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CLUAS Opinion: Whelans
Last Post 06 Jan 2005 11:29 AM by Vent My Spleen. 66 Replies.
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Vent My SpleenUser is Offline
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Vent My Spleen

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06 Jan 2005 11:29 AM
    Post your comments here on the latest CLUAS Opinion piece in which CLUAS writer Gareth Maher casts a critical eye over Dublin venue Whelans. I'd expect everyone has plenty to say on this one! Check it out here: http://www.cluas.com/opinion/whelans_scene.htm
    klootfanUser is Offline
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    klootfan

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    06 Jan 2005 12:27 PM
    I really enjoyed that piece on whelans. I can relate to pretty much every point made. Lately the DJs just dont seem to care in whelans. They seem to play the same predefined setlist every night. Long gone are the days when you could make a request. There is a bouncer placed at the desk to prevent requests these days. And it is rubbish that whelans would allow people like mickey joe and mcfadden use whelans to convey a false "indie" image on themselves. I still like whelans but these days i head to the small venue below the oak/thomas reeds. a nice crowd and they play the music whelans should be playing. Plus its free.
    MullyUser is Offline
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    Mully

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    06 Jan 2005 12:42 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by klootfan
    And it is rubbish that whelans would allow people like mickey joe and mcfadden use whelans to convey a false "indie" image on themselves.
    Now Now, Dont be lobbing Mickey Harte in with the clown BrYan Mickey is a singer-songwriter who has as much right as Paddy Casey or Mundy to be playing whelans. He knows the Eurovision was a poisoned chalice, but he took the chance, as a way of getting his name, & songs out there. He never wanted to do that song, he knew it was s**t, but it was written into the contract. As for being 'Indie', what is Independent these days, except for unsigned acts putting out their own stuff themselves. I reckon Mickey was just looking to play a venue that is held in high esteem by the musicians he respects & is a fan of. I've only heard Mickey Harte on the first Even Better Than The Real Thing CD doing a cover, but I've alot of time for him, cos he put an intelligent twist on a played-to-death pop song. Steve Wall was on You're A Star, offering the kids advice. Should his band be stopped from playing Whelans ....
    john@soundweb.ieUser is Offline
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    john@soundweb.ie

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    06 Jan 2005 12:47 PM
    hey Eoghan, i'm back! (sorry folks, private in-joke there) good article, long overdue i reckon. i thought it was just me gettin auld but it's not the night it used to be. the predefined setlist hasn't changed in yonks. having said that, its been a while since my last visit...and i agree with Kloot, READS downstairs is cool.
    klootfanUser is Offline
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    06 Jan 2005 12:57 PM
    Mully, i disagree with you on Micky Joe. By choosing to take the short cut trying to win "your a star" he lost all credibility. "Your a star" is for people who want to be famous. Full stuff. Anyone with an ounce of credibility would have nothing to do with the show. If he wanted to be taken seriously then why didnt he go the hard route of giging around and making a name for himself ? No one in ireland has ever launched a successful career after winning the eurovision, what made him think he was any different. He cant go complaining now that people wont take him seriously because he only went on the show to kick start his career. He has made his bed and now he can sleep in it ( that is how the phrase goes, isnt it..duno)
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    06 Jan 2005 01:01 PM
    Nice piece (actually the Opinion strand is the best thing about Cluas right now). The best point is the final para - a venue is only as good as the acts on its stage. Whelans held the crown for so long because thats where those bands/singersongwriters went to play. The way is clear for other venues to make an impact provided the bands they book are good enough to pull a decent crowd. I like the size of crawdaddy but i've yet to see a local act there that i didnt alredy see somewhere else. as for the WLC, can we not just call Kevin Street garda station next saturday night and put an end to it once and for all? i'd like to see the ugly mutt from turn and smiley glen hansard and that mundy eejit behind bars for a while on another note - and apoligies cos i am dublin-based - whats the scene like around the country for new bands? I know of some venues like the high stool in limerick but have most of the venues just started booking poxy singersongwriters or are there still some who'll take a chance on bands and local acts?
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    06 Jan 2005 01:51 PM
    To be honest Whelans needs to do a lot more than change the act's it books. More often than not the sound is appalling. Any one who arrives late for the gig doesn't see the gig. I've never really understood what the attraction was to the place. Perhaps there was once a time when it really was the place to be but as far as I can make out it's heyday is long gone. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of venues with the same problems as above but none of them profess to be "The" Venue. My tuppence.
    MullyUser is Offline
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    Mully

