The Oh Joy guide to Dublin’s Music Scene

Oh Joy - Dublin bandIt's a little funny to be writing a guide to Dublin given that we recently decided we're going to leave Dublin and move to the UK in July to work on music and broaden our horizons. The three of us grew up here and it feels like a good time to try something new. That said, Dublin is actually a really nice place to visit and to live.

These are some of Oh Joy's favourite places to see and things to do in Dublin.

We’re probably not the best people to ask when it comes to finding a place to drink in Dublin. If “John’s living room” was a pub we’d probably say that. Dublin is a good place for old man pubs and The Hairy Lemon is the crème de la crème of old man pubs. It's a very good spot for drinking pints in silence with your bandmates and looking at your phone. If you like your pubs to be populated and have Star Wars merchandise hanging from the ceiling then maybe try Blackbird in Rathmines instead.

There’s a lot of great venues in Dublin (there’s a lot of terrible ones too). When it comes to seeing proper international bands, Vicar Street is the place to go. It's pretty big but it feels very intimate. It always sounds amazing and there’s usually a good vibe around the place. John (bassist) saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor there a couple of months ago and it was one of his favourite shows ever.

For local acts as well as smaller international acts, Whelan’s is a really nice place to go. There’s always something going on here. We’ve played Whelan’s at least 20 times but it's hard to play anywhere else because the sound at Whelan’s is always great and it's just a really nice place to hang out and meet fellow musicians. We saw Alex G playing there a couple of months ago and it was brilliant. We got to meet him after too. Metz played there a couple weeks ago and it was the sweatiest gig we’ve been at in a while. Metz are amazing.

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Bello Bar is a great venue too. It's in Portobello which is a really cool area (full of hipsters and skaters). The venue is buried under a pub called The Lower Deck. It's a very relaxing place to go see a show — the type of place Ollie (singer/guitarist) might go to drink red wine, read American classic novels, and pretend to be cultured. We supported NYC’s Show Me the Body there once and it was the most surreal experience ever. There was some pretty intense moshing going on and there was even a guy in a full-blown gimp suit. The contrast between the gig and the venue itself was hilarious.

There’s an area in the city centre off Grafton Street where there are loads of great music shops. Freebird Records is the best place in town to buy CDs and records. There’s also a huge collection of new and second-hand books. The place is a bit of a mess but that's part of the experience. One of the guys who works there looks like he was taken directly out of the cast of That 70s Show. He’s a cool guy. I think our record is on sale there…

If you’re into guitars, you can’t leave Dublin without purchasing at least one expensive vintage guitar. There’s this amazing vintage guitar shop on Aungier Street called Some Neck Guitars. The shop is pretty small and the walls are lined with the weirdest and most beautiful vintage guitars. There are beautiful road-worn vintage amps stuffed in every corner of the store and they have heaps of really cool odd-ball pedals stacked in big cabinets around the shop. The guy who runs the place is a lovely man called Owen. John bought his bass guitar from Some Neck. It's beautiful. Our old guitar amp was bought from Some Neck as well (until it broke and we sold it back to him at half the price). If you like old and weird equipment you’ll love Some Neck.

We also love Music Maker which is about a five-minute walk from Some Neck. It's great for more day-to-day purchases like guitar strings or leads. Ronan, who works downstairs in the Drumgeon, tunes up our drums before recording sessions and only asks only for a coffee as payment.

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Dublin is home to some pretty amazing local bands. The best band to come out of Dublin since we started playing are Girl Band. It's a fact. They haven’t been playing for a while for personal reasons but we’re holding out hope that they’re going to make a triumphant return to playing live in Dublin. Seeing them play live makes you feel depressed and never want to play music ever again. It's perfect.

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We’re friends with a band called Other Creatures. They’re absolutely brilliant. Since they released their single "Luxembourg" they’ve been the talk of the town. Assholes…

John and Alex (drummer) recently went to see a band called Girlfriend who are definitely becoming a bit of a big deal. They’re emo in all the right ways and their song-writing is really beautiful. If you see them play live you’ll be blown away. Ollie still hasn’t seen them live because he’s in denial about how good they are.

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Come visit Dublin. You can stay in our houses because we won’t be living here anymore. Don’t forget to buy a copy of our record at Freebird and say hi to Owen in Some Neck for us.

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