Columns - Features

Deep Down South: Farewells, Returns and Festivals


Some news that sadly flew under a lot of radars locally in the excitement running up to this week’s absurd amount of good stuff (which we’ll get to!) was the announcement of the impending passing of sludge/doom lords FIVEWILLDIE on the 20th of February, after their final show/tenth-anniversary show at Mr. Bradley’s. We’ll have a farewell feature in the coming weeks in this space, but suffice to say, a band around which a lot of live activity revolved over the years, such as Pyre Pro, Limerick’s Bad Reputation and the Siege of Limerick are going to be sadly, sadly missed, and should have got their dues a long time ago. Still, by their own admission, there’s “no drama, no bullshit, just the end of this particular endeavour” involved, so the boys are seemingly going out on the right note. Support comes from Brains and Soothsayer, and it’s a fiver in, with all money going to the Cork Community Print Shop.

And a sad farewell was followed by a surprising, entirely unexpected return when Cork hardcore veteran Noel Lynch announced El Bastardo for a show on the 13th at Fred Zeppelin’s on the Cork Metal & Hardcore group on Facebook. Murmurs of a return for the belovedly misanthropic noisemakers have done the rounds from time to time, aided by the belated release of their debut album ‘Versus You’ on Bandcamp in 2010, years after its slated airing (and still-missing catalogue number) on Cork DIY label Rimbaud Records. Get a listen below, it’s still good for some belly laughs and a bunch of riffage. Support from psych-grungers This Place is Death and synth-rock duo Deadlights, no word yet on door tax, but holy shit, El Bastardo, get in.

Speaking of the Cork Community Print Shop, your writer was on hand Saturday night for Shardborne, Ealadha and Mannequin Republic in a BYOB show there put on by Pyre Promotions. The place is possessed of a great vibe, even in freezing conditions, and the crowd was sizeable and full of Cork’s regular gig-going community, putting to bed any issues with BYOB promotion in the city. Mannequin Republic are quite an interesting proposition, and a lot more experimental and challenging than their ‘Christ Light’ demo lets on, even jazzy in places. Ones to keep an eye on. Ealadha keep earning their reputation as one of Cork’s most exciting new bands, with a dense set full of new material that sees them experimenting with vocals and adding them to a tension/riff-laden mix. Releases so far have been snippets of jams, but recordings in February will yield debut single ‘Dive’. Shardborne, as was to be expected, knocked it out of the park by a country mile: this new record of theirs will blow minds and broaden the scope of Irish metal if there’s any justice… A brief footnote, too – the record shop in there is still going on gig nights, with stock from Art for Blind, Rimbaud, The Hobo Convention‘s old stock of 45s and more. Your writer scored Dublin sludge kings Drainland‘s first CD-R demo for a few bob, so there’s oddities to be found…


This weekend sees the Quarter Block Party happen up and down North and South Main Street, Friday to Sunday. There’s not much else left to be said on this column, other than how exciting it’s shaping up to be. It’s a massive undertaking, and respect is due to the Makeshift Ensemble and the Southern Hospitality Board for making it happen. It’s looking like becoming a major part of the Cork scene, and this column will be on the ground for it all, with a little help from Cork Heads scribe/photographer Bríd O’Donovan. That feature happens early next week. Your writer recommends (and for that, read: “is able to make”): Elastic Sleep/O Emperor/Twinkranes at the Triskel, and Chris Power at the BDSM on the Friday; Roslyn Steer at Harper’s, the Scratch theatre showcase, Jim Carroll’s double-bill of Banter, The Altered Hours & Cian Nugent at the Vision Centre, the Shookrah/Naive Ted bill at the Triskel, and Adultrock at the BDSM on Saturday; and the Vinyl Love 777 hoedown on the Sunday. That being said, absolutely everything is worth digging into and more than worth the weekend ticket, still available all week from PLUGD Records.


Speaking of festivals, another announcement that seemed to escape wide notice was the Forte Festival, a classical-oriented weekend programme courtesy of the Cork Orchestral Society, featuring the involvement of North Side Drive/Former Monarchs man Jonathan Pearson among others, on the weekend of March 5th-8th, opening with the Irish Baroque Orchestra Chamber Soloists performing a vibrant Italian programme with leader Monica Huggett entitled As Winter Ends. Another tentpole event of the fest takes place on Saturday 7th March when Gábor Takács-Nagy conducts the Irish Chamber Orchestra in a concert featuring guest soloist Kristóf Barati.

The festival also features chamber performances by members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra as well as music by Justin Grounds (winner of the East Cork Early Music Festival composition competition) in a new collaboration with ECEM’s director, violinist Marja Gaynor.


For those of you not making the Block Party: don’t forget the Noisefest happening Friday and Saturday at Fred’s: across two days, Murdock, Ilenkus, BAILER, Here We Stand and more will be deafening people in the big red room upstairs. Cork metal is back on the uptick and this is yet another sign of things to come… Tomorrow night sees CIT’s Battle of the Bands kick off as mentioned last week, with Inciser, The Japans, Kasella and The Casanauts, and Wednesday night sees UCC’s contest kick off also. Both are at Cyprus Ave., the former 3 quid in and the latter free for students… Wednesday also sees a big jam session happening at the Crane Lane Theatre, organised by CIT’s Popular Music BA class and featuring players from UCC, CIT and CSN‘s music courses jamming on new tunes, improvising and busting out some personal faves of theirs. That’s a freebie and kicks off at 9.30…

It’s been a big week of gig announcements, another new festival, and the home stretch of the road to the Quarter Block Party. Cork City is alive this weekend with art and culture, and this week’s column tries its best to take it all in. As a result, the promised bits and bobs about the Pav (still not reopened after a false start two weeks ago) and radio/podcasts have unfortunately been moved back again. We’re still nailing the format of this column, so bear with us… but y’know, while you’re at it, sling an aul’ yarl at mike (at) with any gigs, releases, events and such that you have to announce or want plugging, etc. There’s only a 20% chance you’ll regret it…

Contributor, distributor & occasional Cork correspondent for The Thin Air, as well as, Cork's Evening Echo and others. Likes some things, dislikes other things. Tweets, Instagrams and Snapchats at @mike_mcgb.