testament to the busy Irish scene.
Interestingly, most of the bands eschew their standard press interview-speak for an honest appraisal of themselves and their business, a fact Huston clearly feels proud of.
“What was nice about this was that there was a really relaxed atmosphere and they didn't have their press hats on - I think once they realised I wasn't doing a critique of their music and it wasn't going to be a critical piece on bands, that I really wanted to tell their story in their own words, then people were amazingly honest and forthcoming,” she says.
A brutal foreword from Glen Hansard sets the tone for the book, as he recounts his experiences with major labels and the pressure brought to bear in The Frames’ early career. Equally frank admissions follow from Richie Egan and Bell X1, and, for any younger bands out there, make for standard reading on what to avoid in their own careers.
“They pass on an awful lot of advice and certainly any band at any level would pick up an awful lot from them. The industry is changing so rapidly that it is interesting to hear how each band decides to approach it and everyone has revealed something different, and I have actually learnt a lot myself (from this),” she says.
As a knowledgeable DJ, Huston is well aware of the leading lights of the Limerick music scene, which she pays homage to as we speak. Chief among her favourites are rocking Giveamanakick duo Steve Ryan and Keith Lawler, who are unfortunately about to split up after a national tour.
“I was gutted to hear that because they have had an amazing start to 2009 and I am a big fan of the guys, I think they are amazing,” she glows. “They are proper rock and roll, their gigs are like a sonic assault and for them, it sounds like they left on a high and I'm happy they can do that.
"GAMAK were cool and they were so positive about the scene that they emerged from in Limerick and Limerick had such a healthy gig scene when they started out, it was amazing. Jamin (O’Donovan from Fred, who are also included) is from Limerick and so are We Should Be Dead, who are doing really well in the States as well, which is great.”
“That is the thing, and I realised it as soon as I started the book, that I didn't even know if I should do a Hotlist because there were so many bands to include, and we only had a finite number of pages - I'll have to get working on a follow-up,” she laughs.
‘In Bloom - Irish Bands Now” - is out now in all good bookshops. For further details see here.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
‘Good Evening New York City’
PAUL MCCARTNEY is back with his sixth solo album - eighth if you include and “official” bootleg and Wings Over America - the first ever concert recorded in the brand new Citi Field stadium in Queens, New York, opposite Shea Stadium. The latter memorably played host to one of the most famous Beatles’ concerts of their day 44 years ago, when 55,000 fans broke attendance records of the day to see the Fab Four.
On that occasion, the Beatles played for just half an hour and couldn’t hear themselves over the screaming fans that eventually led them to lock themselves away for the latter stages of their career.
On this occasion however, McCartney played for well over two hours, clocking 33 tracks and, while the screams can be heard, so too can McCartney.
And that fact is the most immediately apparent about this live album; you can hear Macca sing, and boy can he still hold a note.
From the opening buzz of ‘Drive My Car’, it is clear that McCartney has still got it, and then some.
He delves into his own Wings/solo back catalogue more often than not on the first of this two CD collection; interestingly ‘Jet’, from the Wings’ Band on the Run album, takes track two in this set-list, as it did on McCartney’s 2003 ‘Back in the World’ live album.
But the sound is all important here, and drastically improves on that previous live album.
McCartney’s voice sounds warm and full, rarely if ever cracking, while his superb band easily recreate some of that old Beatles magic, which indeed makes up more than half of the tracks on offer here.
A soaring ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is the pick of the tracks on the first CD, while a thumping ‘Back in the USSR’ opens CD two.
In fact, track two of the second CD, ‘I’m Down’ - first released as a B-side to ‘Help’ - also formed part of the Beatles setlist in Shea Stadium in 1965. On that occasion, Lennon played the keyboard with his elbows while his bandmates laughed at the ridiculousness of not being able to hear a single note that they played.
A previously unresurrected ‘Day Tripper’ and McCartney singing both vocals on the seminal ‘Day in the Life’ are show stopping moments, as is a Billy Joel duet on the bouncy ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.
