DJs Jonnie Foley and Brian McCarthy, AKA Bedlam, may be still in their infancy as promoters, but their success to this point is hard to ignore. The two business management students in DIT began running nights under the moniker back in September 2012, hosting XXYYXX and Girraffage in The Workman’s Club, and have since established a loyal fanbase throughout the college music scene. Back in January they accomplished quite a coup in getting Todd Terje over for a sell-out show in The Workman’s before graduating to their most recent project – an act-based bi-weekly residency in The Grand Social. The first of these was another sell-out, with deep house juggernauts Huxley and Ben Pearce sharing the bill.
In one interview Brian McCarthy said “We noticed a lot of the music nights in Dublin were very focused on one genre and attracted a certain crowd with little variety. We didn’t want to stick with one type of music – we just wanted to put on nights with acts that we like listening to.” The pair are now set to curate the main stage on the Saturday of Life Festival in May this year and have plans for a regular techno night in the near future. “So far we’ve stayed mostly with deep house and future garage but we’re looking to expand all the time.“
It’s been an impressive few months from the two students who rely almost solely on social media to promote their gigs. “Facebook and social media have been great to us, but they can also be your own worst enemy. It only takes one person to write a bad comment and suddenly the news spreads. But I think people understand that we’re both students, working hard to put on the best nights we can, and always trying to improve.“
The strategy is clearly working. Just minutes after the doors have opened for the Huxley/Ben Pearce gig the queue is wrapped around the corner of The Grand Social. The smoking area is jammed with a boisterous young crowd and filled with the smell of burgers from a grill in the corner. The entrance to the bar/dance floor is complete gridlock and for a moment it all seems a bit haphazard.
Once inside however, the lads have spread on a thick layer of professionalism. The bar is well staffed, the lighting is impressive and a large LCD screen flashes BEDLAM behind the DJ box. Ben Pearce is onstage layering beats over a loop from Joe Goddard’s Gabriel – creating a relaxed atmosphere in an ever-building crowd. His set is smooth and understated until the Manchurian breaks out his hit single What Might I Do and breathes fire into the stampeding crowd.
With the audience in full attendance, Huxley joins Pearce on stage for a quick collaboration before storming ahead with his own bombastic set of tracks from Oxia, Eats Everything and Boris Werner. The crowd is lapping it up and there’s a great energy running through the venue when he mixes in his own Box Clever and chaos ensues. T-shirts are removed, girls clamor onto the shoulders of their male counterparts, and there are even a few attempts at crowd surfing, creating a real festival feel in the intimate venue.
The Bedlam boys have already forged a place for themselves in the minds of young house music fans and with the likes of Klangkarussell, Louis La Roche, Russ Chimes, and – bit of a scoop here – Duke Dumont (April 12) appearing in the coming months, they’re certain to become a well known name in no time.