Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten Gigs Of The Year - Limerick 2010

10. Speakeasy Jazz: The Freeform Foundation - Shannon Rowing Club (January)
This was our first chance encounter with the Freeform Foundation, who blazed a hole through January 2010 at the popular Speakeasy Jazz gig, their lose-flowing and eclectic rhythms washing away the cobwebs of the New Year. Superb

9. Word of Mouth Presents: O Emperor, Sons of Noel and Adrian and Alessi's Ark - Dolan's Upstairs (January)
A new tour showcase that trundled through Limerick in January, and returns in Jan '11. This gig was special for our first opportunity to breathlessly witness the live brilliance of O Emperor, whose musical tastes belie their tender years. Smashing stuff.

8. Tommy Tiernan - Thomond Park (June)
An incredible gig from the top Irish comedian of this and any year - this Thomond Suite gig was centre piece of his World Tour of Limerick series which saw the funnyman play eight gigs in eight days around the city and county. 600 people laughed, very hard.

7. Bump Muzik Festival - Clonlara (June)
Limerick's own - very special - boutique festival on the shores of the River Shannon at the Angler's Rest in Clonlara. Organised by Viva, Double Bass and Secret Stash, the finest local and international DJs bumped and grinded at this amazing location. Set to return in 2011 at a new location. We can't wait.

6. UnFringed Festival (January)
Limerick's 13th UnFringed Festival was reduced this year to five days but the programme didn't lack in depth, with 16 distinct productions being packed into the festival line-up. Superbly eclectic, and returns for an amazing 14th year in January 2011.

5. Two Door Cinema Club - Dolan's Warehouse (March)
We approached this one with trepidation; lots of hype had built up this quirky, electro-pop driven Norn' Irish trio. As it turned out, the hype was justified - a packed Warehouse danced and waved glow sticks and we left happy.

4. Bell X1 - St. John's Church (November)
The finest, most stunningly atmospheric venue in the city provided one of the best gigs of the year - a stripped back and acoustic Bell X1 playing a selection of new songs and greatest hits to a rapt capacity audience. Had the X-factor.

3. And So I Watch You From Afar - Baker Place (February)
We knew they were special (if you haven't heard their clarion call self-titled debut, get it now) but we didn't know quite how good they were live. A rammed Baker Place was treated to a smashing set of balls-out, instrumental rock and roll. Crowd surfing, moshing and grins ear to ear. Wow.

2. Villagers - St. John's Church (December)
Would have been gig of the year but for a pair of grinning, plastic bag wearing rappers. Conor O'Brien returned to Limerick 18 months since his first Villagers gig, and blew a full St. John's Church away. The album of the year also, in our book.

1. The Rubberbandits - Electric Picnic (September)
It could have been any of a number of 'Bandits 2010 gigs in top spot; the mystery Christmas gig; a UL Rag Week stormer in the Stables; a triumphant Warehouse/Panic gig in September (very special); the A Conversation With gig in Daghdha; or the recent spate of three sold-out gigs in two days in the Warehouse (an amazing feat in these times). Let's face it, 2010 was the year of the Rubberbandits, and nothing captured their seizing of the zeitgeist - ahead of Horse Outside, Republic of Telly etc - than the duo's amazing gig in the Little Big Tent at Electric Picnic on the Friday of the three day festival. Nearly 2,000 people bounced, sang along and worshipped at the feet of the 'Bandits as they threw it down royally - performing the gig of the weekend at the Stradbally fest. Quite simply our favourite music moment of 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Rubberbandits aim for Christmas number one

IN AN unlikely but hilarious turn of events, Limerick's dastardly, comedic-rap plastic bag wearing duo, The Rubberbandits, have seen their odds of beating the X-Factor and securing a Christmas no.1 slashed by Paddy Power bookmakers.

Paddy Power have made The Rubberbandits 5/4 to pip the X Factor winner to the post with their new single ‘Horse Outside’, which has clocked up an amazing quarter of a million views on YouTube in just over 48 hours.

The single is also riding high in the Itunes download charts - a best estimate was put at it being number one over the weekend - but punters seeking to secure a Christmas number one spot for the Limerick duo are being urged to wait until after December 19 to buy the song, when the sales that go toward the official Christmas top spot are measured.

The 'Bandits debuted their hilarious video for 'Horse Outside' - previously 'Amanda's Wedding' - on the RTE's Republic of Telly on Wednesday night, posting the uncensored video on You Tube not long after the show aired. Between then and this Friday afternoon, the video has been seen by more than 253,000 people.

The hip-hop duo have had an amazing year so far and are to return to Limerick in December to play two Christmas shows in Dolan's - both of which are now sold out, we are told.

For more on this story, see Tuesday's Limerick Chronicle.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Northside Learning Hub and Sunday Times Host Leviathan Political Cabaret

THE THOMONDGATE based Northside Learning Hub are to co-host the city’s second Leviathan Political Cabaret event this Wednesday. The event is being held in association with the Sunday Times and takes place in Dolan’s Warehouse.
Late Late Show band leader Paddy Cullivan (of The Camembert Quartet fame) will host the evening of musical satire and lively discussion, with a debate to be held under the heading “Is Music Worth Paying For?”, to form the central part of the evening.
Among the panel to discuss this topic are Spin South West DJ Michelle McMahon, Mick Dolan of Dolan’s Warehouse, Kathleen Turner of the ICO, Alan Owens of the Limerick Leader and Chronicle, David O’Connell, principal of Limerick School of Music, James Blake of the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra and the Learning Hub and David O’Donovan of and the Limerick Event Guide.
This event is to mark the launch of the Learning Hub’s brand new Music Hub at Kileely House, which will house a fully equipped recording studio and music rehearsal space.
For more information see here. Please come out and support this event if you can.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

OOAL Drop Split 7" Single This Sunday In Dolan's

HUGELY POPULAR local record label Out On A Limb Records are gearing up to “drop” a new split 7” vinyl single release from two of the countries most exciting up and coming bands, Ennis band C!ties and Dublin’s Guilty Optics, and celebrate by holding a special launch party Upstairs in Dolan’s this Sunday.
The launch party, which will feature both of the bands present on the superb new single, will also feature the excellent Jogging, who released one of the best Irish records of the year with the blistering "Minutes", and Baby Blue Eyes (featuring ex members of Limerick band Hatch 77 and Scott from Sea Dog).
C!ties, a young instrumental trio from Ennis Co. Clare, have been regualr visitors to Limerick on and off for the last 18 months and incorporate a wide range of styles, chiefly thumping electro-rock.
Their self produced EP, released in November 2008, impressed many and bolstered the young band’s reputation. The band present their wide-eyed and giddy slab of instrumentalism with “Krakatoa” on this single release, OOAL’s second split release.

Guilty Optics, on the other hand, formed more recently - in 2008 - and feature Alan Finnerty, Peter Lee and Ruadhan O’Meara and have a particular type of melodic rock’n’roll that is starting to gain them a wider reputation and offer the shuddering “White Teeth” on this single, recorded using vintage analogue equipment.

OOAL, home to Windings, Crayonsmith and more, has been noted in the past for discovering new acts, and this spilt release is no different.
Ciaran Ryan of the label says they are “delighted” to be doing a split 7" with both bands.
“Both bands played OOAL shows during our label tour in February and we were mightly impressed,” says Ciaran.
“They are two of the most exciting newish bands in the country, and sound completely different to each other, so it made perfect sense for us to throw them on a single together,” he adds.

The OOAL launch party takes place at 6pm this Sunday Upstairs in Dolan’s and it is a free show. The 7” will be available to buy at the gig and selected independent record stores. Each comes with a unique downloadable code. For more see here.

Album Review - Robert Plant 'A Band Of Joy'

Robert Plant
‘Band of Joy’

I, FOR one, am glad Robert Plant turned down a reported $200 million offer to reform Led Zeppelin following their reunion gig in 2007.
If the seminal rock band had reformed, we might not have seen the release of two of the finest albums produced in the intervening period - Plant’s album Raising Sand, released in 2007 with Alison Krauss, and his latest offering, the new release Band of Joy.

Raising Sand went on to win six Grammy Awards, including Grammy for Album of the Year in 2009, and was a masterpiece, Krauss’s delicate and hushed voice intertwining perfectly with Plant’s gruff, often falsetto, timbre.
This album picks up where that left off, but finds Plant with a new band of collaborators, including Nashville legend and guitarist Buddy Miller, multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott - both of whose fingerprints are heavily featured on this album - and country singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, who manages to avoid merely copying Krauss and brings her own individualism to the project.
Band of Joy takes its title from Plant’s first group, formed in the ‘60s, and his decision to resurrect the name burns with symbolism, the former Led Zep frontman allowing the first rate musicians he has assembled to steer him back to his roots, as it were.