McCartney finishes with ‘Sgt Peppers/The End’, as he did on his previous live album, but there is an added poignancy to the screams that rapturously receive the closing tracks here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Cheebah's Peter Curtin gave us the heads up on this one, in his words:
"Born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) was an unfocused pupil of classical piano.
However, she has come to use this background to understand and create vast soundscapes and textures through the usage of live instruments, percussion, digital manipulation, and dusty vinyls.
Through the creation of beats, she is able to fuse the sounds of the past with her musical prowess into something avant garde—all while preserving old school vibes.
Yeah, and she's got mad dope records coming on All City and Brainfeeder, played the Low End Theory and just got selected for the Red Bull Music Academy 2010. Job."
For more see here and there's a podcast with the first lady herself here.
Tokimonsta plays in the Cuckoo Box this Saturday night, no doubt along with a few of the aforementioned crews. It is also FREE, so there is no excuse for going. Starts around 9pm..
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Continuing this week in the Belltable is the Bottom Dog produced play, the Revenger’s Tragedy, the fourth play produced by the Limerick Theatre Hub.
Adapted from Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean classic text by local playwright Mike Finn, directed by Myles Breen and starring former Emmerdale actor Liam O’Brien, this piece is dripping with murder, a tragic comedy you can really get your teeth into.
The play deals with the return of ‘Vinnie’, hell bent on avenging the death of his girlfriend at the hands of the notorious Duke - played by Killinaskully’s Pascal Scott - and if it sounds like a Guy Ritchie movie, mixed with Shakespeare and moulded by Martin McDonagh, you are probably on the right track.
“I was attracted to the play originally because I just loved the title and when I read it I decided it would be fun to do an adaptation of it,” says Mike Finn.
“It is a good old fashioned play, a Jacobean revenge tragedy, and it is full of blood, lust, incest, murder - so I thought it would be interesting to do a modern take on it, because unfortunately those things are very close to us.
“One of the things we discovered about it as we went along is that it is a tragedy as the title would suggest, but we have realised that it is hilarious, sort of a black comedy. There are some real elements of farce - it is quite black, almost like a bedroom farce but with knives. It is quite mad.”
The cast is also made up of superb actress Gene Rooney, Aidan Crowe, Dorothy Cotter and Pat Ryan, with an original - and dark - score, written by Giveamanakick’s Steve Ryan.
The setting promises to be superb, utilising the versatile space of Red Cross Hall, and this play is ambitious in its scope - a fact not lost on Finn.
“It is big and ambitious and is the biggest one in terms of scale of the four, so if it fails it will be spectacular, but I would like to think the audience will come out and even if they don't think it is the greatest play in the world, they will know they have been spoken to.”
The Revenger’s Tragedy runs in the Belltable until November 24. For bookings contact 061-319866.
THE SONS of world famous Irish composer Professor Mícheál O'Súilleabháin and spiritual singer Nóirín Ní Riain were always bound to have musical talent in spades, but Eoin and Mícheál O'Súilleabháin, performing under the name Size2Shoes, certainly have the potential to stand out on their own merits.
Although they launched their debut album locally several months ago, they are only now rolling it out on a national basis.
In doing so, and with the benefit of regular gigs around the country, this musical duo have reached a level of maturity with an act they have been plugging around Limerick for several years.
The evolution of Size2Shoes has been steady, moving from raw, humorous and over-the-top double act, to polished, still humorous over-the-top double act, but yet they have perfected the art of peppering both their recordings and live performances with equal dashes of musical comedy and spine-tingling moments of clarity, when the audience/listener is forced to sit in rapt attention.
The album contains a few gems, notably the upbeat opener Take it Easy, the graceful Light in the Dark and the title track Size2Shoes. A delightful reworking of traditional favourite The Parting Glass is also superb.
The duo combine elements of Simon and Garfunkel, dashes of the Doobie Brothers and The Eagles with a distinct Irishness, indeed a sense of being from Limerick, which merely adds to their appeal.
