Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Modest Mouse will not be coming to Limerick this December

Despite much online speculation, which was reported here as elsewhere, it seems that the rumours surrounding Modest Mouse's potential gig in Dolan's on December 5 will not be going ahead.

According to Dolan's: "Contrary to online rumours Modest Mouse will not be playing Dolans this December. There was a whisper of it happening some weeks ago but in the end the band have decided to play just Dublin this time around.
We will endeavour to catch them on their next European tour".

The band will play the Academy on December 7, so looks like Limerick fans will have to travel to catch this gig.
Seems that Modest Mouse are to play in are to play in the Radisson in Galway on December 5, the night they were rumoured to be playing Limerick. The Academy gig has sold out for Dec 7 but there is one on the Tuesday night also on sale. Thanks to Ciaran for the heads up. Full ticket listings on Ticketmaster.
I'm reliably informed that there may yet be hope for the Modest Mouse gig in Dolan's.. watch this space... Actually watch this blog, to be more precise...!

New series of plays launched in the Belltable

MINISTER for Defence Willie O’Dea launched the next in the series of plays forming part of the Limerick Theatre Hub in the Belltable Arts Centre this Monday evening.
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)

Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring

Noah and the Whale
The First Days of Spring
I LOVE it when a band tries to confound expectations; most fail miserably and end up repeating the same hogwash that scored them a top five hit in the UK charts - either unwilling or unable to change tack from a musical style that brought them limited attention and radio airplay. However, intentional or not, that is not the case here with Noah and the Whale’s second album, the follow-up to the reasonably successful debut Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down.
While that album was, well generally not really that great, the radio exposure afforded to happy clappy, whistle laden, folksy track Five Years Time saw the quirky, Twickenham based band receive some attention.
Thus, in this cynical world, the expectation might have been for the band to try and replicate the success of that single with their second album, released only a year after their debut offering. But where that song saw the band score with airplay, it was wholly unrepresentative of the rest of a fairly dour and underwhelming debut that tried hard to be quirky and preppy, yet dissolved into pretension.
Not so with the follow-up.
While many could, and probably will, level accusations at Noah and the Whale for producing what seems, at first glance, a quite depressing album, this is simply incorrect.
Film is a fascination for this band, and particularly singer and songwriter Charlie Fink, and this album is intended to accompany a film of the same name.
As such, there is a cinematic approach to this moody and claustrophobic album; split into three parts, or acts - act one and three consisting of four songs - while the middle coda contains two instrumental songs and a third, Sufjan Stevens-inspired orchestral piece called ‘Love of an Orchestra’, a stirring, emotion-fuelled song that sees Fink declare, ‘I know I’ll be lonely / I got songs in my blood / I’m carrying all the love of an orchestra’.
The Sigur Ros-esque sweep of the eponymous opening track sets the tone for the album, which is ostensibly a ‘break-up’ album, semi-autobiographically documenting Fink’s split from former singer Laura Marling. But there is greater depth and feeling here than some jilted lover’s grumblings.
The sublime, deliciously countrified My Broken Heart and the gorgeously slow and fulfilling pastoral folky sounds of Slow Glass are two absolute standouts, but both even are eclipsed by Blue Skies, as Fink says, “a song for anyone with a broken heart”.
However, he promises that ‘blue skies are coming’, and you can’t help but feel that the same is coming for this band, who have produced a visual masterpiece that hardly needs the film that is set to accompany it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Just Writing My Name" - International graffiti session to take place in Limerick this weekend

LIMERICK is to play host to some of the top graffiti artists in the world this weekend, as the first ever international graffiti session to take place in Ireland is hosted in the city.
Over 20 artists from across Europe will gather in Limerick’s Skatepark for the “Just Writing My Name” graffiti jam, hosted by the O’Connell Street-based graffiti shop South Central LK and Montana Cans, a European spray-paint supplier.
Two of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, Klark Kent and Cantwo, will be among those travelling to the city for the event.
“This is world standard art, the artists that are attending are world class and world renowned,” explained Nick Bromfield, local musician and artist, who is involved with the event.
“There are 20 plus artists attending and we are going to put up boards around the skate park that they will use.
It will all be very bright, very colourful. In graffiti terms it is called writing - a lot of letter styles that would be very distinctive, every artist has a different style,” added Nick.
The Montana sponsored “Just Writing My Name” festival is a major one that travels the world and it is a significant coup for Limerick that it has secured such an event.
The graffiti festival will begin at 10am this Saturday in Limerick Skatepark and is a family-friendly event. Admission is free and there will be music, street performances, skateboard demonstrations and much more.
For more see today's Limerick Chronicle.
(pic (c) Emma Jervis/Press 22)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Culture Night 2009 and Tweak in Limerick

