Randolf and the Crokers release debut single

Hangin' Single CoverLimerick band, Randolf & the Crokers, will release their debut single, Hangin’ tomorrow (Friday December 12).

The six piece have been gigging a lot locally and any time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing them—most recently supporting Brad Pitt Light Orchestra at the speigeltent at the Culture & Chips Festival—they’ve  been great. Their sound is a lovely blend of blues, country and rock and the single is no exception.

The track will be available on digital download through all the major retailers. It was recorded and mixed in the Lakelands Studios in Athlone by Mike O’Dowd and mastered by Wav Mastering in Limerick by Richard Dowling .

To hear ‘Hangin’ live, the band is having a release party on December 18 in Cobblestone Joe’s—co-inciding with the premiere of the music video for the single, shot by Shane Serrano.

The band formed in 2011 and is now taking the plunge with their first single and an EP in the works for early 2015. Over the past few years the band has played many support slots playing with the likes of O Emperor, Mark Geary, Moscow Metro, John Blek & the Rats and The Lost Brothers.

For more information on the band see www.facebook.com/randolfmusic or @RandolfMusic.

The local music scene has had a stellar year with the success of Fox Jaw, Leading Armies, Moscow Metro and Protobaby to name but a few. Roll on 2015 and more great music!


Indie Week Ireland kicks off this Wednesday

Siobhán O'Brien Indie Week2Indie Week Ireland will kick off in Limerick from this Wednesday (April 23) and at least 45 bands will perform in four different venues—Dolan’s, Cobblestone Joe’s, The Blind Pig and The Crafty Fox.

The four-day music festival—a celebration of independent music—will run until Saturday April 26.

Door prices for each gig range from free to €10 BUT you can buy festival passes for just €10 from www.dolans.ie. This will get you a festival wristband (access to all gigs every night).

The opening night and launch party of the festival takes places at Dolan’s Warehouse on Wednesday (doors at 7pm) and will include performances by Limerick bands, Going 90 and Raging Sons and Indie Week Canada 2013 winner, Sumo Cyco.

Thursday night is the first competition night of the festival, with each venue hosting a headline act and 4-5 competing acts. Headlining at The Blind Pig is Kai Exos; at The Crafty Fox is Silent Noise Parade; at Cobblestone Joe’s is Protobaby and at Dolan’s is dREA.

Going_90_2Friday night is another night promising a huge selection of music for festival-goers to choose from with 22 bands performing across the four venues. The headline acts are: Limerick’s own Siobhan O’Brien at The Blind Pig; Fox Jaw in Cobblestone Joe’s; Dead Red Light in The Crafty Fox and The Hot Sprockets in Dolan’s Warehouse.

Saturday night is all in Dolan’s Warehouse and will comprise of the festival competition finals and performances from Vesta Varro, Leading Armies and Sumo Cyco. Seven bands will be selected from Thursday and Friday nights to play in front of the judges. One band from these will win the grand prize of flights, accommodation and a gig at Indie Week Canada in October.

Doors open for each venue at 7.30pm and the full schedule of listings is available at ireland.indieweek.com.

Indie Week Ireland is now in it’s sixth year and is organised by Darryl Hurs, who also co-ordinates Indie Week Canada. Indie Week Ireland 2014 has moved to Limerick city with support from Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Mo Cinema August Screening

I popped along to the August screening of Mo Cinema on Wednesday (August 1). I’m repeating myself constantIy but I think the monthly event, which shows a selection of short films in Cobblestone Joe’s pub, is a great idea. It gives people an ideal opportunity to see some cool pint-size movies—whether by local, Irish or international talent. I’ve included links and embedded films below so people can get a taste of what was on offer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find two of the films from the first half on the night on the interweb so No Friends and The Post will forever remain a mystery to you…

There was a good ‘mockumentary’ by James Skerritt about the making of a surfing film with hapless director, Keith Williams (played by Peadar Clancy). The Element-Behind the Scenes was in the style of a cringeworthy documentary like The Office or Spinal Tap and the quality was great, especially the exceptional camerawork on the surf shots.

See the trailer here.

There was a send up of the Tom Cruise classic, Top Gun, from the Jameson Empire ‘Done in 60 Seconds’ Film Competition.

Next up was a local film made by Jason and Phillip Greaney-the ‘film noir’ style called The Bengal Budgie. The title should tell you that it was a fairly obvious send up of The Maltese Falcon.

See it here.

The clever animation, Wildebeest, by Bird Box Films was the only cartoon of the night.

There was another black comedy by Britanick Films-the team behind the hilarious Eagles are Turning People into Horses– called The Kiss.

Next up was the sci-fi short narrated by a robot, Robbie. It made spectacular use of old NASA archive footage to create a very human story. It reminded me a lot of the film, Wall-E because it was quite touching.

Next up was George Lucas in Love– a very funny spoof of Shakespeare in Love. As you can guess, this one is packed to the brim with references to Star Wars!

The last film of the night was the brilliant and shocking, Miracle Fish. This was Oscar-nominated and is a real masterclass in suspense. It’s a cracker with a big suckerpunch at the end.

Also, Mo Cinema is looking for people to make suggestions/submissions for the event. There is also a possibility that the people behind Mo Cinema are going to organise splinter events such as a ‘Secret Cinema Night’—a kind of guerilla screening where the location etc is kept quiet until the last minute.

In 2009, there were a few outdoor screenings by a group called Moving Pictures Limerick. They were projected onto the side of buildings. I remember going to see a Wim Wenders film and sitting on the steps of the Stone Jug building on Glentworth Street. The novelty far surpassed the dodgy foreign film on show but it would be great to see something innovative like that again. It’d be a nice partner to the new ‘Movies at the Market’ event (which is on again this Saturday, August 4 with Close Encounters of the Third Kind BTW).

