Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nu Killa Birthday

Desptite this writer's obvious lack of drum n'bass terminology and nuances, he has always applauded the endeavours of the good burgers from Nu Killa Kru, so much so that he has decided to revert to the third person for this opening sentence.

Time to blow out the candles then, as they celebrate the ninth birthday of Nu Killa Beats with a shindig at the Underground in Baker Place. It's a full line-up, with every dn'b dj worth his salt in the region spinning discs on Friday night (February 27). That means Code, Bee, Roller T, Mecca, Deep Cut, Lymer and Leon, from 10.30pm 'til late.

Happy birthday to Conor and folks involved. Should be a cracking night.

To celebrate, here's one from "the ones I prepared earlier" file. This was an article done around the time of their seventh birthday two years ago...Enjoy


This time seven years ago we were just getting over Y2K fever, the Euro was still two years off, and George W. Bush was just the Governor of Texas. Obviously a lot has changed since then, but here in Limerick, a collective of drum and bass lovers have continued on in a steadfast manner.

The Nu Killa Kru was essentially born out of frustration. Pallasgreen native Conor O'Dwyer, djing under the handle of Code, teamed up with Kevin Beegan (Bee) and Tony Power (Roller T), with the aim of putting together a night playing the music they wanted to hear.

O' Dwyer takes up the story of the Kru's origins: "There was a club called 'Skint' that used to run up in Costello's, and they played bits of hip-hop and break-beat, as opposed to the constant 4/4 beats of techno. We went there, and they used to occasionally play drum n'bass, and we got to play a bit. Then that ended. After a while, we realised that if we weren't going to do it ourselves, then nobody else would".

With a pilot of sorts during Christmas 1999 at the Globe, they quickly organised their first night proper at the now defunct Dog House on Thomas Street for February 2000. "Any night I know that ran in Limerick had just gone on for a year or two, and we certainly hadn't looked beyond that year", says Conor. "We were encouraged by the first night in The Globe. The first night in the Dog House, we had a decent crowd. The second night was one of the best nights we've ever had; it was a basement of a pub, and the place was rammed at half-ten with people going crazy!"

However, it hasn't been all plain sailing, with the Kru experiencing the unfortunately usual problems inherent to running club nights. Nu Killa Beats has moved around numerous venues in the city, and O' Dwyer has had to deal with scheming managers and over- zealous bouncers. "There was one occasion when one of our own guys basically had to disguise himself to get in. He spent the entire night with a hat on, up behind the decks!".

Additional to those problems is the time and resources required to promote a monthly night. It is clear from talking to O'Dwyer that Nu Killa Kru do what they do for the love of it, and without any financial agenda behind it. However, nights like this will not run on fresh air, and Conor is well aware that if punters don't keep coming in the door, it will be the death-knell for the night.

"If we were doing it for the money, there's no way we'd still be going", he laughs. "It has got more difficult to promote. When I was in college, I could stick up posters around there and create a bit of buzz, but finished that a good while now. Also, I tend to spend a lot of time with the label (O'Dwyer runs his own label, Subtle Audio), so it leaves even less time".

Despite this, the night has continued to go from strength-to-strength, due in no small part to a strong local crew that, as well as the founding three, includes Deep Cut, Lymer, Cain and Leon. Conor notes that the audience has changed and grown older over the years, and the fact that they have moved from running their nights on Thursdays to Fridays certainly reflects this.

He is also the first to admit that it is not the easiest sell to the public. "There isn't a high concentration of Limerick people into Drum and Bass. Even the biggest Drum and Bass names are small in the global sense; you never hear of them in the same breathe as the likes of Sasha or Digweed. And then what we do is different again to what the big names are doing. It's a niche within a niche".

Seven years is a hell of a long time, and it seems the addiction of the night is key to its longevity. "It's been a bit out of stubbornness that it hasn't stopped. Every now and then, you think of packing it in - like every time one of my decks gets damaged, or a CD player blows up, or we have a low turnout. But frustration wears off after a day or two, and I start getting excited about the next night".

Nu Killa Beats continues to mix the best of local talent with international guests, with particular highlights for O'Dwyer being a live set from UK producer Paradox, and two appearances from Macc, who also releases on Subtle Audio: "he plays live with his drum kit. It's all these really complicated drum beats".

There's a birthday cake to be cut this weekend, and Conor is confident that there will be more occasions to blow out candles in the coming years for Nu Killa Beats. "As long as I'm living here, I will definitely try and keep it going. I'd hope that we'd make it to ten years anyway".