LIMERICK was awash with colour and vitality as people of all ages re-discovered their city last Friday as part of ‘Culture Night 2009’. From 5pm last Friday evening a genuine air of excitement filtered through the city as arts and cultural venues opened their doors to the public for free as part of the national event and thousands of excited onlookers hit the streets. Families, in particular, were a highlight of the evening as parents shepherded their children through exhibits in King John’s Castle, Limerick City Museum, dance lessons in Daghdha and film in the Belltable. Limerick Printmakers and the Hunt Museum proved especially popular with the younger culture seekers. In Limerick Printmakers, based on Robert Street, children were invited to come along and print their own t-shirts, which they did ecstatically. Alan Crowley was one of those helping the children print their shirts in the studio and by about 6.30pm, reckoned he had done “more than 20 t-shirts in the past hour”. “I’ve done so many in the last hour I’ve lost count,” laughed Alan. “I think the kids are really into the DIY-aspect of this activity and it is bringing life into a place that is usually only inhabited by artists and students.” Eight year old Asha Golden from Corbally, told the Limerick Leader that she “loves art”. “We had a great time, I'm really looking forward to collecting my t-shirt,” said Asha. “I'm going to hang the poster I made up on my wall,” she added. Limerick author and playwright Mary Coll was in Limerick Printmakers with her daughters, Ellen and Katherine. “It is great that so many people came out so early in the evening and brought their kids along with them,” said Mary. “The good thing is it is not just all the usual faces that you see at arts events, I think it is important that it seems to be the general public that came out.” In the Hunt Museum, amidst the impressive Sean Keating exhibition and the permanent collection, a large group of kids chattered excitedly as they painted in the lobby of the building. Naomi O’Nolan, administrator with the Hunt Museum, said that the initiative was a “terrific” one. “It is terrific to see so many people here, the kids are having great fun, they are doing their cave art, we have a costume workshop and art quiz, so there are loads of fun things for them,” said Naomi. A huge amount of events took place around the city and all were very well attended, according to Limerick City Arts Officer Sheila Deegan. “It went very well indeed and a lot more people came out this year than last,” said Sheila this Monday morning. “The night definitely captured the imagination and the venues that opened their doors really appreciate the turnout - we are delighted,” she added.

ALSO taking place on Friday evening was the final night of the rather excellent Tweak exhibition in Church Gallery, Clare Street.
A hugely impressive series of electronic art installations, the exhibition saw a great many visitors, housed as it was in the impressive Church Gallery in LSAD.
Tweak also played host to the Digital Slaves and one half of UK dj-duo The Herbaliser on Friday nght; both of whom combined to dramatic effect in the courtyard of Trinity Rooms - the Digital Slaves performing their innovative brand of live performance art through a visual show on the walls of the courtyard, and DJ Ollie Teeba whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his entertaining blend of hip-hop and house tunes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tweak Festival, Digital Slaves, Culture Night 2009

Digital Slaves [RT Virtual Calligraphy] from Digital Slaves on Vimeo.

This is going to be a monster post, because there is literally tons of fun stuff happening on Friday night in the city - who ever said there was nothing to do? WAKE UP!
As it is Culture Night 2009 - when arts and cultural venues throw open their doors for free to punters - we are celebrating all things 'culture', but the one thing we are EXTREMELY excited about is the arrival of the 'Digital Slaves' for their very first appearance in Ireland. These innovative multimedia DJs/VJs/artists will be performing their brand of amazing visuals and accompanying tunes - with full projections (like the one above) on the front walls of the Hunt Museum.
This performance is part of the excellent Tweak festival, an interactive art and live electronic music shindig that has been going on all week, courtesy of Nora O'Murchu, a UL Phd student, see piece that follows:

ONE of the most intriguing and innovative festivals ever to grace Limerick returns this week with a wild variety of events.
The second ‘Tweak’ festival - an interactive art and live electronic music festival -began this Monday night with the opening of a quirky exhibition in Church Gallery, Clare Street.
The international electronic arts exhibition will run for five days and feature some renowned Irish and international artists, while a number of workshops and live music events will take place throughout the week.
The festival is the brainchild of Nora O’Murchu, who did an MA in Interactive Media in UL and is currently studying for her PHd. ‘Interactive’ is a watchword for the festival, it seems.