The album opens with to the throbbing, groaning guitar lines on an incredibly diverse interpretation of Los Lobos's 'Angel Dance' - a delicate banjo the perfect counterpoint to Plant’s dulcet tones, and the Southern blues of Miller’s guitars.
The bluegrass, brush-drum tones of ‘House of Cards’ follows, the perfect vehicle to demonstrate Plant’s vocals as they twist and turn with Griffin’s softer tones.
The slow-building exhalation of blues-rock that is Low's 'Silver Rider' is one of the most intoxicating offerings on the album, while the upbeat, chugging snarl of the Beatles-influenced ‘You Can’t Buy My Love’ is an eye-opener.
The beautiful swoon of The Kelly Brothers' Sixties soul classic 'Falling In Love Again' and the deliciously vibrant ‘The Only Sound That Matters’, provide a nice balance to the feedback drenched ‘Monkey’, the standout track on the album.
This is a majestic offering from one of rock’s most royal members; a comprehensive reworking of some old standards and classic tunes that is varied, rich and vibrant.
Truly a thing of joy.

Album review - Supermodel Twins 'Raincloud Free'

Supermodel Twins
‘Raincloud Free’
(Gohan Records)

IF EVER there was a more appropriate album title, we haven’t heard better than the much anticipated debut from local power-popsters, Supermodel Twins.
‘Raincloud Free’, unlike other obscure monikers we have heard in the past, does exactly what it says on the tin; delivering a blistering, 11-track, 35-minute collection of upbeat pop-rock songs in the mould of Weezer, Nada Surf et al, with a Beach Boys-meets Green Day dash thrown into the mix.

The album will certainly brighten up your day and take your attention away from the deluge currently falling outside your window.
This is undoubtedly the album’s strength and sees the Limerick five-piece wear their hearts on their sleeves, unashamedly allowing the above influences to ring clear on the album, avoiding any kind of pretension at trying anything other than blasting out good solid pop songs.
Produced under the expert gaze of The Cranberries’ axe-man Noel Hogan, the glossy sheen on this album add greatly to the wholesome sound - a testament to Hogan’s growing production skills.

However, and we offer this by way of constructive criticism, where the album falls down is its reluctance to vary from its obvious formula, sticking rigidly to a heavily Weezer-influenced sound, all American-twang vocals and loud guitars.
Simply put, Raincloud Free is inhibited by its style and lack of originality, but, it is fun, and there are some really decent pop songs on offer here.
The first couple of tracks set the scene and surprisingly, offer some deliciously off-kilter and quite subversive lyrics buried within the seemingly saccharine melodies; on opener While You Were Out, the singer details snooping around said girl’s apartment; on the superb One Step Behind, reminiscent of early Foo Fighters material, a song which boasts taut melodies and coruscating guitars, we hear elements of the same theme, “everywhere you go, I’ll be there / always one step behind”.
The toned down and more reflective My Girl presents engaging melodies a la Fountains of Wayne and shows more depth, as does the excellent Bruises, popping with handclaps and effervescent melodies.

However things start to unravel on the ill-advised and poppy ‘Hilary’, which includes the following lyric: “ever since I saw you in that movie / where you tried to hide your boobies”, and so on.
The zingy melody of Footprints In The Snow and soft-core rock of Modern Day Robin Hood are better, but overall this album’s lack of scope and depth proves its undoing.

Pity, cause there is some serious potential here.

Album review - Halves "It Goes, It Goes (Forever and Ever)"

'It Goes, It Goes (Forever and Ever)'

TO SIMPLY label this album from Dublin trio Halves as “cinematic” would be vaguely correct, but simplistic.
While the superb opening track Land/Sea/People might indeed be at home on a Cameron Crowe or Nick Cave soundtrack, the sheer depth and variety on this album makes it too difficult to pigeon-hole into one genre.
Indeed, it would also be simplistic to simply class this highly-awaited debut album from the band as “post-rock”, but there are undoubted elements of this multi-faceted genre on what is a genuinely haunting and spine-tingling album.
The scale of the instrumentalism - deep, dark drums, soaring guitars, bouncy melodions, rich and vibrant cellos and haunting violins - present on this album is astounding, while the pacing and narrative structure are adhered to cleverly without becoming overly rigid.
This is a brooding, grandiose and epic album, but unlike the raucous noise of the undoubted influence of Scottish post-rock specialists Mogwai, there are also tender, heartbreaking vocals on It Goes, It Goes, some from vocalist Tim Czerniak and some from the haunting Amy Millan (of Stars fame) on the superb I Raise Bears and the criminally underrated Katie Kim on the unfolding rhythm of Growing & Glow.
With this release, recorded live on tape in Montreal’s Hotel2Tango studios, the Dublin trio (Brian Cash, Tim and Elis Czerniak) end a five year wait for their debut album, preceded as it was by two well received EPs.
Halves live show has long been lauded, correctly, for being a dramatic mix of sweeping visuals, guitars and live drums, but on this record they have managed the seemingly impossible; an ability to conjure up a sweeping visual vista in the listener’s mind, simply by allowing the strength and epic nature of their music to spark the imagination.
Quite simply, a brilliant record, made to be listened to again and again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bell X1 and Rubberbandits for Eightball gigs in Daghdha this weekend

THE DELIGHTFUL St. John’s Church - home to Daghdha Dance Company - plays host to two very special live gigs this weekend, as Bell X1 play a special acoustic gig on Friday and Limerick’s own Rubberbandits take to the stage on Saturday.
Promoters are very excited about these two exceptional gigs, as are we, both of which have the potential to be the most talked about of the year - for very different reasons.

Bell X1 arrive in Limerick as part of a national tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album, ‘Neither Am I’, and after tremendous success over recent years. The band will play a special stripped back, acoustic set from their entire catalogue as well as debuting some new material, with their fifth studio album due in Spring 2011. The gig is sold out.

Saturday will be a completely different affair as the dastardly duo of The Rubberbandits take to the stage in the 15th century church, for what should be a memorable show.
The Bandits’ arrive in Limerick for a very special - and possibly unique - gig, billed as an “Intimate Evening With The Rubberbandits”, featuring the comedic/rap duo in conversation with Cian Hallinan, host of the Voice Box in Dublin’s Twisted Pepper.

Never fear, the show will be in two parts and will also feature the Limerick duo performing a number of their by-now classic tunes at the gig, which comes hot on the heels of their weekly appearances on RTE’s Republic of Telly, presented by Limerickman Dermot Whelan. The ‘Bandits segments have also had 100,000 hits on YouTube.

City Life got in touch with the Rubberbandits to find out what the gig will consist of, and Blind Boy Boat Club, one-half of the ‘Bandits, told us: “A lively debate on everything from Friedrich Nietzsche to tying your shoelaces with fags in both hands”.
Asked to account for their recent rise in fame and fortune, Boat Club replied: “Telling jokes about fannies and willies coupled with an extensive knowledge and insight of the human psyche, if the human psyche was but a shallow pool of water in the paw prints of a greyhound”.

After the lively and existential debate, expect songs about horses, glue and honda civics - and expect to leave with a stomach sore from laughing. Tickets for Bell X1 are sold out. Tickets for The Rubberbandits are available from Euro Empire 061-317211.

Doors for both shows open at 8pm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Autumn: Winter series continues this Friday, Saturday

THE SUPERBLY titled Autumn:Winter Collection series of shows continues with a double-header of gigs in the atmospheric St. John’s Church this weekend, with some of Limerick’s top bands taking to the stage on Friday night and Sharon Shannon bringing her accordion to the altar on Saturday night.

The series - which will see Bell X1 and Villagers appear in the church in the coming months - marks a special date this Friday when promoters celebrate the ninth birthday of the Limerick Event Guide with a very special show in the intimate 14th century church.
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, We Should Be Dead and Walter Mitty and The Realists will provide a very special show to celebrate the milestone, while an after-party will take place in the Loft at the Locke Bar, featuring top local DJs Leon and A2DF, Greenwood and Broken Funk.

Chart-topping trad musician Sharon Shannon takes to the stage the night afterward, providing fans the opportunity to see the Clare-born artist - one of the finest of her generation - perform her popular songs in the jaw-dropping venue. Shannon’s debut solo album, which featured U2’s Adam Clayton, became the biggest-selling Irish folk album ever, and was released after she quit university in Cork in the late 80s to concentrate on music, later joining The Waterboys.
“School for me was like prison, so to be able to just do what I loved and get paid for it and be free during the day, to just learn more music and be myself and be happy, was amazing,” Sharon has said.
Saints & Scoundrels, her most recent album, features songs from a superstar cast that includes Imelda May, Jerry Fish, The Waterboys, Carol Keogh and Shane MacGowan.
Backed by her four-piece band, Shannon will perform an evening of the finest traditional music from her extensive and number one selling back catalogue, which should prove to be a big hit with local music fans.

The Limerick Event Guide 9th birthday takes place on Friday, October 29, Sharon Shannon on Saturday, October 30.
Doors for both shows open at 8pm. Tickets are available from Euro Empire on 061-317211.

