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.

Review: The Strypes at The Blind Pig

I went to see the young Cavan beat-group, The Strypes, in The Blind Pig on Thomas Street lately (Friday August 10). I saw them already this summer at the Westport Festival and was impressed enough to go along to see a full gig. I’ve also been threatening to check out the bar, which is one of Limerick’s newest live music venues.

The Strypes are a four piece band—all teenagers around 14/15—who play stormin blues and rock n roll covers. They look the part—Sixties haircuts, suits, drainpipe trousers etc. They stand out in a sea of bands sporting Aztec print vests and ironic facial hair (shakes head, facepalm). At this point, you could pigeonhole them as a gimmick BUT for the fact that this band is so talented. The Strypes play their instruments incredibly well and have the confidence and stage presence of a much older band.

The Blind Pig’s band area in the basement is very compact! It’s great because it’s up close and personal. But the crowd is also crammed in and you can imagine the heat, noise etc. The bar area is larger and you can listen to the band out there but the view is limited. On this occasion, the venue fitted the bill exactly because it resembles Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club, where a little band called The Beatles started out.

From the minute the set started, it was a good hour and a half of just song after song with little or no stopping for applause. The Strypes have an EP out called Young, Gifted and Blue. That gives a taste of the material they play by legends such as Bo Diddley, Eddie Holland, Slim Harpo, Billy Boy Arnold, Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Bobby Troup et al. There is some tremendous guitar, percussion and harmonica playing required for this genre. You rarely get to hear that type of music played live but it’s a pleasure to see these guys do so in such a skilled and energetic way.

The Strypes are: Ross Farrelly, Josh McClorey, Pete O’Hanlon and Evan Walsh. I can’t single anyone out because they are so tight as a group but they all had their individual flashes of brilliance. They brought a youthful exuberance to the material too. The crowd really got into it and the atmosphere was electric.

Groups like The Yardbirds cut their teeth on covers in the same vein so The Strypes are in good company. Seemingly there is original material coming down the line as well so with any luck they will only get better with age. What really sprang to mind as I came out into the cool night, ears ringing, was that famous Jon Landau quote about Bruce Springsteen. He talks about seeing rock n roll past and roll n roll future rolled into one in the Boss. I think The Strypes have something special too. If they’re that good in their mid teens, a bright musical career beckons. I included a video below so you can see what I mean…

The Blind Pig has a packed music schedule. Check out their Facebook.

For more information on The Strypes see Facebook or their website.