Amoeblog

The Roots of the Irish Disco/Dance Club Scene

Posted by Billyjam, March 17, 2011 06:10pm | Post a Comment
Paul Tarpey (Cheebah crew, Limerick, Ireland)
In keeping with the theme of Saint Patrick's Day for today's Amoeblog, I invited my good old friend, fellow Irishman and longtime fan of hip-hop and electronic music Paul Tarpey to be a guest Amoeblogger. For this post Paul, who is a Limerick-based DJ, photographer, & writer from that Irish city's Cheebah crew (who throw amazing parties and run the Cheebah and All That website), has sketched out a history of the Irish dance music club scene. Nowadays dance / electronic music and clubs are an integral part of the Irish music landscape. But it wasn't always that way; on the contrary. Long resistant to both hip-hop and electronic dance music, the homeland of U2 and countless other rock bands was for the longest time supportive of rock to the point of being discriminatory against disco and later dance/beat driven genres, something the guest Amoeblogger calls "rockist."

Tarpey said he felt compelled to research and write this piece when he "realised that the period before 1993 was overshadowed by the rockist history of the Irish music scene and that these early days merit some sort of record before memories fade and we forget about that scene’s pioneering activities." Here is what the Irish hip-hop/electronic music historian had to say:

Assemble any metropolitan club history, from the Paradise Garage in New York to The Hacienda in Manchester, and the same details are arrived at: innovative DJs within a specialised environment create their own rules to soundtrack a communal experience while being spurred on by a dedicated crowd. These classic night spots build slowly and peak after a few influential years, leaving behind them reputations and energy flashed memories. The Irish files to be dusted off from this period contain sections marked Flikkers and Sides. In remembering the history of these Dublin dance clubs, we consider the roots of an Irish dance movement that is as important in its own place as those overseas mythical dance palaces with their own associated cultural legacies.

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