the brownbread mixtape #8 in review – now I’m a believer!

We are fast running out of superlatives to describe the epic brownbread mixtape nights we all get to share every month. Our April show was themed “This I Believe” and it was in a word : unbelievable. Thanks to all of our incredible performers and to our fantastic audience who made the event so great.

Following some unforeseen technical glitches, resulting in a failed Internet broadcast set-up, the evening began triumphantly nevertheless. Kalle and Enda kicked off the proceedings, as ever, with a song constructed using a loop pedal, some human beatboxing, flight related volcanic ash references and a discussion about beliefs, resulting in an enchanting rendition of the R Kelly classic “I believe I can fly”. Mmmm.

Our first act of the night were a late addition to the lineup but what a band! Recommended to us by the mighty Elder Roche, along came a harmonising, folksy trio you would walk straight past Crosby, Stills & Nash to hear. Rook and The Ravens, hailing from Manchester but drenched in Americana, simply blew everyone away with their powerful, poetic songs. It was another one of those rare brownbread mixtape treats that makes you feel glad to be in the room.

Next up was the well-versed poet and performer CAH-44 who delivered his trademark soundscapes and provocative poetry. The room was in its usual silent respectful, attentive state for spoken word and CAH-44 duly delivered a show that took in elements of fairytales all the way through to Jimmy Stewart movies. Awesome stuff.

Our resident brownbread players (Eva Bartley, Sean McDonagh, Gus McDonagh and Kalle Ryan) then took to the stage and entertained the crowd brilliantly with two brand new bespoke sketches for the evening that was in it. First up was the episode 2 in a now recurring series of sketches written by Kalle entitled “The State of Our Relationship”. This month’s offering of the comedy soap opera about national identity was as hilarious as it was stereotypical.

The next sketch, written by Sean, introduced us to the unusual sermon style of Father Shivers and his Polish trainee/translator Marek. A very funny glimpse into the world of catholicism and the immigrant Irish workforce. Possibly the most popular sketch of the night going by the laughter from the audience.

Closing out Side A of the mixtape was the infectiously sweet, cool and funny Jasmine Lyhagen of The Bottom Floor Band. As she regaled the audience with stories of pregnancy and inspirational indie cinema, everyone was also irresistibly drawn in by her powerful songs and captivating voice. Ably backed by our very own Enda Roche (session musician and sound man extraordinaire) she closed out her set with a bounding Swedish singalong about her son Joar.

Side B began as always with the now legendary brownbread raffle which featured the coveted limited edition “Best of the Batch” brownbread mixtape CD, as well as the ultra rare brownbread mixtape t-shirt (1 of only 2 in the world!). Prizes were won, insults were hurled, smiles were broadened and life was good.

Moving swiftly along, Kalle launched into reading a series of the audience musings and contributions on the theme of the night. The audience had scrawled down their thoughts on the copybooks provided and did not disappoint with a series of odd, funny and interesting takes on belief and faith.

Side B then picked up real pace with our first act of the second half – stand-up comedian Ronan Grace. Ronan had a really easygoing stage manner backed up with some really razor-sharp jokes which went over really well. Mixing highbrow postmodernist conceptual material with old fashioned puns and gags, he had the audience laughing blissfully along with his take on the world around him. A funny man who you should do your utmost to catch live next time he is performing.

Next up was the musical force of nature known as Bill Coleman. Bill began wistfully by reminiscing that he had launched his first EP in this very location, upstairs in The Stag’s Head, 7 years ago. History was on his side. He then launched into an energetic, passionate performance replete with loop pedals and self-harmonising that proved to be a real high tide of the night. His monster songs with euphoric choruses struck a real chord with the audience, willing him back to perform an encore. If he is performing live near you, don’t miss him. He is the real deal.

And so, closing out the night, were another set of sketches from our very own brownbread players. The first was a poem-sketch hybrid featuring a series of Kalle’s unusual childhood beliefs alongside a full Greek chorus echo type arrangement to reiterate those beliefs. Just listen for yourselves…

The final sketch (or rather, series of sketches) written by Gus and Eva were set in the tradional Irish setting of church confessional booths. Really funny and really strange. The unorthodox priestly advice is not recommended under any circumstances.

And so we had reached the conclusion of yet another ecstatic evening of humour and sadness, music and sporadic silence. It was an incredible night once again. Different to previous shows yet retaining that magical distinctive brownbread mixtape energy. Is it really possible that each month is better than the last? Yes it is. Just come along to the next show and see.

Our next show is “Things That Are Cool” on May 26th. Doors at 8.30pm. FREE admission. See you there y’all!

More audio from “This I Believe” will be up presently in the jukebox on our Myspace page

Lots of cool videos of sketches & performers from previous shows can be found at our YouTube channel

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