“All the pieces are based on having some kind of engagement with the audience, every piece you can touch and interact with, it is not like going to some gallery - we very much want people to touch and get involved with the artworks,” explained Nora.
“I wanted to curate an interactive, digital arts festival, because there is a lot of talent in Ireland and I felt it was something we needed. I didn't really know what to expect last year but the reaction, not even just locally, but internationally, has been amazing.”
As a result Nora has put together an exhibition and festival that boast artists from “New York to Thailand”, with the result being a festival she hopes will “amuse or amaze” those who go along to the various events.
The exhibition itself is a unique one, featuring pieces such as ‘Carry On’ by American-based artist Fernando Orellana - essentially a pair of suitcases with LCD screens and cameras that capture the onlooker - and ‘Species Dialogue’ by UK artist Julie Freeman, which features two pieces that communicate with each other. The exhibition must be seen to be believed.
A number of workshops will take place throughout the week in order to show people the application of programming languages and electronics, according to Nora.
Also taking place is a number of live performances and talks, beginning with a talk by influential interactive design outfit ‘This Happened’, a first to take place in Ireland. The infamous ‘Noise Night’ will also return on Wednesday night in St. Munchin’s Church and feature a number of Irish electronic artists. Irish sound art composers and practitioners will also perform in the Church on Thursday night as part of ‘Soundings’, while Culture Night on Friday night will see UK artists Digital Slaves perform a special visual performance show on the front of the Hunt Museum at 8pm.
‘Tweak Cinema’ will take place on Saturday at 3pm on Bedford Row, before the festival comes to an end with an after party in Bentley Barkers on Saturday night.
For full details see

As part of Tweak, Ollie Teeba (above), better known as The Herbaliser, will be performing in the Trinity Rooms courtyard on Friday night. Teeba, one of the foremost UK
producers and dj's with releases on Ninja Tune, K7 and more, is actually one half of Herbaliser, a tight-funk duo who like to lavish their tunes with dollops of jazz and electronica. They are responsible for seminal release "Same as it Never Was" - and this performance will also feature live visuals from Digital Slaves, as well as support from Code and Razor. Admission is FREE before 10pm and just a mere 5 bobs afterward, with admission to the club thrown in!

Taking place throughout the evening, from 5pm, is Culture Night 2009, in venues all over town. Full piece below, click on the links for full details of events, times and places, etc.

FOR all those living in Limerick City completely unaware of the depth of culture around them, this Friday is the chance to “see all sorts” as the city throws open the doors of its cultural venues to the public for free.
Culture Night 2009 aims to celebrate the rich arts and cultural life in the city with a vast programme of events that will leave you “spoiled for choice”, in the words of Limerick City Arts Officer Sheila Deegan.
“This year you have five hours to go around the city; you can participate in ‘Dance Chaos’ in Daghdha, print your own T-Shirt in Limerick Printmakers, see Limerick Youth Theatre in Limerick City Gallery of Art, get free tours of the Sean Keating art exhibition in the Hunt Museum - so you are spoiled for choice,” explained Sheila.
This is the second year Culture Night will take place in Limerick, with over 5,000 people turning out last year to visit the various venues located around the city.
Sheila further explained that the night offered an opportunity to “become an ambassador” for the city.
“The idea is that by participating in this you are able to become an ambassador for your own city because you are able to tell people what to go and see,” explained Ms Deegan.
“The idea is that culture, obviously, is made up of all sorts of things - it is from the past, the present and you could possible say it is from the future, for example we have the Tweak festival, which is a digital arts media festival at the Arts College.
“We are encouraging people to come out and experience the past through the museums that are here, as well as the present through the people living and working as artists in Limerick and also the venues that provide culture to us on a daily basis,” she said.
For full information on Culture Night 2009 see

