Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unwrap your 'Christmas Presence' in Daghdha in December

DECEMBER is to kick off with a weekend of superb live music and comedy in the atmospheric surroundings of Daghdha Space, St. John’s Church, as present ‘Christmas Presence’. The local promoters have assembled an eclectic and exciting line-up for the first weekend in December, featuring high-profile comedian Andrew Maxwell, Irish troubadour Damien Dempsey and the Limerick-leg of Today FM DJ Donal Dineen’s ‘Fresh Air Festival’, featuring Katie Kim.
Mr Maxwell gets proceedings underway on Friday, December 4, with support from Limerick’s own Karl Spain, who recently hosted his own RTE tv show. Maxwell is best known in Ireland through his weekly appearances on ‘The Panel’, and now lives in London and is a regular on UK TV including guest slots on ‘Have I Got News For You’, ‘Argumental’ and ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks.’
On Saturday night, Dubliner Damien Dempsey comes to Limerick as part of his first solo Irish tour in six years to headline the Christmas Presence weekender. Dempsey, a two-time Meteor Award winner in recent years, is something of a beat poet for modern times, a social commentator chronicling life in his hometown, and more recently, putting his own slant on old traditional favourites on his ‘Rocky Road’ album. In a live setting the statuesque Dempsey is a sight to behold, and his recent live DVD went to the top of the charts in its first week of release.
Finally, DJ Donal Dineen returns to Limerick as part of his month long gig-series around Ireland - which only consists of three dates outside Dublin, and will conclude in Limerick on the Sunday night, December 6. Dineen has hosted a number of Irish and international musicians on his nightly radio show on Today FM, allowing them to curate and play their own music and their favourite tunes. Taking this show on the road, Dineen is joined by Waterford’s Katie Kim, who released critically acclaimed debut album ‘Twelve’ last year.
Joining Kim and Dineen on the night will be Scottish musician James Yorkston, making a rare Irish appearance.
Daghdha Space - St. John’s Church - has proved itself to be an exciting and versatile venue, playing host to Oscar winners The Swell Season and Lisa Hannigan in the last 12 months. A cosy but exceptional space with superb acoustics, the church seats in the region of 250 plus and is one of the best venues in the city. ‘Christmas Presence’ takes place on December 4,5,6. Tickets are on sale now and are available from the UCH box office on 061-331549 and from or Full information on

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interview with Ardal O'Hanlon

TO ARDAL O’Hanlon, comedy is not just a job, it is a calling, more specifically, a vocation.
While familiar to millions as the rather dim-witted Fr Dougal McGuire from Channel 4 tv series Fr Ted, stand-up comedy has always been a secure base for the rather cerebral Carrickmacross man, despite his adventures in 'tellyland'.
He realised in his teens, as a rather withdrawn young man, that comedy and the expression of his humour was something he wanted to pursue, a goal that was realised in the late 80s when he set up the Comedy Cellar in the International Bar in Dublin with fellow comedians Barry Murphy and Kevin Gildea.
Since then he has consistently returned to the stage to challenge, one feels, both himself and his audience, to hone his craft to a fine edge.
“Absolutely, I do,” says O’Hanlon when asked if he still enjoys performing live stand-up.
“It is a thing I have always gone back to, even when you are off doing tv shows or other projects that take a lot of time - I always got back to stand-up as soon as I could really, because it is the day to day stuff, the stuff you think about every day,” he explains further.
Despite having a new RTE tv show to plug - Val Falvey TD, which started last Sunday night - O’Hanlon seems more keen to discuss the intricacies of his primary art, which will take him to the Last Laugh comedy series in Trinity Rooms this Thursday night.
“Stand-up is very personal, it is about yourself and it is egotistical whereas television is very collaborative (and) it is really enjoyable because it is very sociable, that is the main difference. I am delighted to have the opportunity to do both.”
He continues: “I suppose I have put together a sort of a state of the nation rant at the moment and it is all very well doing it at home and shouting at your children but you need to do it front of real people at some stage, so that is what I'm at.
My instinct would be to reduce everything to a joke, rather than waffle on about things, I do try and reduce things to a pithy one-liner.
Stand-up, if it is working correctly, is your version of events, it is your take on the world and the people around you - in the course of a full show you might go through hundreds of subjects but it mostly comes back to the same thing, the state we are in.
It is all very well pointing the finger at bankers and government, but what I think is funny and more timeless is to actually talk about our mentality - who we are and where are we going? I think that is useful and very promising material which I think people respond to and are interested in.”
Ardal has in the past expressed discomfort at those that appear at his shows expecting Fr Dougal, but several minutes in his company are enough to demonstrate that he is far removed from his more famous persona.
But he doesn’t shy away from the legacy, recognising that it kick-started his career.
“Oh definitely and it was great. Things were very grim in the late 80s when I started out in Dublin, you couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel, it was something that was enjoyable and kept you busy from day to day, but there didn't seem to be any possibility of making a living from it or going anywhere.
So I went off to London and not too long after that I did get that fantastic break in Fr Ted, which did change everything over night, I suppose,” he says.
Expressing himself through his “rants” on stage is also crucial to his mental state, he explains to much laughter on both our parts.
“You see the world through this type of comic prism, and it is a way of staying sane, otherwise you would think about things too much and you'd go a little bit mad,” he says, adding: “This is not just a job, it is a type of vocation”.
Ardal O’Hanlon appears at the Last Laugh Comedy Club in Trinty Rooms nightclub this Thursday night, with Gearoid Farelly. Doors 7.30pm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brainfeeder's first lady Tokimonsta in the Cuckoo Box this Saturday

THE LA-based Brainfeeder family's first lady Tokimonsta makes a very rare and special appearance in Limerick this Saturday night, as the guest of local crew's Cheebah/Kerrynini. Brainfeeder is also home to Daedelus, The Gaslamp Killer, Onra and more, so we expect Ms Tokimonsta to be something special..

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

Revenger's Tragedy in the Belltable

FANCY some blood and lust with a healthy dash of murder? No it’s not Quentin Tarantino, but you’re not far off.
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.

Size2Shoes album review and gig this Saturday

(Self released)

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

Back in the USSR

Apologies for the lack of material here recently, back in the office after two weeks on the West Coast of the USA. Finished in Vegas, where among other things, I went to the see the Beatles/Cirque du Soleil 'Love' show in the Mirage. Wow. More to follow.