Album review - Kings of Leon 'Come Around Sundown'

Kings of Leon
‘Come Around Sundown’

THERE IS an argument that the Kings of Leon could be considered rock’s version of Wayne Rooney (indulge me here); substitute Croxteth for Tennessee; both were snarling, street-smart and dragged up by their bootstraps as youngsters; both subsequently had their heads turned with the price of money, fame and idolatry (substitute Paul Stretford for Bono as you wish); both threatened to be world-beaters, but have seen their careers level off in recent years.
Hang on, I hear you say, haven’t the Southern rockers sold truckloads of records more since they went mainstream? Yes is the answer, but at what cost?
I must admit to listening to this new Kings record - their fifth - with a heavy-heart. There is little to suggest that the four-piece have cast a knowing glance at their superb, world-beating back catalogue and tried to find out where they lost that urgent, adolescent, grubby rock and roll vibe and replaced it with bland, stadium rock anthems.
However, when you allow this record to sink in (rather grudgingly as a result), it starts to re-engage you; where the Kings have lost their Southern drawl, screeching guitars and dirty, scuzzy rhythms, they have replaced it with an album that is actually quite introspective, thought provoking and tender, in parts at least.
Gone from this offering, thankfully, are the woeful Sex on Fire/Use Somebody-type tracks of predecessor Only By The Night, and present are the brooding, oft-dark and rebellious The End and Radioactive; the grungy The Immortals, the serene Pyro.
A highlight is the lap-steel and violin driven Back Down South, full of handclaps and gospel choirs, cat-calls and back-slapping; while the brassy groove of Mi Amigo is superb.
They may not have hit the heights of yesteryear, but they have gone some way toward redeeming their careers on this offering - and may yet hit the back of the net again in the future. RATING 3/5

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with O Emperor

ACROSS A Limerick city centre hotel, Waterford band O Emperor are clearly discernible from the business power lunches taking place in the riverside restaurant, five scruffy looking individuals eagerly tucking into fish and chips, huddled around a table, awaiting the arrival of yours truly.
While they clearly stand out among the suits, shirts and ties, the five piece, who have just released one of the albums of the year in Hither Thither, also exude a dynamism and natural confidence in each other’s company, the type of attitude that can only come from years of gigging and touring together.
The fact that they are childhood and school-friends adds to that aura, as they complete each other’s sentences and giggle mercilessly at each other’s answers.

O Emperor are made up of Paul Savage, Richie Walsh, Alan Comerford, Philip Christie and Brendan Fennessy and despite their young age, have produced one of the most assured and anticipated albums of the year - a shoo-in for a Choice Prize nomination and possible win. Boasting a deeply layered sound, mature instrumentation - ringing guitars, shimmering, lush soundscapes and delicate pianos - and songs that namecheck influences as diverse as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Midlake, The Band and Neil Young; simply put, this is an astonishing piece of work from such a young band.

Not many bands get two opportunities to record their debut album, but then not many bands are of the level that O Emperor have reached in just a few short years.
This band recorded their debut in Kinsale over a six-month period, had it packaged and printed, and then decided to scrap it - using the completed album as a calling card to record companies. A management deal was signed, a contract was secured with Universal Ireland, and the five piece headed back into the studio to re-record some of the original songs, and some newer ones.
There is a palpable sense of relief at finally releasing the much anticipated product.

“Yeah definitely, it has been a long time coming,” says Paul, something of a spokesman for the group.
“It is nice to have an actual body of work out that people can judge - people always ask you what you sound like and you never know what to tell them, at least if you have an album they can listen to it and find out what you are about,” he adds.
Asked if they are happy with the end result, Philip leans in: “We are pretty happy with it. We had a long time to mull it over and get everything that we wanted on it - we would want to be happy at this stage! If we weren't, I don't think we ever would be”.
“It was pretty crucial we get it right this time, because it was last chance really, we couldn't possibly do it a third time. But it was pretty easy to do, it was all done in four weeks,” adds Savage.

However, the experience of recording themselves and then going into a studio to work with an engineer ultimately helped shape this album, the band explain, meaning they almost skipped that ‘first album’ experience that many bands suffer through.
“That kind of helped in the end really, because we had such a good idea of where the songs were going from having all that time to play around with,” says Brendan.
“It definitely wouldn't have happened as easy if we hadn't gone through the process of recording the songs already and gigging them so much,” he adds.

The obvious closeness between the five friends must help as well, certainly given their eery harmonies, which often number five separate parts in a song.
“We all feel the same way about what is a good song, and seem to have the same sort of idea about what we want a song to sound like,” says Brendan.
“We never really thought of doing anything else to be honest. We didn't have an original vision, but once we had a set of songs that all worked together, then we decided to do something with it.”
Paul takes up the baton: “I think everyone needs to be equally as passionate about it; if it gets to any stage when you have a leader and a sideman, people start thinking, what's the point? If it is everyone's collective responsibility, you feel the same and put a lot more into it”.

Brendan adds with a grin: “It helps more in terms of touring. I suppose we are used to playing with each other live, but definitely touring it helps - we know each other too well, we have no qualms telling each other where to go!”

O Emperor play Upstairs in Dolan’s this Saturday night. Hither Thither is on general release.

Album review - Strands

(Casino Gravity)

YOU MAY not immediately recognise the name Stephen Shannon, nor the moniker for his new solo project Strands.
Chances are however, that you have heard the man’s work, seeing as his production abilities have graced most of the finest independent Irish releases in recent memory.

Shannon, in his Experimental Audio studio, has produced some of the best loved Irish albums over the last few years, from Cap Pas Cap to Crayonsmith, Babybeef to Vyvienne Long, David Turpin to Adrian Crowley’s Choice Prize winning Season of the Sparks, as well as playing live with Crowley.
Somehow, Shannon also found time to be an integral member of electronica extraordinaires Halfset, whose two beguiling albums Dramanalog and Another Way of Being There lit up a dull Irish ambient electronica scene.
The news on Shannon’s debut solo record is equally as enlightening; while not bursting with the energy that Halfset poured into their work, the Strands album sees Shannon wrap some delightfully kaleidoscopic melodies around an element of subtle menace, the elegant 11-track offering oozing class.

Echoing elements of Chequerboard, his own band, Lemonjelly and tinges of the sweeping, glacial soundscapes of Sigur Ros, Shannon continually manages to disguise deep, dark elements among seemingly saccharine melodies - to a wow-factor on second track Chow Bell, which features militaristic drums and opulent pianos, splashed across a lush soundscape that sounds eerily like an early David Kitt track, without the grating vocals.
The guitar-based bounce of Framed belies the brooding base line contained underneath, while the shimmering electro-beats of Tremon wash over the listener.
The ever-expanding, at times pounding Temper is a certain highlight, as are the effervescent drums, harpsichords and melodions contained on second from last track Home.

All in all an excellent debut solo offering from Ireland’s finest contemporary producer.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rubberbandits, Sharon Shannon for St. John's Church series

THOSE nice folks over at have given us a heads up on the next acts to form part of the Autumn:Winter Collection series of shows to be staged in the delightful St. John’s Church, which already includes sold out gigs with Bell X1 and Villagers over the next two months.
The local promoters have announced a further three series dates, including a rare opportunity to see the superb Sharon Shannon in the intimate 14th century church, plus a unique and innovative “Intimate Evening With The Rubberbandits”. will also celebrate the ninth birthday of the popular Limerick Event Guide magazine with a show featuring the cream of the crop of local musical talent at the end of October.
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, We Should Be Dead, Walter Mitty and The Realists, Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra and more will come together to celebrate the LEG’s ninth birthday, followed by a party in The Loft @ The Locke Bar afterward, with top local DJs taking to the stage, including Leon and A2DF, Greenwood and Broken Funk.
Chart-topping trad musician Sharon Shannon will take to the stage in St. John’s Church the night afterward, providing fans the opportunity to see the Clare-born artist - one of the finest of her generation - perform her popular songs in the jaw-dropping venue.
Backed by her four-piece band, Shannon will perform an evening of the finest traditional music from her extensive and number one selling back catalogue, which should prove to be a big hit with local music fans.
However, the gig that has us most excited is the news that dastardly duo, The Rubberbandits, will step onto the St. John’s Church alter for a night of insanity and hilarity - big news after selling out a gig in Dolan’s Warehouse recently, and ahead of scheduled national television appearances, including a regular slot on RTE’s top rated comedy show.
The plastic-bag wearing comedians/rappers are planning a live interview as well as performing some of their most popular songs, and this is a must for any self-respecting Rubberbandits fan.
The Limerick Event Guide 9th birthday takes place on October 29, Sharon Shannon on October 30 and the Rubberbandits on November 20.
Tickets are available from Euro Empire on 061-317211.