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Coors Light 'Peak' gig on Limerick Docks

LIMERICK Docks was transformed into an outdoor music venue for one night only on Saturday night, as the Coors Light ‘Peak’ concert drew hundreds of revellers down to the banks of the River Shannon to hear some fine music.
The free concert took place on Steamboat Quay in the shadow of the Clarion Hotel, with large mounds of scrap metal acting as intriguing backdrops.
Local band Walter Mitty and the Realists, along with local DJ Brigadier JC, were selected to fill a much coveted spot on a bill which also included well-known Irish acts Dark Room Notes and R.S.A.G. and UK indie band Reverend and the Makers.
This was the popular Sheffield band’s second appearance in Limerick this year and loud-mouth frontman Jon McClure told the crowd Limerick was a “lovely spot”.
McClure told the Limerick Leader that Limerick is a “lovely kind of cool town” and that he had a “wicked gig”.

The gig was particularly notable for the use of a space normally reserved for rusting metal and a number of shipping containers were used to create a sort of amphitheatre effect, while a large canopy covered the crowd, which, in the event of it being such a fine evening, was not required. Local photographer Ken Coleman had been commissioned to create some visual projections, which danced their way across the metal containers while the bands entertained the crowds. “The idea is to use shipyards and ports - custom building venues out of unconventional sites," said a spokesperson for Coors Light.
"Limerick was chosen as the first venue for this series of gigs because it is seen as having lots going on and being quite forward thinking,” added the spokesperson.
A specially designed stage and screen was custom built for the event, as was a bar made from a 40 foot shipping container. Kicking off at 6pm on a fine and warm September evening, local rock band Walter Mitty and the Realists were given the opening slot and wowed the crowd with their frenetic Talking Heads-esque brand of rock, playing songs almost exclusively from their very recently locally released debut album, Green Light Go.

(All pics courtesy of Ken Coleman)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

News, news and more news

I'm still catching my tail a bit having been off on holidays, gallavanting at the various festivals around the country. Here is some garbled news that has arrived on my desk over the last few days/weeks:

  • Vampire Weekend are to release a follow up to the superb debut xxx on January 8th in Ireland. It's called Contra and will be out on XL Recordings. Track-list:

1. Horchata
2. White Sky
3. Holiday
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
6. Run
7. Cousins
8. Giving Up The Gun
9. Diplomat’s Son
10. I Think Ur A Contra

See here for more details.

  • The mighty Modest Mouse are to play in Dolan's Warehouse on December 5, very very exciting news, as reported by State. More details when I sniff them out.

  • The Coors Light Peak event takes place this Saturday from 7pm on Limerick Docks, featuring Reverend and the Makers, RSAG, Dark Room Notes and local lads Walter Mitty and the Realists and Brigadier JC. Woop! FREE tickets available here... Previous story with more details here.

  • On the Beat favourites The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra have released a delightful new single 'Soon', the second release from their forthcoming album Lowering the Tone, available 'soon' we are told! Available for download here.

  • The second Tweak festival starts on Monday and we are very excited about it. Full piece below.
ONE of the most interesting and innovative festivals to take place in Limerick in recent years was “Tweak”, an interactive art and live electronic music festival that was run to huge success last year.
The festival is returning again this year and will run for six days beginning next Monday, with the aim of promoting “understanding of the use of technology within our cultural, social and digital world with a contemporary approach to interactive art and live electronic music performance”.
Nora O’Murchu is director of Tweak and explained that the festival’s “primary focus is on interactive art and audience engagement”.
“Installations and performances are chosen both upon their ability to connect with their environment and viewer inclusion in this exchange,” explained Nora, “and while the template is largely the same as last year, there has been a shift towards evening events and exhibitions this year.”
The festival will host an international array of speakers, performers, designers, exhibitions, films, visual artists, and djs from an eclectic range of backgrounds.
There is also an educational element to Tweak and as such three full-day workshops with leading practitioners in the field of programming, electronics and interactive design will take place over the course of the week.
There will also be a five day international electronic arts exhibition, along with a collection of sound-works from contemporary Irish composers and access will be completely free of charge. Several of the events will take place in the atmospheric surroundings of St. Munchin’s Church, in keeping with the theme of utilising spaces in new and inventive ways.
For full information see Tweak begins on Monday, September 21 with a launch and exhibition in the Church Gallery on Clare Street at 7pm.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cois Fharraige 2009 review