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    06 Jan 2005 01:56 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by klootfan
    If he wanted to be taken seriously then why didnt he go the hard route of giging around and making a name for himself ?
    Maybe because its hard ...
    quote:

    No one in ireland has ever launched a successful career after winning the eurovision, what made him think he was any different.
    I think Johnny Logan may have something to say about that
    KarlitoUser is Offline
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    Karlito

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    06 Jan 2005 02:00 PM
    I must say I agree with the points made above. I went back to Whelans for the first time in abut 2 years there, a couple of months ago, walked in after some band was playing (can't remember who) and then the usual music from the "DJ" started playing, I mean whats the story? Does the dude just make a couple of compilation CD's and stick them on every week for the last couple of years, other than the odd Frames track or some other new track thrown in at the start ii's horrible. As and for bands playing th e actual venue, I saw Fly Pan Am there a few weeks before Christmas and they kicked ass, but to a seriously depleted crowd compared to what is normally there, there was no atmosphere and I left straight after the gig. As for WLC, I have never noticed these people in the pub, but then again I was achieving what I was going there to do, get drunk (not messy drunk) and have a laugh, so not bothered with whose there or not
    DaraghUser is Offline
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    Daragh Murray

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    06 Jan 2005 05:07 PM
    good article all right, definitely agree about the image of the place, i've only been there a few times (and all recently) and i was very disappointed, compared to what i'd heard, definitely too much of a "cool/place to be" attitude, the DJ also played the same song a few times in the night, hate that, (plenty of good tunes to go round!) on the other hand, up until recently, Whelans Off License was 1 of only 2 (other way too expensive) places to buy a bottle of Captain Morgans spiced rum, so no quibbles there!
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    07 Jan 2005 01:16 AM
    People,you're living in the past!!!get over it!you're supposed to move on,grow up,find other places,leave whelans for the new generation,who've never heard lovecats before,and get tingles when they hear an old(what some us may consider jaded)classic for the first time...i know a lot of hipper places that have the same music policy every week too...the bouncer is actually at the dj box to enable floor staff put drinks up on the bar without being blocked...i've met so many great people in whelans over the years,both staff and patrons,i think it's a unique vibe still,theres a lot less aggro there than in most places...as for the "WLC",jesus lads,practically every pub in dublin has a lock-in(dorans has a lock in too y'know, with the sainted ROL holding fort,its not very different to whelans,and i've been there when huey's in town,and boy does it get messy...so what if musicians want to have a drink together,so what if they're having after hours drinks like probably a quarter of the nation..are they hurting anyone?there's more important things to get worked up about in the music industry quite frankly,than who has late drinks where...
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    07 Jan 2005 03:27 AM
    I think the whole "scene" has changed so much in the past ten years. I remember when Engine Alley Versus Peach was going on (anyone remember either of them!!?) in kinda 93/94 ... the buzz of going to Whelans or Slatterys... two super venues at the time.... I think the people were different, i think the music was different, even the pints tasted different. Things were in pounds and a euro was a prefix only for the word cup!! IN fact, even the euro cup was different!! Sound like i am waffling now... what am trying to say is... the "mood" out there i think is different now and yes its bound to be but has alot of the mystery or romance not gone from those venues? Times DO move on but Whelans once upon a time stood above the rest for me and now it seem the whole unique feeling of playing there has left... it used to mean that you had "made serious progress" if you played there... now anyone seems to, as is there right, but its lost its edge. Ironic the the Village appears, for me anyway, to have captured some of that romance in "moments" in 2004. Only thing i dont quite agree with you on Gar is the Crawdaddy bit... and this is personal again, i actually hate that venue, maybe its the low ceiling on ground level or the claustraphobic feel to the place but not for me... but that brings you back to your point... where are the super venues now!? God its near 6am and i hope I am talking sense or at least making the point felt!! Night all!
    bonzoUser is Offline
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    07 Jan 2005 07:09 AM
    The owners of Whelan's don't owe it to anyone to change how the venue is run. They can run the venue as they see fit. We can decide not to go there if we want. Good piece though. As for the WLC - don't get me stated!
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    07 Jan 2005 07:35 AM
    The majority of posts are all basically saying "oh in my day it was so much cooler" everything gets a little stale when youve done it before. We cant feel like we are 18 when we are 25. I accept that the music is on rotation but f**k it its better than most other places. I accept that there is a WLC but Id love to be drinking in there till 6 in the morning so fair play. I dont think the WLC get any kind of worship from the punters in whelans everyone is there to get drunk while having a bit of a dance and hopefully get laid. No one is autograph hunting for gods sake. Venue wise i think Whelans is great. The sound can be dodgy but a good sound engineer makes the sound really nice and like eveywhere else it depends on where you are standing. I saw biffy cyro and Sack there over the last while and the sound was excellent. The place was full and the atmosphere was excellent both nights. IF the bands you used to go and see are no longer pulling crowds maybe thats there fault and not whelans. I also love playing there I think its intimate, you can see the whites of peoples eyes and you are aware of the greats who have played on that stage over the years.
    GarUser is Offline
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    07 Jan 2005 07:56 AM
    The point in writing the article was to evoke opinions from Cluas members, and maybe others who want to have their say. It seems to have worked with many good points raised here. So cheers for reading it and don't stop debating.
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    Aidan Curran