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Sly Foxes

So, has anybody out there given this a go yet?

For those of you too lazy, here's the copy and paste bit:
"Real Foxes Are Creeping Up is an audio-based detour, a piece of site specific performance art for one person. It goes in through your ears and out through your feet. Each tour lasts 30 minutes. At the starting point, you pick up an mp3 player, a set of headphones and a hand drawn map. A voice describes your surroundings and takes you on a journey through public and private spaces, using the architecture of the city as stage design and the real history of the city and its contemporary environment as the basis for a narrative exploration.

If you've done it what's it like? Arty claptrap or thought-provoking and insightful? Or a mixture of both? Seems worth a punt for the fiver charge, yeah?

Coming Soon To A Rowing Club Near You

More details closer to the time on what looks like a cracker-jack audio-visual orgy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Frost Is Thawing

Hey, are the kids on mid-term this week? It appears so, and while not quite so in the manner of Spring Break-esque bedlam, the big freeze in terms of arts and entertainment activity is starting to thaw out, and the dawning of Spring is seeing a wee kick up the behind in such action.

While there may not be a flood of options, Limerick looks a bit more exciting this week. First up, the good folks at Limerick Jazz Society's Spring programme kicks off with the John Moriarty Group at Dolan's Upstairs room on Wednesday.

The same night also sees the weekly Whitehouse Poets night at the Whitehouse on O'Connell Street. Former Poetry Ireland editor Mark Roper is in the hotseat this weekend. More poetry out the county on Thursday night, when Cork poet Billy Ramsell leads an open mic night at the Library in Newcastle West.

Wednesday and Thursday also sees the performance of The Gentlemen's Tea-Drinking Society at the Belltable, brought to town by the folks at Ransom Productions in Belfast. None other than David Holmes is responsible for the score of this production, but don't expect him to be in attendance as he "doesn't do live shows", according to the organisers of the underwhelming Choice Music Prize. Alan has more info over here.

The Funkshun nights return to Underground at Baker Place on Friday night, with Ian Wright. Nope, this ain't the prolific ex-Arsenal striker/cheeky-chappy tv bloke, but a UK bastion of funk, soul, etc.

Upstairs that night at Bakers also sees Shannon boy Kyon launch their album with support from Alkali Flat and Cities. Three Clare acts in one night. Who woulda thunk it?

More on some of this things as the week progresses. Huzzah!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Round Up - mags, gigs, misc.

At the weekend, the second edition of [crude] magazine hit various stands, shop counters and the sweaty palms of punters at their launch hootenany at Baker Place on Saturday night. While declaring some personal interest in this venture (I'm responsible for co-ordinating the dashing reviews section), I must say the team involved have certainly upped the ante second time out - the content is a vast improvement from the first issue and the design is pretty ace. There is also a rapid new website up at www.crudemagazine.net

Speaking of Bakers, happy birthday to Nick, Shane and crew, who celebrate two years in their current guise, with a very long weekend of shenanigans, starting this Thursday night (February 12th) and running up until Sunday afternoon with a metal-fest going under the pretty smart banner of Siege of Limerick.

Also, there is word that 2Unlimited hit Limerick next week. Be afraid, be very afraid...Better news may be that Alias Empire (nee Dry County) should be back in the treaty city come April direction, new name and new tunes in hands. More on that later.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Limerick's Unfringed Festival for '09 kicked off last Friday night (January 30th) and runs until this Saturday night, February 7th. As always, it is curated by the folks at The Belltable.

A few bits n'pieces have already happened, and theatre, comedy and music are all catered for over the week.

Some things yet to happen include:
Choke Comedy Improv: You get the idea from the name obviously. Anyway, this is a ninety minute show including some local folks as Myles Breen and Ann Blake, and it puts the audience in control. It has potential to be great craic or a load of old pants. We're hoping more for the former. It's on this Wednesday at 10pm; the late kick-off allowing people to get some bit oiled up before heckling the performers...That's not a suggestion by the way.

Classical guitarist Redmond O'Toole takes to the stage on Thursday night. It could be an unusual sighting. According to the lad's own blurb: "
he plays an 8-string 'Brahms guitar' in the cello position connected to a special resonating box."

The ongoing Off The Wall performances at LCGA also look like they are worth checking out too.

Most of the happenings are at The Belltable's temp home at Cecil Street. Phone 061-319866 for tickets.

Here's Redmond O'Toole strutting his stuff: