Last night, Tuesday 20th February, Joe.ie’s Paddy McKenna hosted the much-anticipated tenth IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards at the Irish Music Rights Organisation Headquarters in Dublin.
The award for National Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 (via public vote) went to Mike The Pies, Listowel Co Kerry.
Of the annual awards voted by over 12,000 IMRO members Victor Finn, IMRO Chief Executive said “A strong live music circuit is the lifeblood of a vibrant music industry. It is important that we acknowledge those venue owners and festivals promoters whose commitment, passion and support for live music throughout the country enables music creators to continue making the music we all enjoy”.
Other winners in the regional categories include
Dublin – Whelan’s
Rest of Leinster – The Set Theatre
Connacht – Roisin Dubh
Munster – Connolly’s Of Leap
Ulster – Leo’s Tavern
Also nabbing accolades for IMRO Music Festival of the Year and IMRO Small Live Music Festival 2017 were Electric Picnic and Another Love Story respectively.
Vicar St, Dublin picked up the award for IMRO Tech Crew of the Year.
The IMRO Outstanding Contribution to Live Music accolade was awarded this year to Willie Meighan, formally proprietor of Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny, who sadly passed away in November 2017, aged just 48. Willie’s beloved partner Aisling and Willie’s family members were at the ceremony to accept this special Award.
Performances on the night came from Le Boom, Chasing Abbey and Wild Youth.
Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes also gave special commendations, presenting awards to Vicar St Hot Press Live Venue of the Year for 2018 / INEC, Killarney and Kavanagh’s of Portlaoise.
He said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Irish music. We are continuing to produce singers, songwriters and bands capable of taking on the world, working in a wide variety of styles and genres. The likes of Loah, Lankum, David Keenan, Jafaris and Hudson Taylor – to name just a few of our new breed of hopefuls – are all very special artists. It is particularly exciting to see Rejjie Snow becoming the first real global breakthrough Irish hip hop artist.
“What’s especially encouraging is that live music is also flourishing all over Ireland. New venues have been opening. Older ones have been resurgent. People are investing serious money in making things happen.
“In all of this it is really important that venues are musician friendly – which is such a central part of the appeal of the Hot Press Live Venue of the Year for 2018, Vicar Street. It is also true of a more traditional venue like Kavanagh’s of Portlaoise, which has made great strides over the past 12 months; and of the INEC in Killarney, which successfully caters for big international acts as well as local heroes. Both of these venues are the recipients of Special Commendations from Hot Press and its readers. A big congratulations and well done to all.”
Live music venues and festivals play a vital role in the music industry in Ireland, giving international and homegrown artists a platform to engage with fans and build new audiences. They also play a central role in urban and rural communities across the country, providing a social gathering space for varied audiences, and contributing hugely to the domestic economy.
IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 Winners
IMRO National Live Venue of the Year 2017 – Mike the Pies, Listowel
IMRO Dublin Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 – Whelan’s
IMRO Rest of Leinster Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 – The Set Theatre, Kilkenny
IMRO Connacht Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 – Roisin Dubh, Galway
IMRO Munster Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 – Connolly’s Of Leap, Cork
IMRO Ulster Live Music Venue of the Year 2017 – Leo’s Tavern, Donegal
IMRO Music Festival of the Year 2017 – Electric Picnic
IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year 2017 – Another Love Story
IMRO Tech Crew of the Year Award 2017 – Vicar St, Dublin
Hot Press Live Venue of the Year for 2018 – Vicar St with special Hot Press commendations going to the INEC, Killarney and Kavanagh’s of Portlaoise.