Mícheál - better known as Moley - holds a MA in Rap Performance and rap, hip-hop and his significant beatboxing abilities make regular appearances throughout the album; this ability, coupled with the brothers’ entwining and often mesmerising vocals, being their secret weapons. Where others have failed to entrap the energy that comes from live gigs in the studio - the brothers have largely succeeded.
Their endearing nature can tend to become ever so slightly cloying and they could do with developing a slightly harder edge but, to the most part, this album succeeds with what it sets out to do.
We look forward to their next album and to the further development of this most musical of local acts.
* Size2Shoes play in Shannon Rowing Club this Saturday night, November 21, doors 9pm.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This Thursday night The Wailers return to Limerick following a superb gig earlier in the year, plus a towering performance on the main stage at Electric Picnic in September.
Centred around Aston “Family Man” Barrett - reckoned to be one of the world’s finest bass players - this is the seminal Wailers line-up, not to be confused with other imitations.
Barrett and his deceased brother Carly, along with Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh made up The Wailers, and Barrett is continuing to perpetuate that mantle 40 years later.
Family Man and lead singer Elan Atias form the main axis of the current Wailers line-up, Atias sounding uncannily like Marley when the band visited Dolan’s in February and performed the seminal ‘Exodus’ album in full, Time magazine’s album of the 20th Century.
Atias was recruited in 1997 by former Wailers’ guitarist Al Anderson, who, together with Junior Marvin, also perform as the Wailers, but are described as a “rogue” band by Atias.
“There’s this rogue band that’s been going around saying they’re ‘The Original Wailers’ and they’re basically a cover band (with) guitarists that used to be in the band.
They’re going around saying they’re us, which is pretty funny,” Atias said in a recent interview. While Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh left the band in 1973, Family Man was ever present with Marley up to his death, to the point that he sued Marley's estate a couple of years ago, citing a right to royalties he was promised but never got.
He was unsuccessful in that bid, but together with new heir Atias, is preparing to release a new album under the Wailers title, featuring previously unused recordings by his drummer brother, Carly, discovered after his death.
“Family had a bunch of tapes of drum tracks made by his brother, Carly, before he died, “ said Atias.
“We started all these new tracks from them and then Family would lay down the bass and everybody would do their stuff.
“The whole idea is to bring the tracks to contemporary artists and other big artists from different genres to add their own vibes and write new lyrics to sing on top of this classic, Wailers-sounding material.”
The Wailers play in Dolan's Warehouse this Thursday night, doors 9pm. Support on the night comes from the local Roots Factory crew - get down early, bbq will kick the night off..
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Swell Season
THE ACCOMPANYING press notes with this album reveal it as documenting a time of “great change, tumult and progression”.
Given that Oscar winning duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova reached such highs and bottomed out to a point where their relationship buckled under the strain of its intensity, that might just be the understatement of the year.
Interestingly the duo remain friends and have produced a delightful record that echoes elements of that strain and break-up but does not focus on it, produced by Peter Katis, who has worked with The National and Interpol, an ideal background, one feels, for this project.
This is, for all intents and purposes, a Frames record, the likes of which we haven’t heard since seminal offerings Dance the Devil and For The Birds; with the addition of Irglova’s effortlessly gorgeous vocals and warmth, the perfect foil to Hansard’s sometime glum nature.
The delightful ‘In These Arms’ is an early highlight, the Czech ingénue’s piano twisting delicately and intricately among the Frames (almost all of them are here, so why not refer to them as such) moody brand of Irish rock.
‘The Rain’ is superb; Colm MacCon Iomaire’s goosebump-inducing violin screeching in the background, the song building to a soaring finish that recent albums Burn The Maps and The Cost never reached for the Irish band.
Irglova takes over on ‘Fantasy Man’, a lovely ditty of a song that evokes her memorable walk through the streets in Once singing “If You Want Me”.
The highlights come thick and fast as the album progresses; the bassy, up tempo High Horses stopping abruptly on the line “we’ve gone as far as we can go”, violin holding the note in anticipation; the epic ‘I Have Loved You Wrong’ burnishing with emotion; the banjo-driven ‘Love That Conquers’ evocative of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s ever-so gently countrified offerings; the gloriously downbeat ‘Back Broke’ finishing the album - “back broke and happy; cause you’re nearer to me” - in wonderful style.