More info at www.facebook.com/mocinema or Twitter @MoCinemaClub.

Review: Mo Cinema July screening

I went along to the July night of Mo Cinema in Cobblestone Joe’s last Wednesday (July 4). The new monthly event—which started last month—is dedicated to screening short films.

Cobblestone Joe’s was packed with film fans and all thoroughly enjoyed the 10 short films screened and the free popcorn was pretty good too! The films’ subject matter was diverse—a good mix of light, dark and a few shades in between. They were nearly evenly split between films made locally and abroad too, which is a good sign for Limerick’s burgeoning film industry.

Mo Cinema is something different for a night out in that midweek lull and is well worth a try. For more info see www.facebook.com/mocinema or Twitter @MoCinemaClub.

There’s a rundown below, including some of the films themselves.

It kicked off in style with A Love Story, a brilliant and surprising short by Blue Tongue Films. The running time of one minute, 25 seconds was short even in the grand scheme of short films but was gloriously effective. See for yourself…

The second was a project starring lots of aspiring local actors. Limerick Bouncers was a parody about the fickle door staff we all know and love…or hate, as the case may be. There are some really funny moments.

One of the stars of the night was the third film—The Dark Side of the Lens by acclaimed surf photographer, Mickey Smith, who was based in Lahinch when he made it. Ireland (and more specifically west Clare) has never looked so beautiful. It has won several awards so far and it’s not hard to see why. The visuals are stunning and coupled with an interesting voiceover, make it a memorable love letter to both a place and an art.

The fourth short was called Check and was the first feature project by Limerick production company, Apate Films. It was a morose study of grief with the central motif of chess. A young man tragically loses his girlfriend and must choose his next move. The fact that it was in black and white was a clever marriage of form and content and some of the montages are stylish. The video below is part one of two.

The fifth film was Scumbag Millionaire—a new short film by Applebox Media. It is the first of a trilogy and starred a plethora of local actors such as Francis Ryan, Zeb Moore, Finbarr Stanton, Nigel Mercier and Darren Maher. There was also a hilarious cameo by Joanne Ryan as a classic Limerick ‘Pyjama Mama’. It was a comedy/action caper about a man’s struggle to get out of a crime gang but when he wins the Lotto, he ends up getting more immersed in the underworld. The trailer gives you more of an idea…

After a short interval came the sublime, Mixtape. It is also a multi-award winner. The film is a tribute to both young love and music. The look is vibrant and the direction by Luke Snellin is slick but its secret weapon is pure charm!

The seventh film was a cartoon called Friendsheep, by PrimerFrame. It was a fun play on the saying ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’. I loved the punchy animation and it proves that classic slapstick will always work.

Next, The Division of Gravity was a different beast altogether. The film by Rob Chiu charts a love affair from happy beginnings through to eventual disintegration. The photography was absolutely gorgeous; the quote “a terrible beauty is born” springs to mind because it’s a very sad film. It says in 10 minutes what most films dealing with affair de Coeur struggle to say in 10 times that amount.

Watch it on Vimeo here

The penultimate film was a comedy tonic designed to counteract the effects of the weepy before! Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses by Britanick Films was Brian McElhaney’s 2008 NYU Thesis Film. It was chosen to be screened at several festivals. It is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen; I was literally crying with laughter. It is as ridiculous a premise as it sounds and it’s all about one man’s quest to break up with his girlfriend. But he can’t just say: “It’s because of your annoying laugh”. No, he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings so he comes up with a more imaginative way of letting her down gently…

The last was Prey Alone, a thriller directed by Stephen St Ledger. From the get-go, it is obviously not a typical Irish film! It has a very distinctive visual style and killer special effects. The tagline is “One Fugitive, One Question…One Answer”. Enjoy figuring out where the suspense is leading you…

Mo Cinema debuts on Wednesday June 6

Mo Cinema, a new monthly event dedicated to screening short films is starting the week after next (Wednesday June 6) in Cobblestone Joe’s pub.

Mo cinema—set up by film fans for film fans—is free and around eight short movies will be shown on the night, starting at 9pm.

According to one of the organisers, Dan Mooney: “We decided we wanted it mid-week and in a city centre location basically because we were forever giving out and listening to others give out that there’s nothing to do in town mid-week except the same crap we did last week. This is our small effort at adding something extra.”

The first night is going to be mostly films from outside Ireland but there has seemingly been huge interest from local filmmakers. Dan added that this is “great news” for Mo Cinema.

“We think that by the time Mo comes around for July, we’ll have half a night from local short movie makers. That’s something we’re keen to push as well; a way for filmmakers to get their stuff out there.”

I’m not surprised at the interest from budding filmmakers. Limerick plays host to the Fresh Film Festival every year and the response from young people is enthusiastic. Hundreds of short films are submitted for competitions and screenings. I know of at least one group of local screenwriters who meet regularly. There are always short films being made by students, artists and community groups and it’s great that there is now an outlet for that creativity.

Short film is arguably a harder art to master than feature film because it’s easier to tell a story in an hour and a half than it is in a brief few minutes. Irish short films have fared well in awards like the Oscars in recent years and most of the eminent directors cut their teeth making shorts and music videos.

Dan emphasised that “it’s not the run of the mill kind of night”. That sounds refreshing. Hopefully there will a big turnout for the premiere with lots of popcorn and film buff banter.

For more info see www.facebook.com/mocinema or @MoCinemaClub.