Photo by Ruth Medjber – Aiden O’ Connor from Mike The Pies
After great anticipation, KnockanStockan has returned with full punch for 2018, with an impressive first lineup announcement setting a sensational standard for the many acts yet to be announced for the festival this year. A true representation of the high calibre of music in Ireland, this first announcement presents the beginning of an exceptionally eclectic lineup, a great mix of homegrown talent and international artists of critical acclaim fitting for all musical tastes and sure to impress even the most refined musical palate. Not long after going on sale, Tier 1 tickets to KS2018 have already sold out, a true sign of excitement for the festival’s return after a one year break in 2017:
Bantum | Humans of the Sesh | ROE
JyellowL | Navá | Sim Simma Sound System
Bicurious | Akora | Chancer | The Olllam |
Moon Looks On | Spudgun | Munky
Farah Elle | Deborah | Yankari | The Scratch
The Bonk | Vernon Jane | Slouch
The Hot Sprockets | Grand | Simon Bird
Ailie Blunnie | Super Silly | Wood Burning Savages
Paddy Hanna | Elaine Mai | Cúla Búla | Kojaque
Celebrating the best of modern Irish culture, KnockanStockan’s diverse musical lineup will be accompanied by additional treats for festival fans this year, featuring new collaborations, several international artists, spectacular new stage designs, new areas to explore, an array of art installations and endless performance art in many glorious forms. Each new addition to the festival will be a tasteful continuation to the KnockanStockan we know and love with additional features both complementing and elevating the festival’s remarkable reputation.
“A small festival with a massive soul” – Hot Press Magazine
A much loved family friendly event, KnockanStockan’s artistic eclecticity brings something for everyone, which has earned the festival many awards throughout the years such as Best Line Up, Best Small Festival, Best Family Festival and Best Social Responsibility Award. KnockanStockan returns to its breathtaking site overlooking the Blessington Lakes, refreshed and revitalised after a one year break, ready to bring back the best in independent music and the best in everyone who attends!
Tier 1 tickets – SOLD OUT Friday tickets SOLD OUT
Saturday & Sunday Camping tier 2 available at €135 via knockanstockan.ie
To coincide with the release of their debut album, ‘Midnight Broadcast’ (through Seventh Dial Records) Warsaw Radio have released their new single ‘Ms. Monroe’. The song and video takes inspiration from the relationship between film maker Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. The narrative imagines Monroe giving advice on relationships after the break down of her relationship with Miller when they were filming what would be Monroe’s last film (‘The Misfits’) in Reno, Nevada.
Warsaw Radio formed in 2013 in Brighton when Nikki Bates (violin & vocals) answered an ad posted online by Brían McNamara (vocals & guitar) looking for musicians to start a band. McNamara had recently moved from Limerick, Ireland to Brighton to be closer to the London music scene. Prior to moving to Brighton McNamara honed his craft playing solo in venues and busking in New York’s Greenwich village and San Francisco. Brían was previously lead singer in a rock band signed to Xeric Records in Ireland (a label owned by The Cranberries first manager Pearce Gilmore) and as an unsigned solo artist played across Ireland including shows with acts such as Mundy and Bell X1. Nikki Bates moved to Brighton from Barcelona around the same time as Brían. Hailing from the North of England, as a musician she had worked with the likes of Sting, EMI studios, Cinematic Sinfonia and London Philharmonic Orchestra.
According to McNamara the name of the band came about when he was reading a history book and there was a couple of paragraphs about the siege of Warsaw in 1939. “During the siege they had a live orchestra performing on air to help with peoples morale…. the musicians on Warsaw Radio kept going until their transmitter was hit by a shell. It was a pretty incredible story and it reminded me of the famous quartet on the Titanic who kept on playing as the ship sank. I liked the message of defiance and we were looking for a band name so that’s where it began.
Bates & McNamara performed as a duo initially and played with a variety of line-ups on the Brighton and London music scenes. The duo attracted attention due to the unique blend of McNamara’s baritone vocals and Bate’s soaring strings. Laurence Bridge joined the band full time in 2014 on bass. Bridge had previously worked with a number of indie rock acts in Brighton and the likes of Tom Odell and Lucie Barat. Paul Lennox (drums) and Edd Mann (lead guitar) completed the W.R touring line-up.