YOU simply can’t win if you are a music promoter dealing with the Irish weather, in this reporter’s humble opinion; less than a week after Electric Picnic sank under metres of mud, Kilkee’s Cois Fharraige was blessed with incredible weather - but that development unfortunately meant the crowds were disappointing for the MCD run festival.
With the picturesque Kilkee bathed in sunshine from early Wednesday until Monday evening, punters arrived in droves but seemed largely unwilling to leave the beach and go and hear the music on offer on St. Senan’s GAA pitch.
Local sources told the Limerick Leader that “around 3,000 tickets” were eventually sold for the third Cois Fharraige festival - far short of the estimated 6,500-7,000 sold last year and the year before. Both previous concerts were billed as sell-out events.
The three day festival was only announced a few short weeks before it took place, and an MCD source agreed that had the event been put on sale at the start of the summer, it would have likely sold out as before, due to the strength of the line-up.
As it was we were greeted by the rather disconcerting sight of heavyweight bands such as Doves and the Zutons playing to a half-empty tent.
Friday afternoon opened to an impressive performance by Joe Echo, the Northern Ireland musician responsible for having written Madonna’s latest single, while a stirring set followed from Laura Izibor.
Perennial favourites the Blizzards followed and received a huge reaction to their uninspiring brand of bubblegum pop, but the gig of the weekend followed from Manchester band Doves, who opened with the excellent ‘Jetstream’ from their latest album Kingdom of Rust and never let the momentum drop throughout their near 20 song set.
“It’s great to be on the West Coast, what a beautiful day eh?” said lead singer Jez Williams, who was earlier seen wandering down main street in Kilkee. Final song There Goes The Fear, from excellent second album The Last Broadcast, was simply stunning and drew a huge reaction from the crowd that stayed to hear it.
Jerry Fish opened proceedings on Saturday with a set that leaned heavily on his latest album The Beautiful Untrue, followed by American ‘rawk’ outfit The Hold Steady and a surprisingly introspective set from the quirky Noah and the Whale.
Englishman Newton Faulkner drew huge cheers from a Saturday crowd who seemed to know every word the dreadlocked musician sang. Faulkner spent the day wandering around Kilkee and surveying the atmosphere of the town, which he remarked was “beautiful” on more than one occasion.
Sunday evening kicked off with Liverpool band Hello... I Love You and local Limerick jazz ensemble Jazz Lite, who included a Beatles medley in their exuberant set, before Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and the Stereo MCs provided an interesting throwback to the 90s before the Zutons closed out the festival, the latter appearing for the second year in a row.
While crowds at the gig itself were disappointing, huge numbers descended on Kilkee, with O’Curry Street transformed into one large venue of its own for the weekend. There were some problems with rubbish from on-street drinking and Gardai were extremely visible at all times, but there seemed to be little trouble and Mayor of Kilkee Lily Marrinan Sullivan told the Leader that although there were a few “teething problems” it was a successful weekend for the town.
“It was very busy and overall a successful weekend, but there are issues that need to be addressed and I hope they will be,” she added.
Unfortunately for MCD, one issue that can’t be helped is the weather and one must wonder if Cois Fharraige will return for a fourth time next year given the disappointing take up on tickets for the actual festival.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Electric Picnic 2009 review

(Apologies for taking so long to get something up on the blog about the Picnic, the last few days have been spent recovering from a great weekend! Below is the piece I wrote for the Limerick Leader, pics are courtesy of Tonya O'Neill and Deirdre Cussen, so thanks to them. Looking forward to next year already, and Cois Fharraige this weekend! Cheers.)

THE sixth Electric Picnic festival was a very different affair this year with wellies a necessity rather than accessory as attendees trouped through mud fields that resembled the Somme, and stood in fear as black clouds threatened to rain on the colourful Stradbally parade.

