Hollywood – Limerick style

After my railway trek to Limerick, with the boneless turkey (whose name is Bob) I arrived home, where I started eating chocolate biscuits. These are delicacies which I do not partake of during normal time. However as I was home, and hungry, it was justifiable.

I was going out this evening, to see a concert in Dolan’s. The band was the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra (or BPLO for those who are vehemently Team Jen or Team Ange – I am neither – since I saw ‘Thelma and Louise’ at the age of seventeen, I have always been an ardent supporter of Team Brad).

This is a band to which I have had some inadvertent and repeated  exposure to, over the past year.

Last May, before my final summer in Amsterdam, I took a fortnight’s holiday in Limerick. The marriage equality referendum coincided with my birthday, so I was busy.  After my frenzied day of street canvassing, the vote and the victory, I celebrated my birthday. And then a vacant week in Limerick yawned in front of me. How was I meant to spend the next week, gainfully occupied. There’s a limited cinema choice, so I had to look further afield. As it so happened there was a festival called ‘Culture and Chips’ happening the day after my birthday. I am cultured. I like chips. This seemed like a match. I called a friend from years gone by and arranged to see the headlining act.

The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra was the band. What kind of music the played was unknown to me. From where they hailed – well who knew. The tickets were fifteen euros – decent price. I was in. A live performance is always a safe bet.

They were wonderful – a six piece group which included a singing sister and her two singing  brothers, along with the rest of the group. They played a folky, rocky, indie-ish set. Hard to pinpoint the specific genre true. But irrelevant. I enjoyed it. That would suffice.

I moved back to Ireland in August. After my three month detox in Limerick (not a literal detox – I was not strapped to a mattress sweating out Amsterdam) I sourced a job in Dublin. Three weeks after my arrival, while living with the Swedish lunatic named Flatenemy I noticed that a Limerick rock opera about a bastard from Thomondgate, named ‘The Unlucky Cabin Boy’ was playing in the Draiocht theatre in Blanchardstown, near where I was imprisoned. It was the tale of a Famine ship, en route to Canada with a starving cargo. On its return to Limerick, an accident occurs. Cannibalism became necessary. Guess who was the victim? I discovered that the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra were the writers and performers of the musical segments. It was a wonderful show. More structured and stylised than the live gig – as would be required in a scripted stage show – it was a very moving piece of theatre , more personal and strange than usual, partly because it was from and about my hometown. And I was just back in the country – I  was highly sensitive about all things Limerick at that point.

Roll on to January. I had fled my cell in the flat with the lunatic. I was in my own pad in Dublin and had a free Saturday night. Looking for a bar with my friend we passed the Temple Bar Music Centre where a gig to raise funds for depression awareness was happening. Ham Sandwich – a Navan band who I had seen in Dolans in Limerick the previous month with my vegetarian brother, were on the bill. This looked like the ticket. The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra were also on the bill. We attended. I was starting to feel  little Ferrero Rocher about the group. I ought to approach them and proclaim ‘Monsieur Ambassadeur, wiz zis Rocher you are really spoiling us.’ A pleasant evening was had. It was the week after David Bowie had died so the Bowie cover was very poignant.

Tonight’s concert was the first that I attended specifically to see to the band, in full awareness of what to expect. I went online and bought a ticket for myself and a home-comer from Germany. It’s Christmas. It’s Dolan’s. It’s Limerick. It’s the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra. Don’t be fooled  by the rocks that I got, I’m still, I’m still Murphy from Luimneach.

It was a splendid show – engaging, funky, entertaining. Difficult to pinpoint an exact genre – rock, pop, folk, trad. All and none. The band knew their audience and left the crowd wanting more.

I may be revealing the true depths of my utter shallowness here but when they did the cover version of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ my heart soared. How did they know to play my shameful secret – my absolute, all time favourite Christmas tune?

That’s Limerick baby.

A magnificent concert and evening. Go see them when they play near you.

Tomorrow I promise to start my Christmas shopping.


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