Album review - O Emperor 'Hither Thither'

O Emperor
‘Hither Thither’
NOT MANY Irish bands get two cracks at the whip when recording their debut album. But then, there are not many Irish bands around as good as Waterford five piece O Emperor, fewer still who have produced a debut album as incredibly confident and assured as this.
Boasting a deeply layered sound, mature instrumentation - ringing guitars, shimmering, lush soundscapes and delicate pianos - and songs that namecheck influences as diverse as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Midlake, The Band and Neil Young; simply put, this is an astonishing piece of work from such a young band.
Holed up in in a cottage over a period of six months, the fledgling band - all of whom are schoolfriends and went to college together in Cork - recorded their album by their own endeavour, but then wisely allowed an early EP and rapturously received live performances to allow word to spread. As a result, O Emperor were picked up by Universal and decided to go back into the studio to re-record the album over a rapidly quick period, recording new songs and allowing the older ones to develop into fully fledged adults.
The results are stunning.
The soft-core, Radiohead-bass-chug of opener Don Quixote is an immediate eye-opener, vocalist Paul Savage allowing his voice to descend into a Thom Yorke sneer, while the guitars scream in the background.
The unexpectedly delicate piano-based rhythm of the subtle Sedalia is equally as impressive, the band mixing a dash of Syd Barret with more quaint English 1970s folk-rock.
Intertwining three part - at times five-part - vocal harmonies on certain songs, most notably the excellent single Don’t Mind Me, O Emperor effortlessly achieve heights no other Irish band has hit in recent times.
The weirdly spine-tingling and ghostly reverb of the Echo and the Bunnymen influenced Heisenberg is another highlight, as is the simple yet effective Catch-22.
There might not be enough upbeat moments on this album for many listeners, but it is a stunning piece of work, and one which loudly hints at further riches to come from this band.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Album review - Windings 'It's Never Night'

‘It’s Never Night’
(Out On A Limb Records)
CHOOSING TO open this album with the soft, atmospheric and warmly folk-tinged track ‘Lil Hands’ is something of a masterstroke by windings frontman Steve Ryan - proving immediately that this band is the antithesis of his former band, the hard-rocking Giveamanakick.
That said, the cheery, “woo” opening of second song Brain Fluid is the polar opposite of that hushed offering, and a demonstration of this band’s range, now that a “definitive” windings line-up has been found featuring, in particular, Ryan’s long time collaborator and friend Liam Marley, who brought a high level of multi-instrumental and song-writing skills to the table in 2008, with Aaron Mulhall’s drumming abilities and Patrick O’Brien (of Last Days of Death Country fame) added later.
This settled unit, which initially offered Ryan a font with which to express his musical alter ego, has now, with a settled line-up and collaborative process in place, given him the position in which to flex his musical muscles in a way that GAMAK could not.
Brain Fluid was the lead single from the album and impressed many on its release earlier this year for ringing with a sunny pop sensibility evocative of Teenage Fanclub or REM but we (proudly) knew of Ryan’s potential since the first windings release in 2005 - and through his antics with his former band, now sadly disbanded but not forgotten.
The Limerick man’s effortless electric guitar skills and fingerprints are all over this album, particularly on the aforementioned lead single, the upbeat yet retro Poor In The Mouth and the rockier You Did.
But it is the folk driven songs we love most here, the epic, stomach churning Apologia, finishing as it does with a post-rock wig out; the beautifully wistful Song of the Doomed; and the gorgeously warm Old Like J, a stone-wall album highlight that you won’t be able to get out of your head for days, and won’t want to for that matter.
The changing, twisting seven-something minutes of These Horses Also Ran is firm proof if you needed it that this album was worth the wait, chugging toward a soaring finish with rat-tat drumming and jangling guitars, bursting into a furious, eye-opening climax. A long time coming, but worth the wait - and then some.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Limerick Live on Cruises Street this Saturday

THE CREAM of the crop from the Irish music scene comes to Limerick this weekend for the debut music and arts festival Limerick Live, which is set to bring hundreds of music fans onto Cruises Street.
The superb Fight Like Apes and rising stars O Emperor will be joined by The High Kings and John Spillane, as well as exciting local acts We Should Be Dead, Supermodel Twins and Windings on two stages on the city centre pedestrian street.
The impressive initiative is being spearheaded by HMV on Cruises Street, in association with Dolan’s Warehouse - who will host Fight Like Apes, We Should Be Dead and Supermodel Twins in the Dock Road venue on Saturday night - and is being supported by the Limerick Chronicle and Limerick’s Live 95FM.
There will be two stages set-up on Cruises Street during the day, with some of Limerick’s brightest talent performing on the second staged, including performances from the Art In Motion Performance Company directed by Jenny Brown and guests, Myles Breen of Bottom Dog Productions, Choke Comedy Improv and Centrespace Studios. There will also be a signing area where fans can meet the bands and get autographs.
O Emperor are first on stage at 12pm on Saturday and we strongly recommend getting down early to see one of the finest Irish bands in recent memory.
Designed to be a “fun filled day out for all the family”, the street festival is intended to “celebrate what Limerick city has to offer”, according to HMV manager, Chris Keena.
“Essentially the idea behind the event is to promote Limerick city by providing people with a quality event that not only appeals to every walk of life but offers value for money,” explained HMV store manager Chris Keena.
“It is our sincerest hope that Limerick Live will grow and develop as an event and continue to attract people back to the city by re-establishing the city as the heart of the county,” he added. Dolan’s supremo Mick added his voice to a call for similar events established in the city.
“We need a project like this – and more like it – to drive on the city and take us out of the recession,” said Mick.
The FREE music and arts event takes place from 12-5pm on Saturday, while the event moves down to Dolan’s Warehouse from 9pm that night.

* We will be posting an interview with Fight Like Apes here tomorrow, do come back!

New play Chicane in the Belltable this week

A BLACKLY comic thriller, where the audience should “expect the unexpected”, is how Guna Nua Theatre Company’s Chicane is described, boasting a top notch cast and direction by Limerick man Paul Meade, a renowned actor in his own right.
Written by first time playwright Anthony Brophy and featuring Barry Barnes, Emmet Kirwan - of RTE’s Sarah and Steve - and highly promising up and coming actress Jane McGrath, this is definitely not one to miss.
Steeped in film noir and effectively a cinematic thriller on your local stage, Chicane is packed with suspense, violence and deceit and receives its world premiere on Limerick’s Belltable stage, a considerable coup for the venue.
“It is a thriller, set in a lawyer's office in contemporary Dublin and basically what people can expect is the unexpected,” laughs Paul Meade, founder of Guna Nua, whom local audiences may remember brought the superb ‘Little Gem’ to the Belltable in recent times.
“The name Chicane refers to something in the story, but it also refers to all the twists and turns in the play and it brings you around a different corner every ten pages or so. The play is like a revenge play, but your perception of what is happening is constantly being subverted. It is set in one office, there are three characters and it is really intense, but very funny at times - it is playful in the sense that it is constantly changing in that you don't know what is going to come next.”
He adds with a smile: “There are a lot of film noir overtones. If you like thrillers or black comedy, you will love this”.
The three-hander is a suspenseful whodunit, but is ultimately a story of love and loyalty. Happily, it provides the Dublin based Meade - whose performance in the Georgian House located Buck Jones and the Bodysnatchers lingers long in the memory - with a chance to return to his home city.
“It is great to be back in Limerick and it is always great to be in the Belltable - they have been very supportive of Guna Nua for the last number of years with Little Gem and this,” he says effusively.
Chicane runs in the Belltable @ 36 Cecil Street until Saturday, October 2.

Panic with The Rubberbandits in Dolan's this Thursday night

Mornin' folks (is it afternoon already?).. Apologies for the lack of posting up here over the last few weeks - if anyone is still reading - but Electric Picnic, holidays and black tie balls have crippled our output in recent times.. Back on the air and delighted to say there is loads going on over the next few days, weeks and months, all of which you can read about in the pages of the Chronicle/Leader, or get the rag-tag bits and bobs here!

This Thursday sees local heroes The Rubberbandits return to their roots for a show in Dolan's Warehouse as part of the excellent new Panic! club night, which has already featured DJ sets from Newton Faulkner and Ocean Colour Scene and the superbly talented Redneck Manifesto last Thursday. This week the 'Bandits (after their recent exploits at EP '10 and in the capital, see below, thanks to Ken Coleman for the pics) are joined at Panic! by DJs Paul Webb, Leon and John Kelly - all for the princely sum of five squids.. But get down for 10.30pm, because it'll be sold out by 10.35pm we reckon..

LIMERICK’S dastardly rap-comic duo The Rubberbandits - who maintain their secret identities by performing with plastic bags over their heads - joined a list of guest speakers that includes Jonathan Swift and Nelson Mandela by making an appearance before the Trinity College Philosophical Society recently.
The improbable appearance came hot on the heels of a rapturously received gig at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, at which the Limerick duo were joined on stage by Crystal Swing, and also after the duo sold out Dublin music venue Whelan’s last week, on a Sunday night no less, an impressive achievement in itself.
The duo are also set to appear on Brendan O’Connor’s The Saturday Night show on RTE in the coming weeks, and have also recently been filiming a weekly slot on one of RTE’s top rated comedy shows - the identity of which cannot yet be revealed.
The Rubberbandits were invited to appear at the Trinity Philosophical Society - known as 'The Phil' - last week and caused such a commotion that a roadblock had to be erected on the Dublin city centre campus, with security shutting down the building the minute they came off stage, according to a spokesperson for the duo.
To put their appearance in some perspective, in recent years the society has played host to guests such as actor Al Pacino, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, presidential candidate John McCain, actress Dame Helen Mirren, writer Sir Salman Rushdie and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The ‘Bandits themselves said of the appearance: “We just made an appearance before the Trinity College Philosophical society where we were guest speakers. They got us to sign some old brown book that had signatures from eejits out of the 1700's with long names. Today is the first time that a drawing of Bob Marley saying "chuckig our law" has been inscribed in those pages. I spotted that Jonathan Swift wrote something about UB40 in it though in fairness”.
The Rubberbandits return to Limerick this Thursday, September 30 for a special gig in Dolan’s Warehouse as part of the new Panic! weekly clubnight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Album review - The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra 'Lowering the Tone'