However, although the feted ‘Indian Summer’ failed to materialise, neither did apocalyptic storms and the rain was restricted to showers on Friday and Sunday morning – with those hardy souls that stayed until Monday greeted with the perverse sight of clear blue skies and sunshine.

It hardly mattered for the near 32,500 fans that made their way to Thomas Cosby’s fields on the Stradbally plains, as those that pilgrimage regularly to the ‘Picnic’ were just relieved to be back, and those that were experiencing the music and arts extravaganza for the first time were wide eyed with wonder, some heard to mutter how they were simply “never attending Oxegen again”.

While the age profile may have met somewhere between the stereotypical notion of the Picnic and Oxegen being on opposite ends of the spectrum – certainly the mix of age was more noticeable this year – the fact that the organisers chose to extend the family campsite meant that many more free-running children were on display, a large crowd of whom were seen crafting toy swords in the Soul Kids area on Saturday, with an exciting series of duels taking place afterward.

Oxegen also scooped some of the top-of-bill acts that would have been more at home at Electric Picnic, and Friday’s line-up in particular was a bit hit and miss.

Main stage acts MGMT and a reformed Orbital failed to galvanise the huge crowds that greeted them, while even Zero 7 failed to turn in an impassioned performance. However, the acts on the fringes more than compensated, Villagers performing to a handful of well-rewarded fans on the Body and Soul stage and hip-hop crew Major Lazer turning in one of the gigs of the weekend by welcoming half of the crowd in the Little Big Tent onto the stage for their finale.

Comic Limerick rap duo The Rubberbandits later packed out this same tent, drawing huge cheers for their inspired blend of rap, hip-hop and showmanship, magicians, people dressed as drug paraphernalia and the Gardai drawing huge cheers.

On Saturday afternoon Ryan Tubridy made his way to the Leviathan area of the Mind Field – a large area that included the Literary and Theatre stages. Tubridy – fresh from his first Late Late appearance – hosted a festival revue, with a bizarre line-up of guests, including former TV3 presenter Lorraine Keane, and was later seen by the Leader in the VIP area nodding his head to the engaging strains of Madness, performing nearby on the Main Stage.

Ska trio White Cholera – featuring David Blake, from Limerick band the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra – performed on the Leviathan stage on Friday and Saturday night, drawing wild applause for their equally wild set.

Back out in the main site, the Tulla Ceili Band played the first of two gigs on the Body and Soul stage, first performing at 4pm and returning almost 12 hours later to close the stage, to the delight of the huge crowd present.

In between East London neo-folk band Tunng impressed on the main stage, while Lisa Hannigan looked a bit lost on the mammoth stage, but then she has played on every other stage and her success warranted such a slot. Limerick duo Size2Shoes played a Saturday lunchtime gig on the bandstand in the middle of the site, the O’Suilleabhain brothers professing their delight at playing at the festival afterward.

A large crowd gathered to hear fellow Limerick band Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra perform on the Tree Stage in Body and Soul on Saturday evening – and were moved to a standing ovation for final song From the Ground Up after a passionate and exuberant performance.

Brian Wilson lit up the arena on Saturday night through the strength of the set-list on offer, a Beach Boys greatest hits collection that almost made one forget they were listening in a muddy field in Laois. Wilson and his band The Wondermints brought the house down with spine-tingling performances of Good Vibrations and Surfin’ USA.

Although campers awoke to rain on Sunday morning – causing some to leave for home – the afternoon stayed dry and the evening boasted some of the best music on offer of the weekend, stellar performances from Florence and the Machine, Fleet Foxes, Bell X1 and Basement Jaxx delighting fans, while electro-pop outfit Passion Pit played what many termed the gig of the weekend.

Another superb year for Electric Picnic, despite the weather, and let us hope that organisers keep with the boutique, quirky nature of this festival for as long as possible.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Walter Mitty and the Realists - Green Light Go Album Review

Walter Mitty and the Realists

Green Light Go

(Forty Five Records)

THERE was never any doubt about local band Walter Mitty and the Realists’ potential, a fact which is hugely evident when they perform live.

They are a frenetic, adrenalin-fuelled energy rush propelled by frontman Niall McTeigue - the question was only if this energy could be captured in the studio and not lost in transit?

