Bourkes Cobblestone Joe's Dolans Music The Blind Pig

Indie Week Ireland 2014 to be Hosted in Limerick

What time is this thing kicking off? I asked.

Four o’clock, in Dr John’s.   Leading Armies are playing for about an hour.

Fine, I thought.   That’ll be half-past four then.

But it wasn’t.  When I arrived at the Pig and tried to get upstairs I found a throng, a mob, a crowd, even, crammed into the good Doctor’s little grotto of uber-coolness, enjoying the show and generally being positive about this latest initiative.

Leading Armies at launch of Indie Week Ireland 2014


What thing? you’re probably wondering.

This thing: the launch of Indie Week Ireland 2014 with a call-out to artists who’d like to perform at the Indie Week festival in Limerick between the 23rd and the 26th April.

Four nights.  Thirty acts.  Four venues.

One act will get a headline slot at Indie Week Canada 2014.

Here’s the schedule.  Follow the thing on Facebook and Twitter and watch this space for more updates.

Bourkes Favourites

Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick

Bourkes, as anyone who’s been there can tell you, is a small bar, so what’s this Jake Clemons has been tweeting?

This tour has been incredible! Last few shows in Cork, Clonakilty & Limerick have been mind blowing experiences!! We’re so grateful to you!!

That’s no accident, because the Limerick music experience is unparallelled anywhere in Ireland.  More great musicians per square potrzebie than anywhere else you’re likely to find and a place where everyone loves music.

Bourkes’ back room holds maybe fifty or sixty people, but that’s what Jake was looking for and in return he got a blast of in-your-face lovin’ right back at him.

He’s a nice guy, young Jake, nephew of Clarence Clemons.  He plays sax with the E Street band which means, yes, he’s that good, but he also plays every stringed instrument known to mankind, which makes him someone I hate: the multi-talented nice guy. At the very  least, I like my talented people to be obnoxious, but Jake is a courteous, attentive, modest superstar, and I hate him for this.  At the very least, patronise me, please.

No.  That’s not true.  Jake Clemons is all that you’d expect of his illustrious uncle and of the respectful ethos that imbues Springsteen’s band.  I heard this man playing in Limerick’s Thomond Park not too long ago to 20,000 people, and I was delighted to hear him playing to 50 or 60 in Bourkes.  He got the same enjoyment from both, as far as I could see, but that’s what all the musicians say.  Whatever you get back from the crowd is how good you feel about the gig, and last night the crowd gave it everything.

You can tell, looking at a band, if they’re liking the gig, and these boys were all over it.  Have a look at the pictures and tell me they weren’t.










Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick


Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick


Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick

Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick




Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick

And because Jake is an absolute gentleman, he posed for a shot with the Rescue Guitar in support of cancer research.   An all-round good guy and a great night.

Jake Clemons at Bourkes Bar, Limerick


Christmas Shopping and Other Traditions

I was hoping the Mayan Apocalypse would save me from last-minute Christmas shopping, so you can understand how bitter my disappointment is to wake up and find the world still in one piece.

If you gave me a flat choice between Christmas shopping and inhaling caustic soda through my eyes, I’ll go with the corrosive chemical, thanks very much. It seems to be a genetic thing.  My son went into town last week to buy all his little stocking-fillers, but instead he got a hamburger and went home.  That happens to me all the time: my mind goes blank and I turn into an even bigger blithering idiot than I already am.  I get paralysed.  I freeze up.  I cease to function.

Maybe it’s a man thing.  All the women I know have their presents assembled since August.  Wrapped up and stacked neatly under the tree.  All the men I know are blundering around like the Living Dead, randomly picking expensive hand creams off shelves in shops they’d never dream of frequenting at any other time of the year.

So much for the ancient hunter-gatherer in us.  I don’t believe any of that shit about our savannah-roaming ancestors hunting down antelopes with a spear made from the fangs of a sabre-toothed leopard.  I reckon they sat around all day in the cave talking about bladder-ball while the women went out and bought their meat from the bush-butcher.

How much is that leg of wildebeest?

Five coloured pebbles.

What?  That’s robbery!  I can get it for half the price from Knurgg in the Cut-Price-Wild-Game Cave.

I don’t know any men who like shopping, either at Christmas or any other time of the year, but that isn’t the only horror of the season, since some fool invented the idea of office parties going around in Christmas jumpers and elf suits with antlers on your head, being obnoxious and falling asleep drunk in the ladies’ toilets and puking all over the floor and generally behaving like an utter turd.

I was in an excellent local hostelry last night, Bourke’s Bar in Limerick’s Catherine Street.  They do an outstanding Thursday night free session with some of the finest bands in the business and last night saw the return of Pugwash, an excellent and talented bunch of lunatics from Dublin.  Admittedly, they are fat bastards.  These are the guys for whom the belly-cut was invented, but they’re talented fat bastards and surprisingly polite once you get past their-fat-bastard Dub facade.  They’re nice guys.