A wonderful album, probably - and unfortunately - made better by the heartbreak suffered in its making. Fabulous.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
LIKE MANY people, when I saw the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Nine guys, all from Chicago, touting battered brass instruments - tubas, trombones, trumpets - swaying and swinging as they performed their unique brand of tight, highly composed hip-hop/jazz instrumentalism.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Pink - real name Alecia Beth Moore - has sold in the region of 30 million albums worldwide and is the first act to be confirmed for next summer’s gigs in the €40m stadium.
The American singer will bring her theatrical ‘Funhouse Summer Carnival’ show to Limerick’s Thomond Park on Saturday, June 20 2010.
Aiken Promotions confirmed to the Limerick Leader that the self styled rock chick will perform a huge outdoor show in Thomond Park next June, and while a spokesperson denied that there were other acts already booked for next summer, the Limerick Leader understands that up to four dates have been provisionally booked in the stadium, which memorably played host to Elton John and Rod Stewart this year.
Pink will play three open air shows in Ireland next summer, with shows at Belfast’s King’s Hall Complex and Dublin’s RDS preceding the Thomond Park gigs. T
he news will come as a considerable boost to the local economy, as a recent survey conducted by BDO Simpson Xavier on behalf of Munster Rugby determined that the Elton John concert generated €9.9 million for the local economy, with 13 local hotels reporting 100 per cent occupancy. It is believed that the Rod Stewart concert had a similar impact.
While Aiken and Thomond Park undoubtedly played safe with the first series of gigs, they are aiming for a younger market with the selection of Pink, who has sold a massive number of tickets worldwide, including 58 sold out arena shows in Australia and several sold out shows in Ireland this year.
The Pennsylvania-born performer released her first album “Can't Take Me Home” in 2000, while 2002’s follow-up Missundaztood sold an estimated 13 million copies worldwide. Her present album “Funhouse” has also clocked up massive sales around the world, with lead single “So What” taking Pink to her first Billboard number one American chart success.
Tickets for the concert will go on sale from Ticketmaster outlets and Empire Music on O’Connell Street next Friday, October 23, at 9am.
General admission tickets will be priced at €58.30, while seated tickets will be available for €63.20.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The “Just Writing My Name” graffiti jam - the first international graffiti event to take place in Ireland - attracted 20 artists from across Europe who showcased their abilities on special wooden boards erected for the occasion.
A large crowd gathered for the event, which was held on October 3 last. Two of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, Klark Kent and Cantwo, were among those who attended the event, which was hosted by the O’Connell Street-based graffiti shop South Central LK and Montana Cans, a European spray-paint supplier.
Nick Bromfield, local musician and graffiti artist, who helped organise the event, said the resulting works were “world standard art” and expressed his delight at how successfully the event was run.
He explained that the individual pieces were “very bright, very colourful” and that the style was important.
"In graffiti terms it is called writing - a lot of letter styles that would be very distinctive, every artist has a different style,” explained Nick.
The pieces will now be installed in the Church Gallery, on LSAD’s Clare Street campus, a move that local Councillor Tom Shortt - who supported the festival - said was “significant”.
“I am happy to see the works going into an exhibition so people will have a second chance to see the work and see the finished products,” explained Cllr Shortt.
“Hopefully this will continue the debate about youth culture and maybe get people interested and get a designated and dedicated space to this type of art. It is a significant project and important that it came to Limerick and shows that culturally, there is great activity and vitality in the city.”
The Labour councillor dismissed recent calls by a fellow councillor that banning spray paint was a way to combat so-called random graffiti.
“I know the problems, I have condemned random graffiti and tried to steer it into a positive, structured situation and this is the way forward. Banning these products is not the way forward and is oppressive; we should liberate young people by supporting them,” he added.
The graffiti exhibition will open on Monday, October 19 next at 7.30pm and run until Friday, October 23.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I ATTENDED the opening night of the latest Limerick Theatre Hub venture last night, Don Juan In Hell, by GB Shaw and directed by Killaloe man Duncan Molly.
