BACK in March 2020, your writer was all set to make the short road trip to Listowel to see Limerick band Protobaby play a support slot at the award winning venue Mike The Pies. On the radio the news was full of a crisis that emerged from China and was intensifying and sweeping across Europe.
The band that Protobaby was due to support was called – China Crisis – the irony of that was not lost on any of us, the gig was cancelled and venues were shut down.
Now 19 months later, Protobaby are finally getting to play a show to a live audience in their hometown this Saturday October 16 in Dolans.
Protobaby are a band that make the very most of a live show, their Joy Division / interpol influenced post punk sound is a visceral and elevating experience when you are in the room with Colm McGuinness’s baritone vocals, Tony Monahan’s electric guitar soundscapes with Bryan Ronan’s pounding drums driving the whole show. The band will introduce their new bass player, James Shine to play his first Limerick show.
Guitarist Tony Monahan chatted to Limerick Post this week and was asked about the many stops and starts and cancellations in the build up to this show. Was it difficult to keep rehearsals going?
“It was kind of a nuisance, you’re rehearsing with masks and all that. It was awkward rehearsing tbh. You know, you’re in a practice and you don’t know whether you should have your mask off or not. So even that alone was weird to be rehearsing with the lads and standing back from them, then having gigs pulled. It was very disconcerting.”
Protobaby did get to record and live stream a show from Dolans for their album launch of Twisted Words last December which sounds and looks great.
See it on You Tube
What did the band think of their online show?
“Loved watching it back but actually doing it was weird. You’re chatting away with all the lads, then there’s a countdown. You kind of freak out a little bit because there’s silence when you start playing the song and silence after the songs. Took a bit of getting used to. It brought me back to my first ever gigs playing in front of two or three people.”
“When I watched it back I really appreciated the quality and the work that was put into the camera work and the sound.”
This Saturday Protobaby will finally get to play their new album to a live audience. Twisted Words is the band’s third record, the title track was released as a single/video and received widespread plays and positive reviews. The track was mixed by award winning mixer/producer Cenzo Townsend who has mixed and produced some of the biggest names in the music business (Everything Everything, Editors, U2, Snow Patrol, Elbow, Florence & the Machine)
The album has additional productions from Chris O’Brien and Graham Murphy of the Production Suite and was mastered here in Limerick by Richard Dowling at Wav Mastering. The album is available on vinyl and download on www.bandcamp.com and at the live show.
Tony also collaborated on other musical projects over the last few months.
He brought his former band Kraven back together for the first time in 15 years to record three songs that only existed on very rough cassette recordings. The original demos had Alex Blinov on drums who sadly suddenly passed away in Feb 2005.
The remaining band members Tom Ryan on vocals/guitar, Pat O’Byrne on bass and Tony Monahan on guitars came together with drummer Bryan Ronan (Protobaby) stepping in on drums and capturing Alex’s grooves and many of his drum fills.
The EP is called re:connect and is a labour of love from this band of brothers that is especially poignant because singer Tom Ryan was seriously ill as they completed the recordings and sadly passed away in September.
“Why the recording happened was we knew that Tom had limited time. We had songs from rehearsals from way back. We knew we had to get them done.”
Described as a “great friend, brother-in-law and musical soulmate” by Tony, Tom did get to hear the final mastered recordings which gave him great joy in his final days.
“He got to hear the mastered versions and he was delighted with them. He loved them and in fact the last time I saw Tom he said that it was one of his favorite things he had done in music. We are all so proud of the EP. His favourite track from re:connect, ‘Fooling Yourself’ was played at his funeral at his request.”
The re:connect EP is available on kraven.bandcamp.com/
Protobaby play live in Dolans this Saturday October 16. www.dolans.ie for tickets.
STREAM/SUPPORT HERE – BANDCAMP: http://protobaby.bandcamp.com/ – YOUTUBE: protobabyvids
MusicLimerick – New Music Favourites is a Spotify playlist of some of the fine music being produced by Limerick artists over the last 12 months.
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