We are happy to report that the sweaty, head-spinning dynamism of this band has been captured in all its glory on debut album Green Light Go - a fact that must be due in some part to the involvement of Cranberries sticksman Fergal Lawler, who acted as producer, engineer and mixed the album.

The band keenly refer to Lawler as akin to a fifth member Lawler’s ear and eye for detail is impressive, witness the wall of sound that ends the excellent Instantly Nothing, a soft hands production that keeps hold of the intricate guitar parts. In another pair of hands this detail might have been lost to the noise.

The core of the Mitty’s set has come to life here and anchors this debut, lead track Green Light Go a post-punk delight, McTeigue backed up on vocals by Anna Murphy and Tara Nix of We Should Be Dead, the album racing out of the tracks at a break neck pace, while the brooding Sucker Punch - a live favourite - is also captured perfectly here.

The early-Chilli Peppers/Beastie Boys-esque second track Lie in the Summer is an eye-opener for those who thought this band were all about noise, the two-tone nature of the song demonstrating a depth that belies the relative youth of the Mittys. My Inner Child Is A Drumkit allows McTeigue to demonstrate that howl of his, his timbre eerily reminiscent of David Byrne or even Cobain, while his brother Conor wows with his axeman skills.

Completing the Mittys line-up is drummer Paul O’Shaughnessy and bassist Colin Bartely, all four forming a tight and frenetic unit.

The effervescent Red is a Number is a revelation, sounding as fresh as it ever has, the plucked bass line likely to remain in your head for days.

We Live Alone now shows a softer, more subtle sound to the Mittys, an almost ballad-like track, but it is the Nirvana influenced Oh The Shame that is the highlight for us, all angular guitars, angry lyrics and shouty vocals.

Instrumental track Restless Endless finishes the album, a gentle wall of feedback allowing the listener to take a breath and take stock of what is an excellent first album from these boys.


The Elective Orchestra ready for Electric Picnic

AS THE HORDES prepare to descend on Stradbally this weekend, Limerick’s representation at Electric Picnic will be led by local collective Nick Carswell and his band the Elective Orchestra. The band will perform in the Body and Soul Arena at 7pm on Saturday, and singer Nick revealed that the band are very excited about the precious slot at the festival.
“We are really, really looking forward to it, particularly after last year, I wasn't going to be happy until we got a slot at the Picnic,” laughed Nick.
“It is a big deal for us because it is such a great festival to be part of, particularly the Body and Soul area.”
Asked what it is about the festival that makes it such a special one, Nick is philosophical in his reply, noting the Body and Soul area, a natural amphitheatre that is the heartbeat or focal point of the Stradbally music and arts extravaganza.
“The whole festival in general is amazing, but what I love about it is the Body and Soul area, we spent a lot of time there the last couple of years - the whole vibe is very special for a music festival, there is nothing like it in Ireland,” explained Nick.
“The relaxed, chilled out vibe of it feels quite magical and you feel like you are really away from the modern world.
“Relaxing in amongst trees and all the different arts installations that they have, every little detail has something special about it and that is what makes it what it is,” he added.
The Elective Orchestra have secured a prized spot on the innovative Tree Stage, something else they are excited about.
“Apparently this year an artist has carved a stage out of a fallen tree, which is what we are going to be performing on and I'm looking forward to seeing what it is going to be like,” said Nick.
“I really don't know what to expect or how that is going to look, but it sounds right up our street with regard to our acoustic instruments - the cello, violin and acoustic guitar - they all work well with wood, so hopefully we will be getting some good vibrations through the tree,” he laughed. The Limerick band, made up of cellist and violinist Deirdre and Kate Cussen, drummer Bart Kiely, bassist Fergal O’Neill - well known from his stint with Woodstar - and singer Sian Murray, recently went on tour to support the release of second single Oceanview, reminding them of the pleasures of playing to new audiences.
“It was great, it was really good to get out on the road and bring the tunes to a new audience again,” says Nick.
“That is a big part of it, we keep reminding ourselves that that is what it is all about, getting out and playing to people all over the country - you can get carried away with other stuff, but playing live is undoubtedly our favourite part of what we do.”
The band are applying the finishing touches to their debut album and have settled into a steady line-up over the last year, a fact that has seen them grow and become more cohesive, both on stage and in the studio.
“Yeah, the core of our set are songs that we know intimately, inside and out, and they have really taken on a life of their because of all the rehearsal and gigs we have done and that is something we are really proud of,” explained Nick.
“The arrangements and the whole idea of our band has developed really well, we are quite happy with where we are as a group and we want to look forward.
“We still have to finish the album but there is lots more ahead of us and we are eager to build on that,” he added.
Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra play on the Tree Stage in the Body and Soul Arena at 7pm on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Electric Picnic stage times