In the autumn of 2016 McNamara approached Mercury nominated producer Jag Jago (The Maccabees, Florence Welch) at Brighton Electric Studios with demo tracks and this led to the release in Feb 2017 of their debut single ‘After Eve’. The single was picked up BBC Introducing and debuted on BBC Northern Ireland’s – Across the line show. This was followed by support from BBC Radio 6 Music D.J Chris Hawkins and Dan Hegarty on RTE 2 FM in Ireland.
The band have toured extensively in the UK & Ireland including head-line shows at Ronnie Scott’s London, Notting Hill Arts Club, Whelans Dublin, The Belfast Empire, The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and The Beautiful Days Festival in Devon. They have appeared as special guest support to artists such as The Waterboys, Mick Flannery and The Lone Bellow, all bands/artists that have inspired their sound. W.R’s sound brings together different genres based on each of the individual band members in a fusion of rock & alt-folk.
Friday 9 March Green Door Store, Brighton (Album launch show)
Tuesday 27 March Whelan’s, Dublin
Wednesday 28 March Roisin Dubh, Galway
Thursday 29 March Cyprus Avenue Cork
Friday 30 March Kasbah Social Club @ Dolans, Limerick
Thursday 5 April Sofar Sounds, London
Saturday 28 April Nells Jazz & Blues, London (supporting The Stunning)
Dublin soul rockers The Hot Sprockets are kicking off 2018 with the announcement of a new single, a new album, and a nationwide tour starting at Dublin’s Button Factory on 14 April and calling to Waterford, Limerick, Dundalk, Clonakilty, Warrenpoint, Port Laoise, Galway, Cork and Listowel.
On March 9th, the band release their new single, ‘Cold Cold Sweat’, the follow up to last years ‘Right Spots’. Inspired by the Afro-beat rhythms of Fela Kuti the new single reveals a more percussive sound to the band, yet no less rock ‘n’ roll!
The video for ‘Cold Cold Sweat’ was directed by longtime friend and collaborator Joey Ingersoll, and is due for release on March 1st, the same day Pre-Orders for their album will be made available.
‘Cold Cold Sweat’ is taken from the band’s third album, ‘Dream Mover’, which is set for official release on April 6th. To celebrate the release of the album, the band headline The Button Factory in Dublin on Saturday April 14thth, in what will no doubt be a rock ‘n’ roll night to remember!
Nationwide Tour Dates:
The Button Factory, Dublin – 14 April 2018
The Reg, Waterford – 20 April 2018
Dolan’s, Limerick – 27 April 2018
Spirit Store, Dundalk – 28 April
De Barra’s, Clonakilty – 4 May 2018
Skylite Room, Warrenpoint – 11 May 2018
Kavanaghs, Port Laoise – 12 May 2018
Monroe’s Live, Galway – 18 May 2018
Cyprus Avenue, Cork – 31 May 2018
Mike The Pies, Listowel – 1 June 2018
‘Bleaching Bones’ will be launched with a performance in St Ann’s Church Dawson St, Dublin on Friday 9th March from 7.30pm with special guests Sinéad & Catríona Kennedy. Tickets available from billetto.ie
Preorder Bleaching Bones here – https://humbleserpent.bandcamp.com/
“Evocative, celestial, ethereal and, above all, extremely resonant, Landless will be ready to provide a warm embrace and whisk us to windswept, remote, rural Ireland and away from whatever the murky future challenges us with” – The Thin Air, 2018 Preview
“..when Landless step onstage and open their mouths, the hush in the room is louder than any amplifier hum” – The Irish Times, Live Review
The last five years have witnessed a new & potent wave of young Irish folk artists releasing some of the most arresting and meticulously crafted albums released on this island for many a year. With the imminent release of their debut album ‘Bleaching Bones’, on new Irish label Humble Serpent, Landless are ready to join the likes of Lisa O’Neill, Lankum, Brigid Mae Power, Daoiri Farrell & many more at the vanguard of a new generation of musicians leaving their indelible mark on an already rich and bountiful Irish folk music landscape.
