The Rubberbandits: Ireland's Finest Comedy Hip-Hop Duo

The award-winning satirical act from Limerick have had a pilot commissioned by Channel 4, but just who are The Rubberbandits?
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‘There’s no way I’m riding you unless I’m wrecked on bags of glue’

With hooks like that, I was always going to be putty in the hands of The Rubberbandits. You may not have heard of them yet if you’re reading this in the UK, but don’t worry; you soon will.

If you like your satire overlayed with smoove R’n’B chops and delivered by scallies wearing plastic shopping bags like balaclavas or alternatively; you like your hip-hop informed by the satirical stylings of old-school Irish absurdist Flann O’Brien, then your prayers have been answered because Limerick City’s finest are in full effect, currently touring the UK and promoting their upcoming pilot for Channel 4.

To be fair, poor old Mother Ireland has never been known as a hip-hop heartland. Sure, there have been Irish American acts like Boston’s House of Pain and even quality Dublin artists like Scary Éire back in the day but the Rubberbandits brand of ‘Hib-hop’ refreshes the parts that other acts just can’t (or wouldn't dare) reach.

My first listen to the inimitable Blindboy Boat Club and Mr. Chrome came in the form of ‘Up the Ra’. According to the kind of musos who write about this sort of thing for a living, Up the Ra, “employs the literary device of the unreliable narrator to lambast the Irish phenomenon of armchair republicanism.” Me? I just thought it was hilarious. Hot Press magazine (Ireland’s would-be ‘Rolling Stone’) described them as “this generation’s finest all-singing, all-dancing arch-satirists”.

According to the promoters, it was the biggest crowd for an opening act in the history of the event.

What started out as the recording of lairy prank calls first became an Irish internet phenomenon and then a household name. Their single ‘Horse Outside’ was only denied the 2010 Christmas Number one slot in Ireland by X-factor’s Matt Cardle (go figure).

Playing to a festival crowds at the Oxegen festival in July, the Rubberbandits celebrated mass with a cast of altar boy dancers, a live band and a James Brown impersonator. According to the promoters, it was the biggest crowd for an opening act in the history of the event.

When they were awarded an IFTA (Irish Film and Television Academy Award) for Television Moment of the Year in February, they chose to give their acceptance speech from"the moon".

Channel 4 clearly has high hopes for the Rubberbandits and has commissioned a pilot to be directed by Father Ted director Declan Lowney. 'Black Guy (I Need A Black Guy In My Gang)' was posted on Channel 4’s website on 11 November with further sketches aired online every Thursday for six weeks until December 15.

The Rubberbandits UK tour started on Sunday 13 November and they play London on 27 November, chalk it down...

The Rusty Wire Service

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