The Richter Collective comes to a close

By Greg Synnott

Enemies performing at the Richter Collective in Dublin's Button Factory Photo by Greg Synnott

Saturday night saw the Richter Collective officially come a close in the centre of Dublin. Probably the most well known independent label to come out of Ireland in the last decade, the Richter Collective brought a lot of great music into the world and could be viewed as the seed and the heart of underground Irish music. Some may look at that as a stretch but they were a staple part of anyone’s music collection if you spent any time near the Irish music scene since they first came onto the scene in 2008.

The Richter Collective can be looked upon as the juggernauts that made a scene of their own with early releases from “Bats”, “Jogging” and “The Redneck Manifesto” with later releases from the math rock “Friendly Enemies” and the behemoths that are “And So I Watch You From Afar” among many others.

The problems faced by the Collective were many, holding a traditional label structure is just not a viable option for an independent mentality whilst paying to produce the highest quality products and music that you can. It was no short order to join the label and any band signing up knew that.

Unfortunately after four years, and one last ditch at bringing in some money in the form of ‘Friends of the Richter Collective’, the label is closing its doors, but what better way to go out than by bringing in some of your best acts to send you on your way, hopefully to bigger and better things.  Now for the show…

The Button Factory is one of Dublin’s prime locations for smaller gigs within a large enough setting. An open room, that can hold somewhere in the region of 750 people, with a large balcony upstairs, this Temple Bar based venue was packed to capacity and then some. Everyone wanted in on the labels final blow out, it would be a talking point for a long time for many, if the line up was anything to go by anyway. “Squarehead”, “Enemies”, “Bats”, “Not Squares”, “The Redneck Manifesto” and a DJ set from “And So I Watch You From Afar2 was nothing shy of a best of list of acts from the label.

“The Continuous Battle of Order” were billed to play but unfortunately were left stranded in a broken down van on the way to the show. This meant the things were running late and gave the crowd time to gather. Queues were forming down the street in the hopes of getting tickets, with many being turned away whilst many others queued inside just to get a look at the merch stand; The Richter Collective had always made a point of selling the best quality music at the lowest prices and tonight was an exceptional show of a label left with too much merch, selling off CD’s and even vinyl for as little as €1 and nothing going for higher than €6. This was the last chance for many to get their hands on history and everyone was getting in on the deals as well as the limited to 500 copies of the Richter Collectives final compilation for free.

Squarehead took to the stage shortly after 8, just as the crowd was beginning to fill the room and already their biggest fans had taken their place front of stage. The trio began their night with a bang, thanking the crowd whilst their bass player rocked out, decked out in the sparkliest pants possible; a fitting beginning to what’s promised to be an overwhelming night of music and emotion.  The band powered their way through a set of their catchy guitar and harmony driven pop songs that kept the crowd bouncing.

It wasn’t long before Enemies took their place and jumped right into their math rock heavy set heaped with new material and mosh pit antics; a first for the lads apparently as they claim more people sleep to their music than move to it. Their latest release, ‘Indian Summer’ has the crowd singing along, a rare thing for enemies who were once strictly an instrumental act before breaking into more new tracks, as if to prove they haven’t just been sitting around and that record we expect in 2013 is actually coming. And the new tunes sound incredibly good.  Enemies have shown maturity and experience well beyond their years, technique that other math rock bands will find hard to match.

Bats followed and immediately jumped into material from their latest album ‘The Sleep of Reason’ that just hit stores recently and were quick to have the crowd on their side, with one fan going as far to disturb the set by taking to the stage and nearly taking out half the band as he stumbled around. When peace was returned Bats sank back into ‘Gamma Ray Burst’ as if nothing had happened.

Belfast’s biggest party band Not Squares were the penultimate act of the night and were not shy about showing off their latest workings, with synth heavy and drum heavy tracks getting the crowd to change dramatically from mosh pits to dance offs.

This of course all led up to the final act of the evening, the band everyone was there to see. The Redneck Manifesto took to the stage with Richie Egan already bouncing around with his bass ready to get right into things. A set made up mostly of their debut album ‘Friendship’, the six piece paid homage to a label that played such a big part in their lives. Richie Egan made sure to note how important the Richter Collective were to Ireland’s independent scene adding to the list of acts, fans, and anyone who had a part to play in Ireland’s music scene thanking Mick, Barry and Lewis for what they had started with the Richter Collective and what they had done for the Irish music scene.

The collective shows how things can be when you truly believe in what you’re doing. Though the door has closed for the collective, many see it as a chance of new beginnings for the boys and all the bands involved. With many more hoping others will step in and pick up where the collective left off.

They will be missed.

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