Big news for Irish music fans -- the Craic Fest, the annual celebration of Irish film and music, has scored another epic draw for 2012. This year they’re bringing over the red-hot Rubberbandits for an exclusive one-night, sure to sell-out in a New York minute show on March 10.
Famous for celebrating, among other things, Limerick, horses, drug abuse, totally inappropriate relationships and special needs hawks, the Rubberbandits are the most seriously satirical voices out of Ireland since literary luminary Flann O’Brien. Unlike O’Brien though they’re very serious about thumping backbeats, and that makes them a real musical force, not just a blink and you’ll miss them novelty act.
Their video, 'Horse Outside', went viral soon after release and has been viewed by eight and a half million viewers on YouTube at last count.
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A follow up video about scoring hash in a working class area of Limerick also attracted millions
When they started out, fans wondered if the Rubberbandits’ aggressively local Limerick humor would resonate with the rest of the country -- but of course it did. Then they wondered if it would resonate with the rest of the world -- and again it did, spectacularly so (the rip-roaringly funny video for their huge hit “Horse Outside” has clocked up more than 8.5 million views on YouTube).
Composed of Blindboy Boat Club (real name Dave Chambers) and Mister Chrome (Bob McGlynn), the Rubberbandits are two lethally smart Irish twenty-somethings who are still completely anonymous on stage (does anyone actually know what they look like?) and who still do every interview wearing plastic shopping bags over their faces with the logo of the Irish grocer Spar.
On Monday morning they spoke with the Irish Voice via phone from Dublin Airport as they prepare to board a flight to Australia for their latest national tour.
For two lads who ply their trade as self-described Limerick gurriers, they’re doing very well for themselves, and now they have a critically acclaimed new double album called Serious About Men to promote.
The first question is, as a pair of young Irish guys directly affected by the downturn (because everyone in that age group is) what are they making of all the austerity cuts undertaken by the Irish government?
“There’s nothing you really can make of the state of the country now,” Blindboy Boat Club tells the Irish Voice, in his unmistakable Limerick accent.
“It’s kind of gone past the point of joking, do you know what I mean? Two years ago it was grand to joke about it, but now it might be the first thing the Rubberbandits take seriously because it’s fairly s***.”
One of the biggest music festivals held each year in Ireland is called Oxegen. About 70,000 young Irish people usually attend. This year the festival has been cancelled for the first time. Promoters just assumed the young concert-goers have already fled the country.
“If you look at the statistics for the people that emigrated last year it’s pretty much the same amount that would have gone to Oxegen. That’s really sad you know? The whole place, everywhere you look now, it’s just old people,” says Blindboy.
But that’s the thing about the Rubberbandits. They have always known how to mix the serious with the silly, and they do it better than any of their Irish predecessors ever have.
Blindboy can move from talk about mass emigration to how the band make their plastic masks without missing a beat, and that’s exactly what he does now.
“We have our masks specially made,” he confesses. “We take plaster casts of our heads and then we put a plastic bag on the plaster cast. Then we get a heat gun and we point it at the bag until it shrinks around the mold. When we stick them on they always fit perfectly now.”
Call them artistic hoods. But not all plastic bags are made equal, he announces.
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“To be honest now, and I have no brand bias, but Spar bags have the finest quality plastics. When you wear plastic bags on your head for a living you tend to notice which bags are nicer and Spar bags are fantastic.
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