The official stage times for Electric Picnic are now posted here. I'm too busy (can't figure it out) to copy and paste them up here, sorry!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Electric Picnic stage times, photos, general excitement!

This is getting ridiculous. Two days to go and I'm like an excited child on Christmas Eve. Scrolling through the EP facebook site and I see that they have pics up of the site build - this is almost too much to bear!!

I also spent the afternoon buying a raincoat and wellies for the first time ever going to a festival, and I've been getting calls ever since about how good the weather forecast is shaping up! For the record, this is what Met Eireann have to say about the weekend, so I'm still bringing my wet gear:

"Remaining cool and windy for Thursday and Friday, with the fresh to strong west to northwest winds persisting. There will be sunshine and showers, the showers heavy and possibly thundery in places during Thursday, though there will be fewer showers on Friday. Saturday promises to be mainly dry with lighter winds".

Official stage times being released tomorrow, but Body and Soul times are up now see here.

The Body and Soul is to have its own radio station (they thought of everything!). From the blurb:

A new and exciting addition to this years festival is Electric Picnics very own little slice of the airwaves. Body & Soul FM will broadcast live gigs from the main stage, interviews, DJ slots and festival news direct to cars, tents and camper vans on the site. Expect lively interviews with artists, environmentalists and holistic gurus, alongside useful general information and chats with performers and festival-goers. The studio will be located in the Body & Soul village on the festival site on wavelength 104.3fm.

There is also a Laundromat (yes, you read that correctly), loads of foodie type stuff (including Michelin star chef Dylan McGrath - no, I don't know who he is either) and a Powder Room (a chic beauty lounge located in a 50 foot luxury trailer). Wow.

Other blogs (why would you be reading them?!) are reporting that ticket sales have risen past the 30,000 mark, so get cracking if you haven't already bought a ticket!!

Jesus the excitement is killing me!

Dan Deacon mix-up, Bacardi Live line-up at Electric Picnic 2009

THIS morning brings the strange news (courtesy of Guesslist) that Dan Deacon is not actually playing the Electric Picnic after all - despite being listed on the official line-up as playing an ensemble gig and a solo set in the Body and Soul.. Strange goings on as Deacon posted a message on his myspace titled 'europe confusion':

Subject: europe confusion
Body: hello,
i just wanted to clear up some information about some shows that i am not playing but i am listed as playing. i will not be playing in europe in september. unfortunately, some of the possible shows got listed as confirmed and advertised. this has resulted in a major bummer as i cannot make these shows. i hope to make it back to europe again soon, but i do not know when that is. my apologies to everyone who was looking forward these fictional shows. this time, it honestly wasn’t my f*ck up.

Huge pity.

Meantime, BACARDI B-LIVE have announced their line-up for Electric Picnic - Toddla T, Streetlife DJ’s, Horse Meat Disco, Krafty Kuts, Jaguar Skills, Beardyman and more are to take to the stage in the swish surroundings of the B-Live tent..

Full line-up:

Friday, 4th September
Baz Hickey (17:00-18:00) // Horse Meat Disco (18:00-20:00) // Beardyman (20:00-20:45) // Streetlife DJ’s (20:45-23:00)

Saturday, 5th September
David De Valera (12:00-13:30) // Stephen Manning (13:30-15:00) // Idiot Proof (15:00-17:00) // A Skillz (17:00-19:00) // Filthy Dukes (19:00-21:00) // Toddla T featuring Serocee (21:00-23:00)

Sunday, 6th September
Calvin James (12:00-14:30) // Disco Bloodbath (14:30-17:30) // Jaguar Skills (17:30-19:00) // Unabombers (19:00-21:00) // Krafty Kuts (21:00-23:00)