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    07 Jan 2005 08:04 AM
    nice one, gar. I think whelans has gone downhill for sure - perhaps it's because it hosts mainly acoustic singer-singers who tend to make up the self-congratulatory and conservative lock-in crowd - less rockin' and glammin' and electricity, too much introspection and aloofness. It's getting more and more rare to see a full-on plugged-in band there. whelan's is now synonymous with tom dunne's radio show and one fairly narrow sub-genre of music.... but that's the fashion at the moment, I suppose. If it makes money for the venue, I can't see them changing until the next bandwagon rolls down wexford street... it's a shame, because gigs are usually less expensive there. crawdaddy has great and diverse acts (especially 'world' music acts) but usually a bit steep price-wise. and yes, the djs there haven't bought a new record in ten years!
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    07 Jan 2005 09:01 AM
    I don't think we can blame the musicians who ply their trade there. Whelans has always been ' eclectic' when it comes to it's artists from Indie to traditional and regardless of Micky Joe and Fatso McFadden it won't lose that rep soon, simply because it can't afford to. There's no danger of the pop kids invading here.. What really bothers me about Whelans is the way it's run. Call me an old fogey, but comfort is something I enjoy on a night out. Whe I spend €5.00 on a bottle of beer I at least want is a bit of room to move around, maybe a bit of a seat too.. But to be crammed in, in possibly illegal amounts and having to constantly negotiate drunks and broken glass is not what I call a great time. Do youself a favour, go to Solas or Anseo instead.
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    John Doe