I was surprised at how easily they conceded when some fool of a woman requested a Christmas song.

Accompanying Pugwash was Ken Stringfellow, formerly of Big Star.  Where will you get this on a Thursday night for nothing?  Outstanding.

Now, the last time I saw Pugwash in Bourkes, the place was mobbed with people who wanted to hear them, but this time round, the dreaded Christmas factor kicked in, and yes, there was a hard core of people who were there for the music, but we also had to endure wave after wave of inconsiderate idiots in antlers who thought it was acceptable to stand in front of the piano player and talk at the top of their voices.

Unlike my companions, I didn’t know anything about Ken Stringfellow until last night, but I enjoyed his style in two ways.   I used to idolise that band, said Wrinkly Joe.  The second thing about Ken Stringfellow that impressed me was the way he dealt with chattering, boorish, ill-mannered customers.  It’s one gig, two bars. Go outside if you wanna talk.

Damn right.

A little later, when a third wave of antlers and lit-up jumpers rolled in, some airhead twenty-somethings made the mistake of standing in front of two seriously-interested music heads and striking up a conversation.  One of -the old crusties made it simple: If you’re not here to listen, you can fuck off.    He might as well have slapped them.  Twenty-somethings aren’t used to being told NO.

I’ll never understand that level of discourtesy to performing artists and to fellow patrons, that people think it’s ok to stand in front of the stage and talk to each other over the music.  Perhaps boorishness has become the new normal.  A little after that incident, when yet another crowd of drunken, antlered, light-flashing fools trooped out, two of them deliberately dropped half-full beer-glasses on the ground.


Because they’re idiots.

Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting.  Peace and goodwill to all mankind, except for fools in lit-up jumpers, elf outfits and antlers.

Tomorrow is another day of purchasing silly underpants and Groucho Marx glasses.




Toby Kaar at Bourkes Bar

Bourke’s Bar in Limerick’s Catherine Street has found its Thursday night feet with a series of free gigs featuring the best of contempoary young Irish acts plying their varied styles in the back bar.

Last night was the turn of Toby Kaar a young Cork producer who delivered an impressive solo performance of the voguish electronica that is currently very much in fashion.

A full appreciative house got down to Karr’s layered beat-driven squiggles as he delivered a sometimes engrossing hour long set.
The night’s highlight had to be his rebuilding of the classic Fela Kuti track ‘Everybody Scatter’ which showed his forensic rhythmic skills as a producer. He has the look of someone who will be around for a while in an often-saturated contemporary electronic scene.


(Photos, Paul Tarpey)





Carlos Hercules Plays with Groove Junction

What’s this I hear about Carlos Hercules playing a set with local band, Groove Junction?

Carlos has played drums with George Michael, the Eurythmics and the Waterboys, and it seems he liked the sound of the local outfit so much, he asked to sit in with them in a small, intimate gig next Tuesday in Bourkes Bar.  I’m not surprised.  These guys are outstanding, with a nice mix of blues, soul and jazz.

Here are a few videos I took recently to give you a flavour.  Get down there on Tuesday night and check out what they sound like with Carlos in the engine room.  As usual, there’s no admission charge.


Groove Junction

I blundered into Bourkes the other night and came across this crowd.

Check them out.

Groove Junction


Eamonn Hehir & Mike Ryan Live at Bourkes

More local Limerick music.  This time in Bourkes: Eamonn Hehir and Mike Ryan, formerly known as Shave the Patient.


Groove Junction

This just in:


Groove Junction are a brand new collaboration of some of the finest jazz and blues musicians this side of the Shannon.  Kerry based Sax maestro Mossy O Shea and vocalist Linda Galvin who are warming up for a busy weekend at the Cork Jazz festival, will be joined by local musicians Paul O’Connor on guitar,Bart Kiely on drums and American bassist Peter Hanagan. They will be seamlessly blending the best of blues, funk, soul and jazz.

This is a debut gig definitely not to be missed in Bourke’s bar Catherine st.Wed Oct 20th.

Admission is absolutely free.

Be there!


Live Music at Bourkes

Bourke’s pub is a great old establishment, formerly the somewhat scary domain of the formidable landlady Mary-Jo Hogan, but now a little more relaxed.  If you ask the staff in an unguarded moment, they might confess that the ghost of the former proprietor still walks the place late at night, but not when the music is in full swing and cheerful laughter rings through the old place. Mary-Jo didn’t approve of laughing.  Down with that sort of thing.

You can read a little more HERE.

Bourkes pub hosts music five nights a week and here’s the list, with video.  You don’t want to see video of a DJ.  Trust me.

Sunday Yvonne McCarthy

Monday Country Vibes

Tuesday Siobhán O’Brien

alternating with After Hours

Wednesday No Train to Stockholm (DJ session)

Thursday Trad session