The piece boasts both superb staging and performances - particularly Limerick man Darragh Bradshaw's impressive (statuesque?) puppetry performance.
There is some serious, meaty subject matter in here, but a delightful witty strand permeates the philosophical debate that takes place, primarily between Don Juan and the Devil.
It would be superb if local audiences came out and supported this play, which runs in the Belltable until October 24.
See preview article below.
LIMERICK THEATRE audiences will be transported to “hell and back again” this week as the entertaining and much anticipated ‘Don Juan In Hell’ opens in the Belltable on Wednesday night.
The piece, the latest in the Limerick Theatre Hub venture, deals with infamous literary character Don Juan and his travails in hell - and is based on the play written by famous Irish author George Bernard Shaw.
It promises to be a hilarious and visually arresting piece, given the ambitious set design and puppetry, created by Limerick man Darragh Bradshaw.
Killaloe man Duncan Molloy directs a cracking cast of actors including Martin McGuire - well-known from his work on The Tudors and The Clinic - as well as Fair City regulars Nathan Gordon and Eilish O’Donnell.
“What we are trying to do is not have it as a classical, ‘ye-olde’ play and instead try and look at it from a different point of view,” explained Duncan.
“It is not strictly an adaptation because we are not drastically changing the setting of it or anything, we are just trying to play around with it and have a bit of fun with it,” he added.
The premise of the story is that Don Juan has been dragged to hell by the his former lover’s father, who he killed in a duel.
When she in turn dies after a long and happy life, she awakens to the appalling realisation that she is also in hell, with Don Juan, who is by now great friends with her father, who likes to pop down occasionally from heaven. If it sounds like a romp, that is what Duncan had in mind.
“The idea is that if we all could do whatever we want it would be grand, but what's the point? If we are not going to get punished for doing bad, then why do good at all? It goes from there,” laughed Duncan.
“The main thing is, it is a bit of a laugh - Shaw is very, very funny, whether you read him on a page or aloud. So we are just trying to bring that out, have a few gags and a bit of a laugh on stage,” said Duncan.
Don Juan In Hell opens in the Belltable @ 36 Cecil Street this Wednesday at 8pm. It runs until October 24 and tickets are available on 061-319866.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
THIS album has been sitting on my desk for the past couple of weeks, just in my sight line, pleading with me to take it home and listen to its undoubted highlights.
The reason for my procrastination? Muse are simply a hard band to like.
They are without doubt one of the biggest bands in the world at this moment, their live shows unrivalled in terms of thrills and spills and sheer magnitude. On record however, they have struggled to replicate their massive sound to my satisfaction, with 2003’s Absolution the exception to the rule.
Interestingly, Muse seemed to have toned down the theatrics on this album, the woozy space rock of their earlier efforts replaced by a taut and fine direction.
Muse have gained a status as world leaders in epic, post-classical rock and fans will not be disappointed with this offering, but perhaps new fans might appreciate it more.
The arpeggio guitar treats on Resistance, the title track, are faintly reminiscent of Radiohead, at least until the very-Muse like piano kicks in and singer Matt Bellamy starts warbling. But there is a restraint here that is refreshing, the band abruptly breaking into territory more normally inhabited by the Who for the refrain - “it could be wrong, it could be wrong, it could never last”. Opener Uprising is admittedly less restrained, Battles like guitars and Dr. Who esque klaxon calls stuffed into its body.
The New Order synthesizer beat of Undisclosed Desires sees the band display a previously unheard harmonising and emotion, and it is impressive.
But the biggest eye-opener is the Queen sound on the opus United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage, a grandiose clarion call to arms.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Muse album without some form of overblown opus - the end of the album concluding with the three part Exogenesis Symphony - parts one, two and three, which can only be described as, a bit like Bellamy, totally barmy and almost existing in Star Wars territory (so much for restraint) but also absolutely superb.
Looks like Muse might have one more fan.
‘Rebuilt by Humans’
BEARDED, dreadlocked troubadour Newton Faulkner returns with ‘Rebuilt by Humans’, the follow-up - we are told by the sticker on the front cover - to the million selling 2007 debut Hand Built By Robots.
The success of that album owed much to Faulkner’s - real name Sam - interesting guitar playing abilities, live performances and, cynically, the presence of a admittedly rather decent cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop.
Watching Faulkner at the recent Cois Fharraige festival it is clear that, cycnism aside, this guy is a superb musician, capable of producing full band-like performances by himself.
The soft twinkling guitar ‘Intro’ opens the album and segues effortlessly into the super-cool ‘Badman’, an early highlight, Faulkner’s funky rhythm’s driving the song.
At first listen follower ‘I Took It Out On You’ seems to stray dangerously close to boyband, X-factor territory, but is rescued by Faulkner’s engaging, gravely vocals and well-crafted musicianship.
Faulkner clearly likes his interludes, the 30 second snatch of ‘Hello’ preceding the emotional ‘If This Is It’ - another close skirmish with Ronan Keating territory, which thankfully comes through the other side owing to the presence of heavy orchestration and Faulkner’s howling vocals.
Other highlights are the effortlessly impressive and dark, didgeridoo driven Resin On My Heart Strings, the jazzy Let’s Get Together, Faulkner sounding eerily like Tom Baxter and the delicate This Town.
Unfortunately the album is let down by ill-advised efforts like Lipstick Jungle and the fact that, at 19 tracks, it is simply too long and too near soppy, wind in the hair ballads for my liking. RATING 2/5
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Casting an ever so slightly green eye over the buzzing music scene in his home town, he subtly displays a slight hankering for the connections between the various acts in Limerick.
However, the strength of his band lies in the fact that he has assembled an international cast with members hailing from Italy to Sweden, leading to a dynamic and diverse sound that is ear-catching.
“Limerick is a place that has a really good music scene, I was almost envious that I didn't start the band here because there seems to be a lot of really good bands and there is a good connection between them,” says Emmet.
He cites the recent ‘Tonelist’ collection of local artists as proof of this “connection”.
“That sort of thing doesn't happen in Galway as much, in Limerick people seem to come out and support bands and I would love to be able to play at home more often,” he adds.
Formed in 2004 around the Tig Neachtain pub in Galway where the Newcastle West man found himself after a period of travel, Emmet Scanlan and What The Good Thought are a delightfully diverse five-piece featuring Alan Preims, percussionist from Italy, classical guitarist Peter Akerstrom from Sweden, Scottish cellist Nicola Geddes and Irish bass player Cathal Doherty. The group released debut album ‘Hands’ in March, a collection of evocative soundscapes filled with lush instrumentation.
Think Spanish guitar fused with light fingered tabla percussion, gorgeous cello parts infused with Scanlan’s Anthony Keidis-esque vocals. In a word, the international scope of this band has transformed and moulded Scanlan’s undoubtedly strong songs; think of One Day International and you wouldn’t be far off.
“I played in bands over the years with guys that I grew up with, but we all grew up listening to the same stuff - so the ideas were coming from more or less the same source,” says Scanlan.
“But all the lads in the band now, the type of music and artist that they would be into would be quite different from what I would ever have heard of and it has opened me up to new music and opened up a lot of ideas and styles, which is great.
“The formation of the band was all very much coincidence and when it seemed to be turning out that way I was delighted. I was working in a bar in Galway and I had been travelling for a year and writing songs, but I wanted to get an original band together to showcase the songs - I didn't know what I was doing really, except that I wanted to get a bunch of musicians together. I got to know these guys through working in the bar and bombarded them and that is how it all began,” he explains.
The result has been tours of the States with the Saw Doctors, invitations to the International Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis and positive reviews of their eclectic debut album.
This summer also saw the band play support to Femi Kuti in the Big Top in Galway and as part of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The band are now gearing up to play nearly 20 dates from here to Christmas and are hoping to record some new material for release early next year.
First, they play at the Belltable Sessions this Thursday night - a rare hometown gig for Emmet to get his teeth into.
“The idea of the Belltable sessions seems to suit our style, it will be nice because we have worked over the last while on having our set to cater to the environment we play in, so it is nice to be able to do both larger, louder venues and smaller, intimate venues. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Emmet Scanlan and What The Good Thought play the Belltable Sessions this Thursday night, with support from Kev Fox, Sí and Beautiful Rooms. Doors at 8pm.
‘You Can Make Sound’
AGAINST all the odds, Delorentos have produced a follow-up to 2007’s excellent debut, In Love With Detail. Following a ‘will-they, won’t-they’ shaky period in the life of the Dublin band, the quartet are set to release You Can Make Sound this Friday, amidst a quiet sigh of relief in several quarters.
The news that the band were to split at the beginning of the year was greeted with universal shock in Irish music circles, the Malahide band seen as one of the stronger outfits on the go.
The band, who were feted here and particularly abroad as the leading light among modern Irish rock bands, all jangly guitar hooks and killer choruses - declared that lead singer Ronan Yourell was to leave the band.
This followed a period where the band suffered record company setbacks and were, by their own admission, “burnt out”. However, before Yourell left, there was the matter of recording another album and playing some farewell gigs, and, as that progressed, he decided the output was too strong to walk away from.
It seems Irish super-producer Gareth Mannix was the glue that kept this band together, guiding them through a “cathartic process” and allowing them to re-discover their love for recording and playing music, and You Can Make Sound is the result.
Bassist Níal Conlan told this reporter that the album would contain more depth, reflect broader influences and concentrate more on structure as a result.
Although they have moved slightly from the more generic, 4X4 stadium rock that impressed on their debut, Delorentos have not gone and reinvented the wheel on this album, mining influences as broad as early Bloc Party, Editors and particularly, The Bravery.
Several songs on this album sound uncannily like that New York band, notably the opener Sanctuary, Hallucinations and Leave Me Alone.
The catchy riffs on Secret, the first single released from the album, make it more of a Delorentos song, and you will be doing well not to be humming the chorus for days after hearing it.
There is a nice change of pace on You Say You’ll Never Love Her and Leave Me Alone, delicate, emotional songs both - the latter on which Yourell sings “it’s a little too late for us to change”.
We don’t agree, as these songs demonstrate, Delorentos can take the tempo down, a fear that presented itself after their first album, which was mostly pepped up on youthful exuberance. The engaging Editorial and Body Cold are somewhat let down by Let The Light Go Out and the ill-advised Soulmate, but the album finishes on a high with the piano-driven, harmony filled I Remember.
However, it is the penultimate track, which the album is named after, that impresses the most, the distinctive rhythm and effortless cool of You Can Make Sound reinforcing the notion that this is one of the best Irish bands around. Let’s hope they can stay together for album number three. www.myspace.com/delorentos
Download: Sanctuary, You Can Make Sound
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
The show will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the release of their debut single “Chime” and follows their headline slot at Electric Picnic last month, which was greeted with mixed reviews.
This reporter found their set a bit lifeless and montonous, the glorious 'Belfast' aside, which was as good as any moment from the weekend.
However, a legion of electro fans will await this much anticipated indoor gig in Tripod - which might well hit the heights of their many fabled live gigs from years gone by.
According to the lads this is not an exercise in nostalgia:
“It’s not an exercise in nostalgia at all, the time just seems right,” says Phil. “They came to us with the offer, and everything just seemed to fall into place. Also the timing seems good: 20 years of being together.”
“Audience reaction is part of the process,” Paul explains, “It really becomes like a friendly football match between you and the crowd. That was always one of our strong points - and for people to say that about an electronic band is a real honour, because it’s the one genre of music that’s normally crap live.
“We’ve got 15 years of active service, making songs,” Paul says. “If you boil that down to a 90-minute festival set you should get something thoroughly good from beginning to end. Let’s put some fun back into it.”
Tickets are €42.50/49.50 (inc. booking fee) and available from Ticketmaster and usual outlets. Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow.