The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
‘Lowering the Tone’
(Silly Goose Records)
IF THERE was a fear that the devilishly theatrical musical collective of The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra might struggle to replicate their joyous, energetic live magnetism on record, that is quelled instantly on listening to the superb, brass-fuelled New Miracle, one of the stand-out tracks on the local band’s much-anticipated debut album, Lowering the Tone.
An ensemble that work in tandem with each other, indeed feed off each other in the live arena, this reviewer feared that the BPLO - in particular producer and chief songwriter David Blake - might struggle to capture that intensity on CD.
Thankfully, this is not the case, from the swooning, undulating opener of December to the more subtle and gentle album closer Lion’s Share.
Formed around the central triumvirate of the Blake siblings - David, Ann and James - the BPLO boast some superb musicians among their ranks, and this class is immediately apparent on an album that has been due for some time.
The band’s status is apparent from the presence of Today FM DJ and The Undertones singer Paul McLoone - a major fan of the group - who assumes mouth tuba duties on the brass-fuelled New Miracle, which packs a wonderfully vaudevillian flavour and some of the finest harmonies heard on record for some time.
The ability of the BPLO to flit between the carefree swing of the undulating December, the smooth, louche lounge-lizard tones of Grace Jones, the haunted, electric-rock groove of The Devil and Me (our favourite track) and epic crescendo of Soon!, is simply remarkable.
There are some other more heartfelt tracks, in particular the soaring, harmony-driven Millionaire and the heart-breaking All I Want, which would make a grown man weep.
The vivid lyrics are an eye opener also, in particular on the superb We Walked On - “we lifted a serpent, a dead man was healed / he spoke with a forked tongue, a truth was revealed”.
The sea-shantyesque balled Long Time Rogue is about the only off-key note on what is a superb, joy-filled, dervish of an album.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Electric Picnic 2010 preview (plus stage times for local acts)

IT IS the final major festival of the summer, and the weather looks set to put everyone in good humour as Electric Picnic approaches this weekend.
A sizeable contingent of local fans will again make the pilgrimage to the gorgeous rolling plains of Stradbally, but among the masses is a large contingent of local artists who will also perform at the three day music and arts festival.
As it is classed as such, Electric Picnic is not just about music - rather it offers a mind-bending array of comedy, theatre and discussion - indeed everything from political debate to cooking demonstrations - among such headline acts as Roxy Music, Massive Attack, Leftfield and The Frames.
Local bands such as The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra, Size2Shoes and the Limerick-based Roots Factory DJs will be joined by local comedian Karl Spain, the Choke Comedy Improv troupe and actor Zeb Moore, who will be performing his one-man show Spinal Krapp in the Theatre Tent in the Mindfield arena.
However, the pick of the bunch - and our absolute stone-cold highlight for the weekend - has to be the Rubberbandits pending debut appearance with cult-heroes Crystal Swing in the Little Big Arena on Friday night.

The bizarre gig - it is true, believe us! - will be one of two the Rubberbandits will play at the weekend, with the second an appearance on the Comedy Stage on Saturday. In an attempt to get an official comment from one of the plastic-bag wearing duo ahead of their appearance with Irish pop-trio Crystal Swing, On the Beat contacted one half of the dastardly duo to find out why they had chosen the Irish band as their special guests.

“I have fancied the Ma in Crystal Swing since I first seen her,” explains Mr Chrome in his inimitable Limerick accent.
She has this pure captivating look in her eyes. It is as if her iris is the setting for a fight between innocence and sin, and I am the referee. Finally, at the Picnic I will get my chance to shift the face off her,” laughs the Rubberbandit.

Local comedian Karl Spain will perform on a different type of stage as he hosts “ESB Picnic Power” on Sunday afternoon. Essentially a carnival style carousel with thirty bicycles powering an electric shower, Spain will be on hand to get volunteers onto the bikes and may even avail of a hot shower himself!

“It should be good craic. The thing has been described to me as a shower thing that is like a carousel, with 30 people on bikes creating enough energy to power the shower in the middle,” he says.
“My theory is, if you have 30 people cycling, all of them are going to need a shower afterwards! I dont know if that flaw has been thought through,” he laughs. Spain will also perform on the Comedy Stage on Sunday.
The local comedian has played at Electric Picnic a number of times, and says people need to take a break from the madness, and what better place than the comedy tent.
“It is a great idea having comedy at these things, because it is down time. As much as people like to think they are going to go mad for 72 hours, they are not, they need to sit and chill out for a while, and listen to someone who will entertain you,” he explains.

Local musicians Nick Carswell and David Blake of the BPLO are of a similar opinion and are big ‘Picnic fans.
“We're delighted to be playing again, especially in Body and Soul arena, which is the big cosy heart of the festival,” says Nick, who will play with his band on Sunday afternoon on the Love Letters Stage.
“It's the perfect setting for The Elective Orchestra - last year our stage was made from a fallen tree so we can't wait to see the setup, it's always a bit magical. We'll be soothing some sore heads on Sunday afternoon while gearing people up for the last day of the fest,” he adds.
The BPLO will play in the Theatre Tent in the Mindfield area on Sunday night, closing out proceedings in that tent.
“We're thrilled to be invited back to play the Electric Picnic again this year,” says David. “Delightfully we're due to play in the Theatre Tent this year (and the Cabaret tent) which should house our many members. Since we're playing in a tent, we'll be hoping for rain to drive the punters in! Just kidding,” he laughs.

No such luck Mr Blake, the forecast this weekend is for sun, and we can expect plenty of laughter along the way.
Electric Picnic takes place this Friday to Sunday in Stradbally, and some tickets remain on sale from

Don’t miss:

The Rubberbandits (Friday, Little Big Arena, 1.15am and Saturday, Comedy Stage 4pm)
Choke Comedy Improv (Saturday, Theatre Tent, 12.30pm)
Size2Shoes (Saturday, Village Green Bandstand, 2pm)
The Roots Factory (Saturday, Trenchtown, 5-8pm and midnight to 4am)
Spinal Krapp (Theatre Tent, Saturday, 5.30pm)
Karl Spain (Sunday, Comedy Tent)
Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra (Sunday, Love Letters Stage, Body and Soul, 4pm)
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra (Sunday, Theatre Tent, 7.30pm)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Electric Picnic 2010 stage times (plus Body and Soul)

The times are up, gonna need to plan fairly well, some interesting clashes, not least Jonsi and Modest Mouse on Friday night (eek!).. I will have a list of stage times and locations for local acts up shortly also, or see this week's Limerick Chroncile..


Main Stage:
10:30pm – midnight Roxy Music
8:45pm – 9:45pm Modest Mouse
7:15pm – 8:15pm The Waterboys
6:00pm – 6:45pm Janelle Monáe
4:45pm – 5:30pm The Jolly Boys
3:45pm – 4:15pm Donal Dineen. Niwel Tsumbu & Friends

Electric Arena:
10:45pm – midnight Public Image Ltd
9:00pm – 10:00pm Jonsi (Sigur Ros)
7:15pm – 8:15pm Marc Almond
6:00pm – 6:45pm Black Mountain
4:45pm – 5:15pm Chew Lips
3:45pm – 4:15pm Nova Static

Crawdaddy Stage:
10:50pm – 12midnight Eels
9:20pm – 10:20pm Foals
7:45pm – 8:35pm Laura Marling
6:30pm – 7:15pm Hurts
5:30pm – 6:00pm Joe Echo
4:30pm – 5:00pm Cloud Castle Lake

Cosby Stage:
11:00pm – 12midnight Duke Special
9:45pm – 10:30pm Stars
8:30 pm – 9:15pm Cymbals Eat Guitars
7:30 pm – 8:00pm Here We Go Magic
6:30 pm – 7:00pm MNDR
5:30 pm – 6:00pm Delta Maid
4:45 pm – 5:15pm Vengeance & the Panther Queen
4:00 pm – 4:30pm James O’Connor with Audrey Trainor

Little Big Tent:
01:15am – 02:00am Rubberbandits feat Crystal Swing
12:15am – 01:00am Kormac’s Big Band
10:45pm – 11:45pm Booka Shade
9:30pm – 10:30pm Sneaky Soundsystem
8:30pm – 9:30pm Sebastian Leger
7:15pm – 8:15pm The Subs
6:00pm – 7:00pm Lorcan Mac
5:00pm – 6:00pm Phil Ryan
4:00pm – 5:00pm LRB

Body and Soul:
22:40-03:30 Donal Dineen live, with guests
22:00-22:40 Janelle Monae
20:35-21:20 Freelance Whales
19:10-19:50 Johnny Flynn
18:00-18:40 I Draw Slow
17:00-17.30 Que Pezon
16:00-16:30 Bocs Social