Landless are a traditional Irish vocal group from Dublin & Belfast who sing unaccompanied traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England & America in four-part harmony. A glorious live act to behold, their repertoire features songs of love, death and lamentation, as well as work songs, shape-note hymns and more recently penned folk songs. They have been spellbinding audiences around Ireland, the UK & Europe since 2013 and are set to formally announce their arrival with the release of their deeply impressive debut album ‘Bleaching Bones’.
Recorded by John ‘Spud’ Murphy (Lankum/Katie Kim) of Guerrilla Studios across a series of reverb-heavy historic churches across Ireland (and the occasional underground tunnel), ‘Bleaching Bones’ is an immaculately performed & deeply moving record. With only the natural room sound as accompaniment, Landless, with the help of producer/engineer/mixer Murphy, have created a timeless folk classic that will appeal equally to fans of early 4AD records as it will to lovers of folk & traditional music. In addition to older pieces ‘Bleaching Bones’ also includes more recent songs by Liam Weldon & Peggy Seeger’s The Ballad Of Springhill.
Upcoming Landless Shows
17/02/18 – Upper Chapel Sheffield (supporting Jim Ghedi)
28/02/18 – The Old Queen’s Head, London (with Sam Gleaves)
09/03/18 – St Ann’s Church, Dawson St (Bleaching Bones Dublin launch with Sinead & Catríóna Kennedy)
16/03/18 – The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin (afternoon show)
16/03/18 – Pepper Canister Church, Dublin (Spook Of The 13th Lock album launch)
17/03/18 – London Irish Centre (with Kila)
18/03/18 – Trafalgar Square, St Patrick’s Day Festival
13/04/18 – It Takes A Village Festival, Trabolgan, Co Cork
Another highly anticipated release from the Irish Musician, Singer-Songwriter and Producer Chris Haze. Haze’s “Recipe” takes you trough an array of different emotions and feelings. Starting with a high energy and positivity that you’d expect from and EP entitled “Recipe”. Leading into a deeper and more personal side of Haze’s songwriting and experiences. With epic electric guitar riff driven melodies and acoustic driven sensations. To emotional, deep and thought provoking ballads. The EP takes you on a journey of ups and downs, moments of love, strength and happiness to moments of weakness and sadness. Almost to symbolise Haze’s journey so far and the “Recipe” it has taken him to get here. Haze has written every note, played every instrument, composed every string, engineered every take, recorded and performed every vocal and produced every single thing on all 5 tracks on this record in his own studio over the last few months. Now he is ready to share it with the world. “Recipe” was Mixed & Mastered by James Darkin at Herbert Place Studios.
February 2017 marked the start of Haze’s most successful year as an established and unsigned Irish Singer-Songwriter and Producer. After self-releasing a 5 song EP and Title Track single called “We Are One” which dominated the Irish Charts on release week. Securing Haze his first Number 1 & Top 3 Album release in Ireland. He officially charted at Number 31 on the Official Irish Album Charts after the first week of sales.
Following the huge success of “We Are One” EP in Ireland. In September 2017 Haze released another chart topping single called “Say Goodbye” and debuted at Number 1 on the Irish Singer- Songwriter Chart and at Number 39 on the Official Irish Singles Charts. The single received national and international support and acclaim. Being added to Official Spotify playlists all over Europe the song has currently racked up well over 20,000 Streams on Spotify and climbing. “Say Goodbye” was also the 8th most played Irish Song on Irish Radio on release week. 2017 ended on a high after Haze received nominations for “Best Male” & “Best EP” at the Pure M Magazine Awards 2017. Haze deservedly took home his First Award as an artist, musician & producer for “Best EP”.
The success of “We Are One” EP & “Say Goodbye” Internationally has opened up doors to a number of Major International Record Labels. Haze has gone under the radar amongst the Irish Music Industry and Media despite being one of the Most Successful Independent & Unsigned Irish Artists in 2017. Having secured Thousands of Sales and Streams in more than 43 Countries all over the world. Haze also secured his First Number 1 & Top 3 Irish Album Release and his First Number 1 & Top 40 Irish Single Release. Which brought him to a total of 3 Irish Chart positions in 12 months. After the first week of Official Sales “We Are One” EP was the Second Best Selling Independent Album in Ireland just behind Adele’s “25”.
