Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

That’s How It WERKs

thisispopbaby brought their club experience to IMMA at the weekend.

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 14:17


As the first “alarm” sounded in the courtyard of IMMA on a hot Friday night in Dublin, people grabbed a can from the fridge and headed into the main room, where Panti greeted everyone and launched into an eclectic programme; Lisa Hannigan and Panti with a duet of Madonna’s ‘Holiday’, Lethal Dialect performing, Adam Matthews dressed as a giant seagull singing ‘The Only Way Is Up’, Mangina Jones leading a line-dancing lesson, Up And Over It┬ápounding out Britney Spears’ ‘Work Bitch’, a brilliant scene from Boys and Girls, Mark O’Halloran reading a monologue from Lippy, and┬áthe various other installations – human and otherwise – that coloured a brilliant evening.

The setting was beautiful, as IMMA continues to open up its grounds to an expanding criteria of art. The simple but effective venue dressing – baubles almost floating in the air, gold screens on wheels, an outdoor stage set for an aerial performance, live visuals from Aidan Kelly – added to what are already magical surroundings. It was a pleasure to experience that kind of party in that kind of venue.

The crowd was generous and intrigued, up for it and friendly. This was about fun, something that is frequently missing from nights out that can either be trashy, self-conscious, posturing or too concerned with coolness to remember to have a good time. Werk has been on something of a journey, but its stop off at IMMA was definitely one of its best, if not the best.

As an aside: thing that is interesting to observe though, is that how the idea of clubbing as a creative activity, or at the very least something beyond drink promos and tunes, is something of a 30-something hobby in Dublin. Werk is not for or by the kids. I don’t know where the 20-somethings are who should be hosting warehouse parties or coming up with great club nights. Maybe they’re just doing it in London and Berlin instead. It is also rather astounding that Dublin city centre cannot sustain a quality standalone electronic music-driven club that is open for more than three nights a week. Before you point out examples where electronic music “occurs”, the Bernard Shaw is a pub with a clubby element, the Twisted Pepper also contains a cafe, barber shop, and up until recently a record store, the Button Factory is a live music venue with club nights, Pygmalion sells tapas. Sure, there are basements of restaurants and studio spaces and bars that occasionally hand themselves over to a promoter and a crowd, but the lack of a space that for at least three or four nights a week is an actual real quality club is bizarre for a city of Dublin’s size. The proliferation of theme bars and mid-range restaurants seems to be the biggest growing area of Dublin’s night life. BORING. Still, great parties exist in the shadows, in venues about to be demolished, in warehouses on the down low, in studio spaces and sneaky basements. Maybe that’s where they’re better off being, for now. But when the spotlight focussed on Werk last night, you just yearned for more of that sort of thing.

(Photo from thisispopbaby‘s Facebook.)