Main Stage:
12.30am – 2.00am Leftfield
10.30pm –11.45pm The Frames
8.45pm – 9.45pm Imelda May
7.00pm – 8.00pm Seasick Steve
5.15pm – 6.15pm Afro Celt Soundsystem
3.30pm – 4.30pm Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
2:15pm – 2:55pm Heathers
1.30pm – 2.00pm Mountain Man
12.30pm – 1.00pm Brian Deady

Electric Arena:
10:45pm – 12:15am LCD Soundsystem
8:45pm – 9:45pm Hot Chip
7:00pm – 8:00pm Bad Lieutenant
5:15pm – 6:15pm Crystal Castles
4:00pm – 4:45pm K'Naan
2:45pm – 3:30pm Robyn
1:30pm – 2:00pm Spilly Walker
12:30pm – 1:00pm Channel One

Crawdaddy Stage:
12midnight – 1:00am Gil Scott Heron
9:45pm – 10:45pm Cathy Davey
8:15pm – 9:15pm Steve Earle
6:45pm – 7:45pm Paul Brady
5:15pm – 6:15pm Villagers
4:00pm – 4:45pm Redneck Manifesto
2:30pm – 3:15pm Adrian Crowley
1:30pm – 2:00pm And So I Watch You From Afar
12:30pm – 1:00pm Goodtime John

Cosby Stage:
01:00am – 02:00am Joker & Nomad
11:50pm – 12:50am Edan
10:45pm – 11:35pm Monotonix
9:15pm – 10:15pm Brendan Perry
7:45pm – 8:45pm The Antlers
6:30pm – 7:15pm Steve Mason
5:15pm – 6:00pm Philip Selway
4:00pm – 4:45pm These New Puritans
3:00pm – 3:30pm Fang Island
2:00pm – 2:30pm The Mighty Stef
1:00pm – 1:30pm Aaron Wright

Little Big Tent:
00:45am – 2:00am Bloody Beetroots
10:45pm – 00:15am Tiga
9:45pm – 10:45pm Daniel Wang
8:30pm – 9:30pm The Japanese Popstars
7:25pm – 8:15pm Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip
6:10pm – 7:10pm Stacey Pullen
5:15pm – 6:00pm Crystal Fighters
4:00pm – 5:00pm Arveene & Misk
2:00pm – 3:50pm Trojan Soundsystem
12:30pm – 2:00pm Mikki Dee & Mystro

Body and Soul:
03:30-04:30 Phil Retrospector
02:15-03:15 Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill
00:45-01:45 Caribou
22:30-23:30 Crystal Fighters
21:00-21:40 Timber Timbre
19:50-20:30 Jimmy the Hideous Penguin
18:40-19:20 John Smith
17:20-18:00 Tucan
16:00-16:40 Lisa O’ Neill
15:10-15:40 Low Sea
14:00-14:40 SPECIAL GUESTS
12:50-13:30 Nouveaunoise
11:50-12:30 Ultan Conlon


Main Stage:
10.30pm – midnight Massive Attack
8.45pm – 9.45pm The National
7:10pm – 8:00pm Mumford & Sons
5:30pm – 6:30pm Friendly Fires
3.45pm – 4.45pm Dennis Alcapone
2:30pm – 3.15pm Bonobo (live)
1.15pm – 2.00pm Cymande II
12 noon – 12.45pm Dublin Gospel Choir

Electric Arena:
9:30pm – 10:40pm Fever Ray
7:45pm – 8:45pm UNKLE
6:15pm – 7:15pm Fat Freddy’s Drop
5:00pm – 5:45pm Two Door Cinema Club
3:30pm – 4:15pm Beardyman
2:30pm – 3:00pm DaM-FunK + Master Blazter
1:30pm – 2:00pm Neon Indian
12:30pm – 1:00pm Messiah J & the Expert

Crawdaddy Stage:
11:00pm – 12midnight Wolf Parade
9:15pm – 10:15pm Low Anthem
7:45pm – 8:45pm The Horrors
6:30pm – 7:15pm The Big Pink
5:15pm – 6:00pm Fight Like Apes
4:00pm – 4:45pm The Alarm
2:45pm – 3:30pm Stornoway
1:30pm – 2:15pm The Tallest Man on Earth
12:30pm – 1:00pm James McMorrow

Cosby Stage:
11:00pm – midnight New Pornographers
9:15pm – 10:15pm The Fall
7:45pm – 8:30pm Liquid Liquid
6:15pm – 7:15pm Archie Bronson Outfit
5:00pm – 5:45pm Field Music
3:50pm – 4:30pm Dandelion
2:50pm – 3:20pm Jerry Fish
2:00pm – 2:30pm O Emperor
1:00pm – 1:30pm Land Lovers
12 noon – 12:30pm Riptide Movement

Little Big Tent:
10:45pm – 12midnight Laurent Garnier live
9:15pm – 10:15pm 808 State
8:00pm – 9:00pm Juan Atkins
7:00pm – 7:55pm Mixhell
5:45pm – 6:45pm Jackbeats
2:30pm – 5:30pm Mr Scruff
1:30pm – 2:15pm Lorcan Mak

Body and Soul:
03:00-03.30 Visuals & Close
02:30-02:45 Judith Mok feat. Shane Booth & Daniel Forde performing Love & Life in Operatic Recital
01:00-02:00 Omar Souleyman
23:30-00:30 John Cooper Clarke
22:50-23:05 Sfear
21:30-22:30 Iarla O Lionaird & Steve Cooney
20:10-21:00 Neon Indian
18:30-19:15 Martina Topley Bird
17:25-18:00 Arborera
16:05-16:55 Cymande II
14:50-15:25 Special Guest
14:00-14:30 Jennifer Evans
13:00-13:30 Daithi O’Dronai
12.00-12.30 Paul Melia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Album review - Philip Selway 'Familial'

Philip Selway
(Bella Union)

ONE OF THE world’s most proficient drummers, Philip Selway’s innovative timing and off-kilter rhythms give Radiohead their most distinctive edge. Odd then, that Selway’s debut solo album features very little - almost none in fact - of his trademark off-beat drumming.
Instead, we get a deeply personal, understated and at times whimsical offering that deals with themes of growing old and the importance of family - hence the name.
Selway is the third Radiohead member to venture into the solo realm after Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood, and those expecting a duff offering - as is often the norm for drummers from hugely commercial bands - will be pleasantly surprised.
Radiohead fans will not, knowing that Selway has provided backing vocals on several occasions over the band’s seven studio albums - the eighth which is currently being recorded, but not before the engaging Selway takes his own solo compositions on tour.
And what a voice he has. It is not showy or flashy, or similar to the tear-inducing falsetto that Yorke is famous for - rather Selway’s is nuanced and subtle, allowing his voice to creak and crack where necessary.
His impressive range is complemented by the fact that, to a large degree, Selway allows his voice to be the main instrument on the album - and avoids any Radiohead-type sounds, a few digital glitches aside.
The hushed and haunted By Some Miracle opens the album in stunning, Nick Drake style, Selway’s deliciously off-kilter melodies accompanied by gentle harmonies - courtesy of Lisa Germano, who worked with Selway and Neil Finn on the 7 Worlds Collide project.
Familial also boasts Wilco members Glenn Kotche and Pat Sanson - impressive special guests if you can get them, but then Selway’s day-job probably helps with that.
The drumming loops, handclaps and digital rattles of the Tom McCrae-sounding Beyond Reason is the closest Selway allows himself to stray toward Radiohead’s territory.
It is the three core songs of the superb Ties That Bind Us - a countrified and harmonic folky offering with deep double-bass sounds - the very delicate and subversive Patron Saint and sweeping, string-driven Falling, that forms the emotional heartbeat of this album. The ghostly, slow-burning Don’t Look Down is the stand-out track on offer on an album that should open the eyes of both Radiohead and non-fans alike.
Rating 4/5

Friday, August 20, 2010

Electric Picnic 2010 day by day breakdown

The full day to day/night by night breakdown of acts playing at Electric Picnic (on the main stages at least) has been released, with Limerick's Rubberbandits - pictured launching the festival above - set for a Friday night slot with special guests Crystal Swing (the highlight of the weekend in the making, methinks..)

Just two weeks to go!!