“Chris Haze Records” stood alongside all of the biggest record labels in the world for over a week on the Official Irish Album Charts.
“Recipe” – EP is currently the “Best Selling Pre-Order” on iTunes in Ireland.
Two of Ireland’s best ever rock/blues musicians have collaborated to record an album together in January 2018 and tour many of Ireland’s best known venues this spring and summer. The tour kicks off on 8th March 2018 at The Five Lamps Arts Festival in the heart of the inner city in Belvedere House and continues to The Ramor Theatre Virginia Co. Cavan on Sat 10th March, back to Dublin on 16th March to Dundrum’s Mill Theatre and on to Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise on 24th March.
April sees the band play concerts in Monaghan, Bray, Westport, Newbridge and Listowel. May sees concerts in Cork, Limerick, Offaly, The Draíocht Dublin and Wicklow Town. The band continue in June, to theatres in Dundalk, Wexford, Mullingar and Gweedore in Donegal with the tour culminating in the prestigious Clonmel Blues Festival in August.
Don Baker is known as a prolific singer/songwriter/musician for over 50 years and has had two number one singles ‘Winner in You’ on the RTE label and ‘Inner City’ which was recorded by The Jolly Beggarmen. Other artists to record Don’s songs include Sinéad O’ Connor, Finbar Furey, Declan O’ Rourke and Liam Ó Maonlaoi, with Bono from U2 describing Don as ‘The best harmonica player in the world’. Don, has published several books on how to play the harmonica, which have been translated into many different languages, including Japanese! He has also released a total of 15 albums during his career. As an actor Don is best known for his role in ‘In the Name of the Father’ alongside Daniel Day Lewis, and also as gangster Thomas Flynn in ‘Fair City’.
Rob Strong, from Derry, on bass guitar and lead vocals, is another of Ireland’s Living Legends, who also has been performing for more than five decades! Rob still has that unique and sensational voice that saw him pull in huge crowds with ‘ The Plattermen’ one of the top showbands of the ‘1960s, and his own band The Rockets in the 1970s. Indeed Rob once turned down the opportunity to join the world famous ‘Deep Purple’. Rob also plays bass and sings, with his son, Andrew Strong, lead singer of ‘The Commitments, when they tour Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Indeed Andrew and his sister Niamh will both guest with the band on a number of dates, as will Dubliner Richie Malone (Rhythm Guitarist with Status Quo) and Don’s lifelong friend Finbar Furey.
The band also features one of Ireland’s best keyboard players, Salvatore Urbano from Naples in Italy. ‘Sal’ has also recorded with Damien Dempsey, Brian Kennedy, Sinead O’ Connor and Eleanor McEvoy. He is widely regarded as amongst the best in the business and fuses the band’s blues and rock genres, in such a natural and creative manner. On drums Hue O’ Neill from Dublin, has played with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Dan Akroyd, Eric Bell and Ronnie Wood, completing a stellar line-up in a pulsating new band.
All in all, Don, Rob and the band, guarantee a great night of real rock n’ roll Live! No backing tracks, no sound effects, not even lip-sync- just pure raw talent that has stood the test of time- over 50 years on the rock n’ roll road in Ireland, the country’s finest ever exponents of Soul, Rock and Blues!
Track Dogs release their earworm new single ‘I Don’t Wanna Ruin It’ on March 2nd. The single heralds the imminent release of their fourth album in April along with festival dates and an Irish tour for summer 2018.
‘I Don’t Wanna Ruin It’ was recorded old-school on analog tape and is a perfect taster of what to expect from the new album, which fuses their eclectic sound – singer-songwriter, roots and ‘south of the border’ in a style much becoming their own. The single will be available alongside a pre-order of the album on all streaming outlets & trackdogsmusic.com from March 2nd.
