The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


When writing about Limerick it’s all too easy to make cheap jokes at the expense of some of the counties, shall we say, less attractive elements. Now, Key Notes is not the kind of blog that likes to stick the knife in so it won’t. Instead it’ll have a stab at discussing Limerick’s role in the Irish music scene (okay, it's stops now, promise).

Limerick, home to Ireland’s fourth largest city, is at the very centre of the countries south western tourist region with the Shannon Estuary and Shannon airport playing important roles in attracting visitors to the region (though not from Heathrow). Musically, Limerick has provided the rest of the country an eclectic mix of talented and influential musicians and composers; Dolores O’Riordan, Bill Whelan, Richard D. James and Johnny Fean to name but a few.

While Dolores is still plugging away, her ex-Cranberries band mate Noel Hogan is working with Vesta Varro on a follow up to their debut album Exit Here. Despite being named on NME’s Hotlist for 2007, Vesta Varro are actually quite good. Wearing the influence of Matt Bellamy & Co.’s penchant for spine shatteringly explosive rock proudly on their collective sleeves, Vesta Varro are a band with masses of potential and in lead singer Damien Drea have a vocalist with the ability to make you forget what you were supposed to be doing, as happened me the first time I heard Coming Back.


On a totally different planet, never mind note, are Giveamanakick. The only way to truly experience what this band has to offer is in a live setting. I can still remember my first Giveamanakick gig, how could you forget seeing someone shouting into a gas mask! However, both Is it Ok to be loud, Jesus? and We are the way forward disappointed. This blog hopes that, having spent the past three years honing their skills with support slots to the likes of Deftones, Dinosaur Jr. and The Presidents of the United States of America, Giveamanakick’s third studio offering can finally live up to the verve and vivacity of their live shows. 

One of the great things about writing this blog is discovering something new and not being ashamed to admit to not hearing it before. This is the case with Headgear, a Limerick band (though not by birth) discovered by chance while this blog was conducting "research" in an establishment that may or may not have been a public house. However Key Notes heard about Headgear it's glad it did. Flight Cases, the sophomore release from the band contains my new favourite song, Harry Truman. An amalgamation of sounds that the band itself describes as ‘mongrel music’ there’s something about this band that suggests they have a lot to offer the Irish music scene and beyond. Below is the video for Singin' in the drain

As this blog continues its quest to find the best bands from outside Dublin it would appreciate your help. Who has this blog missed in Limerick? Also, this blog’s next stop will be Meath; any suggestions of bands to be featured can be mailed to


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Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.