IN THE HEART of a tough year for venues, the North’s newest city is receiving a cultural influx that will serve this generation and the next generation of musicians. Meanwhile, Irish musicians are getting the big screen treatment and some of the best music of the year is out this week on Northern Winds.
Bangor has long been deprived of a decided musical performance space. While mainstays like The Goat’s Toe service the area’s cover bands and Ward Park provides ample space for festival productions, the lack of venue has blocked opportunities in the area for its bands, which have often turned to Belfast for their shows. Not anymore.
After several years of development and renovation, organizers of Open House festivals and events have opened the newly restored Old Courthouse. The city’s former seat of justice, the Old Courthouse is a multi-story bar and dedicated event space that will serve the wider creative community for years to come. It will be programmed by former Black Box COO Rachael Campbell-Palmer, a long-time advocate for alternative and left-wing arts, and Festival director Kieran Gilmore.
With two stages, three bars and space for music, performance, art, photography and other cultural activities, the Old Courthouse will serve as a much-needed boost to the cultural sector of the city and areas. surrounding. Rachael said: “I know the fundamental impact that an innovative and creative space like the courthouse can have on a place, on individuals and communities. It will be a welcoming home for a wide range of artistic programs, providing entertainment, employment and vital opportunities for collaboration and creative development.
With a sold-out opening night featuring local artists The Florentinas and Lemonade Shoelace, we can only assume she’ll be right.
Meanwhile, down South, Limerick’s creative scene is getting some well-deserved love and attention from abroad. A thriving community of alternative creators and mavericks, Limerick has long been home to some of the country’s best music. And now it’s on tape.
‘Out Of Place’ is a feature film that comes from the directors, programmers and bookers behind the Féile na Gréine festival (which we talked about in the previous columns). A documentation of some of the best and weirdest voices in their scene, the film features Denise Chaila, God Knows, Hey Rusty, His Father’s Voice, MuRli and Post Punk Podge with their performances on a 71-minute cut. The film is set to debut at the London Irish Film Festival in November.
Director Graham Patterson said: “I’m so excited to share Out of Place alongside other amazing Irish films. Limerick has a strong musical and community culture, and I am proud that it is presented to an international audience.
And in the live news, we hear rumblings from the west of the country. Black Gate, a cultural center based in Galway city, has announced a scheduled evening of music at the Town Hall Theater this Sunday. With performances from Peter Broderick, Anna Mullarkey, Inni-K and Niamh Regan, this €10 offering is set to be one of the nights of the year.
And we end this week’s Northern Winds with a spotlight on some of the best independent releases from Irish artists this week. First up, we have the latest from rapper Monjola. His debut of the new year, “Big Fat Liar”, sees the Dublin-based MC’s signature move front and center on the single. Despite the subject matter, there is a distinctly summery feel to the vocal production and overall arrangement. A welcome retro for the young artist.
We also have the latest news from REWS. “Pretty Face” is a hard-hitting alternative rock howler. Handcrafted for next year’s festival crowd, its pounding drums are matched by singer Shauna Tohill’s pure voice. REWS is back and it’s serious.
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