Roxy Music
Public Image Limited
Modest Mouse
The Waterboys
Jonsi (Sigur Ros)
Marc Almond
Janelle Monae
Booka Shade
Duke Special
Laura Marling
Kormac’s Big Band
Sebastien Leger
Black Mountain
The Rubberbandits feat Crystal Swing
Sneaky Soundsystem DJ set
Here We Go Magic
Chew Lips
Cymbals Eat Guitars
Joe Echo
Freelances Whales
Delta Maid
James O’Connor
Nova Static
Donal Dineen, Niwel Tsumbu & Friends
Vengeance & the Panther Queen
The Subs
Phil Ryan


The Frames
LCD Soundsystem
Imelda May
Hot Chip
Seasick Steve
Gil Scott Heron
Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77
AfroCelt Soundsystem
Steve Earle
Bad Lieutenant
Paul Brady
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Cathy Davey
Crystal Castles
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
Redneck Manifesto
The Antlers
Brendan Perry
And So I Watch You From Afar
Steve Mason
Ryan Sheridan
The Japanese Popstars
Stacey Pullen
Edan the MC
Adrian Crowley
Joker & Nomad
Mountain Man
Philip Selway
Arveene & Misk
These New Puritans
Spilly Walker
Fang Island
Daniel Wang
Brian Deady
The Mighty Stef
Crystal Fighters
Mikki Dee & Mystro
Trojan Soundsystem
Goodtime John
Channel One


Massive Attack
The National
Mumford & Sons
Fever Ray
Friendly Fires
Fat Freddys Drop
Two Door Cinema Club
Fight Like Apes
Laurent Garnier (live)
Wolf Parade
The Horrors
The Fall
Dennis Alcapone & the Dubcats
New Pornographers
Bonobo (live)
The Big Pink
Low Anthem
Jerry Fish & the Mudbug Club
Liquid Liquid
808 State
Archie Bronson Outfit
Mr Scruff
Field Music
Cymande II
The Tallest Man on Earth
The Alarm
Juan Atkins
Dam Funk
James V McMorrow
Neon Indian
Dublin Gospel Choir
Messiah J & the Expert
O Emperor
The Riptide Movement

Album review - The Magic Numbers 'The Runaway'

The Magic Numbers
‘The Runaway’
(Heavenly Recordings)
THIS THIRD album from double-sibling quartet The Magic Numbers is a perplexing affair. Not in terms of the music on offer - it does not mine difficult artistry and complexity - rather it seems to show a quartet who do not want to be the band they have often been pigeonholed as. Often seen as something of a happy clappy harmony band, a la the Mamas and Papas, as a result of their more successful singles from first two albums, in reality both albums were driven by their own share of heartache, a tinge of unease and unhappiness prevalent on each.
It is no different here, on what is a moody, downscaled and often lo-fi affair that opens bursting with strings, but soon quietens almost to a crawl - too quiet by half for our tastes.
Produced by frontman Romeo Stodart and Valgeir Sigurdsson - who has worked with oddballs Bjork and Bonnie Prince Billy - the standout feature of this beguiling album is the weight of the strings present on it, arranged, before he passed away, by Robert Kirby, renowned for his work with the likes of Nick Drake, Sandy Denny and Elvis Costello.
As such, the swooning violins on the Beach House influenced opener ‘The Pulse’ are an impressive start to the record; as is the orchestral swing of Hurt So Good.
Stodart has said the band wanted to avoid the album being driven purely by guitars, instead replacing them with orchestration, and to a certain extent this is case, outside of by-the-numbers tracks such as A Start With No Ending and the ever so slightly Air-esque beat of Once I Had, but as a result the album is a bit samey, a bit maudlin, and a bit, well, bland.
The funky beat of of Why Did You Call is a stand-out, as is the Fleetwood Mac meets Broken Social Scene mash-up of Throwing My Heart Away, but there is not enough here to incite and excite, as the Magic Numbers eponymous 2005 debut did.
A shame, because the band are clearly bursting with talent. Maybe if they embraced their strengths and cheered up a bit, they might hit the perfect note.
Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner

Listening to Fight Like Apes' new album The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner, which is due for release on August 27. Track list below, and as we have come to expect from the excitable Dublin (now) trio, it is off the wall and sounds like none of the urgency or humour has been lost from 2008 debut album FLA and the Mystery of the Gold Medallion.

01 Come On, Let's Talk About Our Feelings
02 Jenny Kelly
03 Pull Off Your Arms And Let's Play In Your Blood
04 Hoo Ha Henry
05 Katmandu (Face It, You're Caviar, I'm Hotdogs)
06 Thank God You Weren't Thirsty (Lightbulb)
07 Poached Eggs
08 Captain A-Bomb
09 Waking Up With Robocop
10 Indie Monster
11 H + Z5 Together At Last
12 Ice Cream Apple Fuck

Should get a review together for next week's Chronicle, although releases from the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra and last week's Arcade Fire album plus Dinosaur, the debut album by John, Shelly and the Creatures (who play Dolan's this Friday, see today's Chronicle for interview) are also occupying much of our listening space at the moment..

Friday, August 6, 2010

The return of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

JUST WHEN we needed a bit of cheering up, arriving out of the gloom are eight brothers from Chicago on an adrenaline-fuelled jazz train.

Hyperbole, plaudits and acclaim aside, the very fact that Damon Albarn used the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on the recent Gorillaz record, had them on the main stage at Glastonbury, and released their album on his own label, plus the fact that they are supporting the Wu Tang Clan the night before they come to Limerick - tells its own tale.
This is a tale of eight brothers and their friend and drummer Christopher Anderson, who form this spiritual and cosmically connected brass-jazz-hip hop ensemble - and who play in Dolan’s Warehouse this Friday night.
The eight brothers, led by spokesman Gabriel ‘Hudah’ Hubert, who joined On the Beat for a genial chat recently, are sons all of the legendary jazz musician Philip Cohran, who had a seminal role with Sun Ra in Chicago in the 1950s.

Cohran turned 83 recently, and his sons were by his side to help him celebrate.
“He is still coaching us and gives us pointers on life,” says Hudah.
“Any time he hears about the things that we do, he always tells us how proud of us he is, and how much more that we have to do. Our father told us that music is supposed to be inspiring and we are here to inspire and as long as I can get that point across and people come up to us after the shows and say they had a great time, then that means I can go on with my job,” he adds.
Witnessing a live HBE show is simply hypnotic, in the absence of a better description, the eight brothers employing a mixture of battered brass instruments - tubas, trombones, trumpets - swaying and swinging as they play.
They have also added a new element of lyricism and crowd participation, beefing up their act considerably.

“The more and more you do something, the better you get at it, and you always try and flip it up and make it fresh so it doesn't become boring to you, and as long as you can be creative and keep it exciting, then the crowd is going to receive that,” says Hudah.

“Our father says when you open and close with a great song, then everything you do in the middle is going to be excellent, so we try to keep that format going and try to be as free as we can and definitely try and loosen up the crowd,” he adds.

Unprompted, the HBE member instantly namechecks the band’s recent gig in Dolan’s, saying he was just watching a You Tube video from that night in April.

“I was just remembering the energy of that crowd out there, it was nice,” he says. “The energy was incredible there last year. Ireland always shows us love, no matter what city we are in, what crowd we are performing before - they seem to love us and we respect the love back, it is a give and take thing that has been working out.”

This is a veritable Band of Brothers, who feel subconsciously connected, so do they believe in fate, that they were destined to follow this path?

“This is no accident, by no means whatsoever. Everything we have done so far has led us to where we are now. The more and more we do it, the more we know we are ambassadors to the world, we are not just representing ourselves, we are representing all the people who we grew up with, and our parents.”

Although the band recently recorded and released an EP with Irish promoters Choice Cuts, there are plans afoot for a full album release in the near future, one that should push HBE into the stratosphere.
“Right now we are back in the process of being in the studio to record some new material, we don't have a release date for it yet, we are just gathering the material because we wanna take the world by storm, we wanna give the people what they know we can give, and what we know we can give - a classic album,” says Hudah.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble play in Dolan’s Warehouse this Friday night, along with Limerick’s own B+ (Brian Cross) and Leon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Album review - Arcade Fire 'The Suburbs'

Arcade Fire
‘The Suburbs’

AFTER THE near faultless Neon Bible, follow-up to smash debut and album of the decade poll-topping Funeral, it appeared Arcade Fire could do no wrong, particularly in these parts, where they seemed worshipped with a certain reverence.
However, poor early word of mouth on this third album, the strangely titled ‘The Suburbs’, a small-ish crowd at Oxegen to see their headline Friday night appearance - could there be cracks appearing in the world’s biggest alternative band?
Not a bit of it.
True, this is a sprawling, bloated, so-called “concept” album that could have done with co-producer Markus Dravs getting out the scissors and trimming a few tracks - but boy is it a musical hotpotch, a heady brew of deep, dark, often subversive tunes that will take some amount of sampling to pronounce a verdict on.
There is a sense of unease about proceedings here, as if Wyn Butler, Regine Chassagne et al were slightly unconvinced about what they were attempting, but this 16-track beast is a testament to their bravery as artists.
The album boasts some classic rock tunes - Modern Man, an early highlight; synth-driven, Krautrock beats - Sprawl II Mountains Beyond Mountains; and chugging, string driven orchestrations - the pitch-perfect Rococo.
We particularly like the gloom of Sprawl I and II - capturing beautifully the mood and desperation of suburban life - “living in the sprawl/dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains”.
The gentle, almost jaunty opening of The Suburbs is disarming, but the No Cars Go spin-off Ready To Start is unmistakably Arcade Fire, a downbeat offering with a whipping electro finish. The first half of Half Light I recalls Sufjan Stevens with its swirling violins, while its follow-up, Half Light II, is less memorable.
The Fleetwood Mac-meets-Springsteen sheen of Suburban War is one of the highlights - “oh my old friends / they don’t know me now”, while lead single We Used to Wait - echoing as it does Foals/Klaxons - makes more sense when heard in context with the rest of the album.
Don’t listen to the naysayers, this is up there with Arcade Fire’s best work - bizarre Depeche Mode-concept quirks aside - but could still have done with being reduced in scope.
That said, there is enough here to offer a new experience with each new listen.