Based in Madrid, Track Dogs, comprised of 2 Irishmen, an Englishman and an American, have eschewed the typical band line-up. To dynamic effect they use the rhythmic groove of the Cajón (flamenco box drum) instead of drums and trumpet as the solo instrument. Show stealing four-part harmonies and a flair for penning toe-tapping, instantly catchy songs set Track Dogs apart.
With their fourth album on the way in early April and a summer of tour dates beckoning in the UK, Spain and Ireland, this ex-pat band aren’t resting on their laurels. Already a hit on festival stages across the UK, Ireland and Spain, their 2016 Vantastival performance won them many fans with GoldenPlec saying “In a battle of the stages, Track Dogs were up against festival headliner Badly Drawn Boy. Wonderfully unfazed by this, the band drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend – cheery, Spanish-tinged acoustica proving a hit with a crowd that wanted to dance.”
Their last album ‘Serenity Sessions’ was selected by FolkRadio.co.uk in their Top Albums of 2016 – “Their lively, melodic music has a strong American/Latin sentiment, a sense of fun and an abundance of sunshine”. ‘Serenity Sessions’ featured 3 hit radio songs in Ireland – ‘Love Me Like You Used To’ and ‘To The End’ which was also played heavily on Robert Elms BBC Radio London show. ‘So Much Dust’ spent 10 weeks on the Irish national radio playlist and the album and singles so far have been lauded by critics far and wide. In 2017 they showcased at the prestigious Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas where they performed 7 shows in 5 days. They’ve also appeared at festivals in the UK & Ireland including Vantastival, Rochester Sweeps Festival, Ireland Bike Fest, Tentertainment and Broadstairs Folk Festival.
Search Party Animal release their new single, “Get Hitched” on Feb 16th . The young band (an average age of 19), create a sound which transcends the sum of its parts. They are fronted by Dundrum native Adam Redmond, a multi instrumentalist and principal songwriter for the band. Search Party Animal have been playing together from the age of 14 and are becoming known for their energetic live shows.
The outfits previous singles, ‘Evergreen’ and “Enemies” received support from Phil Taggart’s show on BBC Radio 1. The band has also picked up support from Radio X and have recently been named as RTE 2FMs “Rising 2018” list.
With a headline show at Whelan’s on March 9th, following their sold out show upstairs in Whelan’s last year and a busy festival season to follow soon, there is much more to come from this exciting young five piece.
Less than 2 years on from their inception, it is evident Vulpynes’ work ethic and drive has contributed to their rise and demand. Weaving elements of punk and garage rock, their infectious sound remains inimitably their own.
Hailed for their motor driven live performances, Vulpynes have garnered a wide fanbase off the back of a consistently busy gigging schedule.
Their recent signing with UK label Headcheck Records and plans to tour the UK, Germany and beyond, suggests 2018 will be their busiest year yet.
Their debut self titled EP ‘Vulpynes’ is available from Headcheck Records from March 1st. You can pre-order the EP direct from the Headcheck Records website now.
The track ‘Sublingual’ will be only be available on the CD release, but you can check out the video here:
Upcoming dates with many more TBA
18th of February – Drop Dead Twice Dublin, with Grade2 and The Nilz
31st of March – Sin É Dublin, with guests Bayonets & Kiss My Acid
April 7th – The Grand Social Dublin, supporting The Outcasts
April 15th – Toners Pub Dublin, with Immaculate Deception & The Enzymes
March 17th – The Thomas House Dublin, with Hooligan, Turfboy, Immaculate Deception and J’aime Rachelle
May 20th – Toners Pub Dublin, with The Lee Harveys
May 24th – Vulpynes + Guests tbc, The Hairy Dog, Derby UK
May 25th – TBA, Nottingham UK
May 26th – Hell Hath No Fury Festival, Bristol UK
May 27th – Loud Women Presents Vulpynes, Guttfull + more tba, The Lady Luck Bar, Kent UK
June 9th – DBD Venue, Dublin with Bar Stool Preachers and Paranoid Visions
July 7th – Drop Dead Twice Dublin, with The Blue Carpet Band & Hooligan
August 2nd-5th – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool UK
August 4th – Outcider Festival, Somerset UK