Friday, October 2, 2009
A GROUP of Limerick bands are to come together for a gig in aid of the Gerard McDonnell Memorial Fund this Saturday.
Ger, the Kilcornan mountaineer who was the first Irishman to summit K2, died tragically on his descent a little over a year ago and his family and friends have set up the fund to assist the children of those Pakistani and Nepalese climbers who also lost their lives on K2: Jehan Baig, Karim Meherban, Jumik Bhote and Pasang Bhote.
In conjunction with The Mountain Fund charity, the fund will sponsor these children throughout their childhood years, helping with their education and medical care. Local musician Patrick O’Brien, of the band Last Days of Death Country, was a friend of the gregarious Ger and was keen to organise a gig in aid of the charity in his name.
Five well known bands from the Limerick scene have come together to play in Dolan’s Warehouse, and each have a connection with Ger.
“These are bands which would be known on the Limerick music scene,” said Patrick, adding that Ger was, himself, interested in music and had his own band in Alaska.
“I would have introduced Ger to these bands and he loved them,” Patrick added. “There is a very important connection with Ger in all of this. And I believe it will be a fantastic night. It will be music straight through from 9.30pm.”
Joining the excellent Last Days of Death Country are; Walter Mitty and the Realists, who have just locally released their superb debut album Green Light Go and are preparing to make their way to Canada, where they have a large following; Windings, featuring Steve Ryan of Giveamanakick fame, but now well established in their own right; local pop-rock band Supermodel Twins, of whom great things are expected when they release an album and Ennis based artist Vertigo Smyth, who won a prize at the Galway Film Fleadh for his song Comfort Me.
“It’s a fantastic lineup,” Patrick enthused, “and everything is going to the fund. Please help us help them, the children, and come support this great fund. Even if you can’t make it put it on your Bebo, Facebook, whatever websites to get the word out about it.”
The gig will take place in Dolan’s Warehouse this Saturday. Tickets cost €10 at the door or can be bought online. Donations can also be made to the fund by buying tickets. For full details on the fund go to www.mountainfund.org.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Minister launched the next productions in the ‘Elements: A Season of Theatre’ series, an Arts Council funded initiative that has, in the absence of a professional theatre company in Limerick, seen four productions funded and developed locally, featuring local performers. Despite recommendations in the Government commissioned ‘McCarthy Report’ that funding for the arts be dramatically scaled back, Minister O’Dea told the Limerick Chronicle that he was “reasonably hopeful” that a certain level of funding can be maintained to this area.
“I would be reasonably hopeful we would be able to maintain a reasonable level of funding for the arts, it is very important,” said Minister O’Dea.
The ‘Elements’ series has already seen two professional productions staged in the Belltable, with two more to come in October and November - ‘Don Juan in Hell’ directed by Duncan Molloy and ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ adapted by Mike Finn.
All four productions received a total funding of €90,000 from the Arts Council, a far cry short of the usual cost of producing professional theatre.
“This is a classic example of how to get the best value for money - they have got so much for so little here, it shows the money can be spent to great effect,” said Minister O’Dea.
“The arts are very important and are even more important in a recession, because the country is not just about an economy, it is about society as well.
The Minister added: “Good local theatre certainly fosters community spirit and there is a lot of potential ability out there that can be tapped by having access to good local theatre, and that is what this is about essentially”.
Joanne Beirne, artistic director with the Belltable, said that audience support is essential to the continuing success of the initiative.
“You can't have pieces without an audience and we value our patrons very much and hope to engage them a lot more,” said Joanne.
“The audiences are really important to us and we hope to produce more work like this, but we are going to need their support in order to do that.
“We are on a really tight budget - a normal theatre production can be anywhere from €50,000-150,000 - we are doing four for €90,000, so it is certainly a huge feat and all the artists involved and performers have worked their socks off.”
Don Juan in Hell, adapted from a George Bernard Shaw play, will premiere and run in the Belltable from October 14-24.
(pictured l-r Joanne Beirne, Minister Willie O'Dea and John Gleeson, courtesy Owen South)