More additions to Electric Picnic 2010 line-up

MORE new additions to the Electric Picnic line-up, some of which are very exciting indeed, including new soul diva Janelle Monae, harmonic female trio and recent Bella Union signing Mountain Man, Irish lad Duke Special, dreamy shoegaze pop from Neon Indian, and the superb Irish band O Emperor.
Joining these exciting additions are Dj Dennis Alcapone and the Dubcats, New York's Freelance Whales, Delta Maid, the excellent Joe Echo who has recorded songs for Madonna and Paul Oakenfold, plus Vengenance and the Party Queen.
Some withdrawals also, due to "unforeseen circumstances" Memory Tapes, Breakestra and Chali 2 Na, won't be able to make the Stradbally fest.
Tickets still on sale, we would advise to get cracking if you plan on buying one!
For more see here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble return to Limerick this Friday

THE EPIC, electric, jazz driven funkof the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble returns to Limerick this Friday, with a very special line-up for the Dolan's Warehouse gig.
Fresh from headlining the main stage at Glastonbury with Gorillaz and a night after playing with Wu Tang Clan in Brixton Academy, the Hypnotic Brass return to Limerick for what should be another spectacular gig.
Joining the Chicago hip-hop jazz ensemble is Limerick's very own B+ (Brian Cross), visionary photographer, filmmaker and DJ, who was responsibile for bringing Brasilintime both to the stage and screen, including a gig in Trinity Rooms courtyard a couple of years ago, featuring the legendary Tony Allen among others.
However, Barack Obama's favourite band will be the main event, and Gabriel 'Hudah' Hubert joined us for an interesting chat for this week's Limerick Chronicle, which hits the streets this Tuesday lunchtime and also features a review of the new Arcade Fire album.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble play in Dolan's Warehouse this Friday night. For more see the Limerick Chronicle.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Indiependence Music and Arts Festival

THE AUGUST Bank Holiday weekend is proving to be the weekend of the small, boutique festival with a number of events taking place to cater for the festival-going crowd who are located beyond the walls of Dublin.
However, by far the most interesting of those small festivals taking place this weekend is the Indiependence Music & Arts Festival, taking place in Mitchelstown, just over the Limerick border and a mere 40 minutes drive from the city.
There is nothing small about this festival though, the brainchild of Shane Dunne, who went to college in the University of Limerick from 1997 to 2002.
With five stages, 90-plus bands and DJs and a capacity of 4,500 people in a brand new, green-field site, Indiependence is truly the way of the future for music festivals. This is the fifth year of Indiependence, which has grown organically bit-by-bit from its origins as a free concert in the main square in Mitchelstown.
Shane, of Curve Music Management, has brought the festival to this point, where the headliners are none other than the White Lies, Alabama 3 and Reverend and the Makers, which virtually every Irish band worth seeing joining them on the bill, including; Duke Special, Delorentos, Jape, God is an Astronaut, Codes, Super Extra Bonus Party, And So I Watch You From Afar - plus Limerick bands including We Should Be Dead, while Fred, with one member from Limerick, also take to the Indiependence stage.
As befits the name, this is a completely independent festival, and the team have done something few have managed; created a low-cost, affordable festival with a magnificent line-up.
“It is completely independently run,” explained Shane, speaking from the site this week.
“It gives people the option that they don't have to travel too far for their festival, plus the fact that it is only €79 for a weekend camping ticket and the line-up is strong helps. We have capped all the prices on site and it is a really good value weekend on an intimate site with no hassle - it will be a really laid back, enjoyable weekend for everyone I think,” he added.
The short drive from Limerick suggests that local music fans will make up a significant percentage of the crowd, we would wager.
“Yes, it is very close, just a short spin really. I went to UL so it is a road I know well myself,” explained Shane.
“We should have six or seven Limerick bands on the bill in total, we got together with UL Music Society this year to run a couple of ‘Battle of the Band’ events so we got a few from there, and we have We Should Be Dead, who are probably the most well known, outside of the 20 percent of Fred that is from Limerick,” he laughed.
Last year’s event was plagued by poor weather, but Shane is optimistic that this weekend should be better.
“Even though last year the weather was atrocious - it rained for two weeks solid in the run up to it and destroyed the site - the feedback was brilliant and a lot of people who were there last year are definitely coming back,” he explained.
“But this is a much drier site and a much better set-up and the forecast is ok for the next week - no heavy rain predicted, so it should be good.”
Securing the services of hugely popular UK indie band White Lies for their only show in the Republic of Ireland this summer is hugely impressive, and a sign that this festival should continue to grow in years to come.
“It took a little bit of back and forth, they are in the studio this summer doing the second album and they were only planning to come out for really select shows where they are the headline acts, so it is great to get an act like that. They are one of the biggest bands in the UK and I can't wait to get them in here at the weekend and up on stage."
He adds: “I think this year now because we have grown it substantially, it is important to leave it get through this year and consolidate a little bit. If we could get to the stage where we were selling out at 4,500 every year for a couple of years, maybe we could look at stepping on a bit at that stage”.
In the meantime, Indiependence is the place to be this weekend for all keen festival-goers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bump Muzik Festival this weekend

AS THE recession continues to bite the music industry hard, particularly the live scene, smaller, boutique festivals are springing up all over the country in response to the major, corporate music festivals that are simply out of many people’s price range.
Events like the recent Body and Soul Gathering in Mulllingar and No Place Like Dome in Sligo, plus the upcoming Indiependence in Mitchelstown are booming, and Limerick is set to join the ranks this weekend with the Bump Muzik Festival, admittedly being held in and around the Angler’s Rest pub in Clonlara, Co. Clare (see pic above).
However the site is just six miles from Limerick and features predominantly local acts seeking to display their wares to a festival audience.
Bump is set to feature some top DJs and bands playing over two days, with three stages set-up on the idyllic site. With full bar and camping facilities on site, plus the finest in local food, produced by local artisans, this could just be the gig of the summer.
The festival is capped at 700 people - with most of the tickets sold at this point - so crowds won’t be a problem, and as one of the organisers Dan Sykes of Viva Music explains, the concept behind the festival is about a “celebration of music, fun and good people”.
“That is what it is all about. You can go to so many things and the vibes aren't right at them. This is about people going to their festival where they can relax and listen to good music, with friendly people. That is what we are trying to promote,” explains Dan, local DJ and promoter.
Running the festival along with Viva are Eanna Byrtt of Dubble Bass, and Emma Ryan of Secret Stash Music.
“The idea came from putting on gigs over the last few years, it was something we wanted to do and put on an event that you would like to go to,” continues Dan, who also runs music production courses from his studio on O’Connell Street.
“We wanted to do something nice and small to capture that community vibe,” he adds.
A host of internationally renowned names are set to play at the festival, including techno maestro Luka Baumann (pic above), tech-house whizz Bearweasel, drum and bass genius Marcus Intalex (pic below) and rising star Rockwell. Irish producer Fran Hartnett and drum and bass DJ Calibre are also in the mix, as are a host of local musicians and crews including Subtle Audio, Micronite, Roots Factory and Cheebah, plus local bands We Should Be Dead and the Freeform Foundation.
“There are big names from outside Limerick but we are really trying to get as many people from Limerick as we can, because there is a really good scene here at the moment that we are trying to promote as well,” says Dan.
“There is enough there to showcase stuff from Limerick - we have the best and the brightest right here, with both the older and newer guys coming through,” he adds.
One of the highlights promises to be the Boudoir Stage, which will feature a “1920 gramophone disco with fancy dress”, according to Dan, while Sunday attendees will be able to purchase a roast dinner, possibly unique among any festival.
“A Sunday roast is something I have always wanted at a festival,” laughs Dan. “The surroundings are idyllic and there is a good energy off the place, you have the Shannon beside you, and there is something to be said about that, definitely,” he adds.
The Bump Muzik Festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Angler’s Rest, Clonlara. Buses will run from Arthur’s Quay from Saturday morning.
For full details see here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More new acts for Electric Picnic 2010

AFTER a storming set at Oxegen, the seemingly ubiquitous Bangor electro-poppers Two Door Cinema Club have been added to the bill for this year's Electric Picnic festival, as have Mercury Music Prize nominee Laura Marling; Swedish star Robyn; The Antlers (whoop!); melodic Swedish outfit The Tallest Man On Earth; US indie up and comers Cymbals Eat Guitars; London electro-trio Chew Lips; Brooklyn quintet Fang Island; Dublin four piece The Riptide Movement; Donal Dineen & Friends; and Cork native Brian Deady.

Superb! They join a line-up that already includes Roxy Music, Leftfield, Massive Attack, LCD Soundsystem, The Frames and Mumford and Sons.

This latest batch of acts follows a recent announcement regarding the comedy stage at the Stradbally-fest, which will include the likes of Mario Rosenstock, Reginald D Hunter, Ardal O’Hanlon, Phil Jupitus, Ed Byrne, Colin Murphy, Dead Cat Bounce, Glenn Wool, Joe Rooney, Karl Spain, Eleanor Tiernan, Dermot Whelan and many more!

There is now just six weeks to go until the Picnic, and we can't wait! Tickets still available here.