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    07 Jan 2005 11:48 AM
    Hmmmmm. For a start, I should probably point out that I'm an old fart who was going to gigs on the Dublin scene long before Whelans had established itself. In my day the Underground on Dame Street ( now a strip club ) and the extent Baggot Inn were the "cool" venues to be in and I spent a large portion of the mid - Eighties / early Nineties attneding gigs at both. I particularly loved the Baggot and little piece of my rock 'n roll soul died when they closed them down. :D I can remember the same arguments back then about the Underground - it's cliquey, it's lost it's roots etc. I feel the same now about Whelans as I did then about the Baggot. I think it's a smashing venue, with a great atmosphere most of the time. My experiences of The Village so far have all been negative, appalling sound and all the atmosphere of an underground car park. The Hub is not bad although I've only seen a handful of acts there. The fact that McFadden ( spit ) played Whelans is irrelevant - one mutt doesn't make the place a pop hell. The argument about the DJ is fair enough, but let's not forget that Whelans is first and foremost a live venue and should be judged on it's merits. I saw Sack and support band Chuzzle just before Xmas and I can safely say it was one of the best gigs I've ever seen. Both bands have great frontmen who really connect with the audience and Whelans was the perfect venue for them. The sound was excellent in my opinion and the atmosphere was first rate. As long as it keeps playing host to bands like that Whelans will remain my favourite venue. And the argument about the WLC is also irrelevant. There's ALWAYS been cliques in the Dublin music scene ( just as I'm sure there is in London / New York / Paris / Munich etc. ) and always will be. I've never taken any of them seriously and never will. Incidentally, someone earlier made a comment about CBGBs selling t-shirts...as if that was some mark of shame. Name me one band who don't try to sell merchandise ? Last year I went to see a struggling Dublin band who had t-shirts to sell and I was happy enough to buy one. It's all part of the fun folks. I was lucky enough to visit New York, went to CBGBs one night and for all it's fame, it was exactly what I'd hoped for....a cramped, sweaty kip with a horde of unknowns on stage trying to impress the crowd. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, is what a rock venue should be ?
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    07 Jan 2005 12:32 PM
    Alot of people are getting worked up over the piece, thats good. I was merely highlighting points in the article and people shouldn't take it so personally. I'll still be going to gigs in Whelan's throughout this year.
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    07 Jan 2005 08:23 PM
    Interesting article. Have to say it mentioned quite a lot of things which I've been feeling about whelans myself over the past while. I agree though that the playlist has been the same for the past 5yrs at least, thats not what bothers me. All of a sudden it's cool to like indie music and or whatever and the entire scene has changed. Ok so i used to be a typical predictable whelans head, just kinda fell in with the right people there i suppose, nice staff, great venue for gigs, good music, good craic. Couldn't understand how people could not like the place. Over the past yr or so, maybe longer, I've started to notice why some people just cannot stand the place. The crowd has changed, especially on a fri/sat you might as well be in f**king Q bar, for the amount of mini skirts and alcopops floating around the place. The WLC are just as bad. Not a bad bunch of people, but just seems that over the past while they've turned into a bunch of media whores. I was at a gig a while back and the lead singer turned around and told the crowd that the band would be drinking up in whelans after so they'd see everyone there for a pint. Now I know it's major business for the pub but in fairness the majority of the crowd were just going to rub shoulders with the 'whelans elite'! Certain other member of said crowd are renowned for turning up on the busiest night of the week knowing they'll be 'mobbed' by adoring fans (being so famous and all), then spend the entire night complaining about how difficult it is being so famous, yet doing it in order to guarantee they'll get laid that night, by inviting some thick groupie back to one of whelans many infamous lock ins. I've been drifting away from the whole whelans scene for a while now, something I never thought would happen but it just seems that its the same people talking the same bulls**t, trying to outdo each other with their expertise on the irish music scene or mingling with major celebs like hansard and casey. Getting out of that circle has just really opened my eyes and made me realise that there is actually life beyond whelans.The brian mcfadden thing was a hige mistake, it lost them a hell of a lot of money and even more respect frm regulars. It just seems to me that whelans is totally selling out. I mean with all these new venues popping up(crawdaddy etc) they should be trying to hang on to whatever it was that attracted people to whelans in the first place. I dunno if its too late or what but i just think give it another few yrs and whelans will just be another pub, whatever music rep it had will be totally abandoned. Sorry for ranting on,I'm sure there are plenty of people who think i am talking utter b****x but there's my thoughts on the subject anyway.x
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