Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baker Place fifth birthday celebrations begin this Wednesday

CHOICE MUSIC prize nominees And So I Watch You From Afar are to play a free gig in Baker Place this Thursday as part of the venue’s fifth birthday celebrations.
Baker’s are running five days of free gigs from Wednesday to Sunday this week to celebrate their fifth birthday, and the mighty Belfast band - who played 170-plus gigs in 2009 - headline proceedings on Thursday night, along with rockers Maslow and Cork band Hope is Noise.

Baker Place his firmly established itself as the premier alternative music venue in the city, boasting an upstairs live venue and the cavernous Underground downstairs club area, which regularly hosts premier DJs and live gigs.
Over the years Baker’s has played host to any number of top up and coming Irish bands, including Super Extra Bonus Party, Fight Like Apes, Messiah J and the Expert and The Infomatics - plus Limerick’s own Giveamanakick, while remaining fiercely loyal to the local Limerick music scene, where many of the current bands and artists have first cut their teeth on the live scene.

The venue is to host five consecutive nights of free gigs, beginning this Wednesday night with an acoustic night including Benoit, Paddy Mulcahy, Scully and the Misfits and the Built For Comfort. Thursday sees the aforementioned rock juggernaut of And So I Watch.. take to the stage, and Baker’s advise that interested parties “come early so you can get a good spot for the blood sweat and tears that will be unfolding”.

On Friday night popular local rockers The Fewer The Better (pic above) launch their new EP, with support from Jester, Odd Stocks Revival and Pet Hates, while local band Idle Hands will play their last ever gig in their current line-up on Saturday night, joined by I Caught Fire, Ka Tet and Brain.
Irish rap veteran Ri-Ra - formerly of ScaryEire - will perform live in Underground on Friday night while Sunday is the purview of the many metal bands that play regularly in the venue on a Sunday, including Clurichaun, Brigantia and Shardborne.
Fundraising for Serve, an initiative committed to tackling world poverty, will also take place over the course of the five nights.
(Interview below with And So I Watch You From Afar)

BELFAST four-piece And So I Watch You From Afar are a gargantuan rock outfit that released one of the finest albums of last year, deservedly securing a recent Choice Music Prize nomination for their self-titled debut.
The instrumental four-piece have also gained a warranted reputation as one the most exciting live bands currently on go around Ireland, a reputation built up from playing 170-plus gigs last year.
Their gig in Baker Place last year was an awesome experience; a sweaty extravangaza of powerhouse rock and innovative rhythms. The band return to Baker Place this Thursday to help the alternative music venue celebrate their fifth birthday with a free gig.
It wasn’t hard to persuade them, as drummer Chris Wee tells On the Beat that playing in Limerick is an exciting experience.
“The crowds in Limerick are mad, they really go for it,” laughs the drummer, speaking as the band finish a UK tour that saw them play to sell out crowds - an indication of their growing presence and profile.
“There are some places you can turn up to in England and they are a bit stagnant, you know? There is a bit of pretence about them, then you come down to places like Limerick and people are a lot hungrier for it, which certainly adds to our own energy,” says Chris.
“Energy” simply doesn’t really cut it for a band whose tagline is “we are the bull, you are the china shop”, and with songs like Set Guitars to Kill and Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...GO!, can whip an audience into a frenzy with their music, which clearly owes a debt to post-rock pioneers like Mogwai, but it is still staggeringly original and inventive, fusing dreamy melodies with balls-out rock and roll.
Instead, Chris and his fellow members - Rory Friers, Tony Wright and Jonathan Adger - perform a live set that is akin to say, going 14 rounds with Mike Tyson.
“Yeah, my arms can feel like that sometimes,” laughs Chris. “There have been a lot of energy drinks imbibed over the last year - we could do with not having so many. I think that is a good thing about touring so much because our sets are so high energy, it is all-out physical endurance for me and the other guys.”
He adds: “I love it. That is the way we like to play, especially with the live stuff. Obviously we have quiet songs like the Voiceless - but it is all about providing a show for people that they can really enjoy and engage with, and we like to be as mad as possible.”
The band have cemented a cast-iron tautness about the way they play, thanks to the incessant touring in 2009, which included shows at Pukkelpop in Belgium, Glastonbury, the Eurosonic Festival and a high-profile run of shows in Ulster Hall in Belfast.
They have no intention of resting on the laurels of critical acclaim and award nominations however, with the EP ‘Letters’ due out in February and a follow-up album due in the Autumn. “We are going to try and be as busy as we were before, but we are also going to try and get this album done. I think we have always believed in what we are doing and written what we wanted to write and people respect us for that. It is great to be acknowledged for that.”
And So I Watch You From Afar play in Baker Place this Thursday and admission is free.

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