“Who’s still alive after Féile Na Gréine?” a voice shouts from the stage at the fade-out to 1984 by Post Punk Podge & The Techohippies, presciently setting this fine compilation in a specific time, place and temperament. The question comes in the aftermath of Limerick’s annual free musical festival showcasing all things independent and good, and that’s exactly what’s captured on this vinyl only release of recordings culled from the series of Live at Record Room summer sessions in the city between July and September of 2023.
Certain of the tracks feature members from the likes of Giveamanakick, Japanese Jesus, Tooth, Windings, Casavettes, Deadbog, Cruiser and Bleeding Heart Pigeons alongside some familiar names and others who are just out of the traps. Their common ground is just that.
From the soulful, percussive introspection that opens the record on Strange Boy’s Damned, the curation continuously steers us into the realm of the unexpected. The Low Field offer a reflective breather between the dancier abrasions of T.A. Narrative and Post Punk Podge and conversely, a raucous Fever Dream erupts between Paddy Mulcahy’s experimental electronica and the down-tempo indie of The Personal Vanity Project. Laura Duff sends us out of side A on an opaque lullaby, while SWEETS drag us kicking and screaming onto side B with a power chord to the gut.
If this selection is an inside look into Limerick’s independent music scene, the themes of the chosen tracks, knowingly or unknowingly, serve as a snapshot of contemporary Ireland and the artists’ attitudes towards the absolute state of the nation. Dylan Flynn and the Dead Poets give us Nowhere to Live. Hazey Haze spits invective. Small Church and 50 Foot Woman raze the landscape with guitars ablaze.
That earlier disembodied voice from the stage might set this collection in a temporal space in a more literal sense, but Anna’s Anchor hammers home the Limerick dimension in the most heartfelt way with an affectionate and personal map to close things out.
The sense of place is palpable throughout this collection, right through to the collective roar of “Up the Parish!” that rises from the record’s run-out groove. ‘Live at Record Room’ is a document of what we already knew, to be fair: Limerick is where it’s at.