From 2012 to 2015 Poster Fish Promotions ran regular BYOB gigs at Seomra Spraoi, Dublin’s longest running autonomous social centre. The Seomra Sproai collective began in 2004 with the intention of setting up an autonomous social centre in Dublin. It was run by a non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist collective on a not-for-profit basis. From humble beginnings the collective occupied four different spaces, each bigger than the previous one and lasted for just over ten years.
Seomra had hosted occasional gigs, but later established itself as a leading BYOB gig venue on Dublin’s underground music scene when Poster Fish Promotions started running monthly bass driven gigs that stayed open much later than the pubs or nightclubs in the city. Bringing in the AudioTerrorist rig PFP hosted regular reggae, drum & bass, jungle, grime, afro-beat, electronic, punk and ska gigs in Seomra Spraoi covering the majority of the centre’s running costs. Both AudioTerrorists and Poster Fish Promotions were born out of strong anti-war and anti-government sentiments, DIY culture and activism. The Audio Terrorists, along with the Belfast based Force 10 Crew, organise the Jigs and Rigs Festival, a non-commercial not-for-profit music festival which encapsulates the ethos of leaving no trace. Poster Fish Promotions gigs at that time were raising funds for various activist campaigns, Travellers Rights campaigns, the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair, rabble magazine and Anti-Fascist Action. Both groups fitted in well with the ethos of the collective.
The nights were run on an entirely voluntary basis and were free of the curtailment of pub opening hours and door policies. There were no security or bouncers on the door, and none were ever needed. Great efforts were made to create a chilled out, safe and fun atmosphere. People coming to the space for the first time were, more often than not, struck by its uniqueness and inspired by its autonomous culture.
It’s hard to encapsulate just how brilliant some of these nights were so we’ve included a gallery of some of our posters and photos from that era.
Some of the highlights include Drum & Bass legend Naphta playing while briefly back in Ireland, Prince Kong and Lady Grew on New Year’s Eve 2012 and, of course, being one of the only gigs in Dublin on Good Friday was always a plus.
Who knows, maybe someday we’ll find the lost recordings of the Post-Rathlin-Jigs’n’Rigs-Gig which saw Zoid and Bill play techno with a trumpet, Alien Hand open a hardcore/gabba set with a Crass track, Canadian MC Alex Silas drop in and hop on the mic with Dr. Ed who went on to play a stomping afrobeat set. Jure Novak dropped in on his way back to the States to drop some Balkan Beats and the infamous Eomac played flawless techno. Zyme from Gamepak mixed things up with a ragga jungle set with a glitchy twist and !Kaboogie’s PCP premiered his AV set ‘Superhero Porn 2 – The Embigening’. . . And that’s just one of the many epic nights we had in Seomra Spraoi.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, in 2015 Seomra Spraoi finally closed its doors. The venue reopened as Jigsaw later in 2015 and it now operates as a gig venue. Unfortunately, we could no longer afford to host nights there, but we are glad that the music venue we helped establish has lived on and gone from strength to strength.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the djs and artists, door staff and graphic designers who worked for free with us over the years on a voluntary basis in order to sustain the Seomra Spraoi Collective and pay for the space it occupied.
Thanks to Kev Squires, Tom McDermot and Lisa Crowne for the poster designs.
Photos by Paul Reynolds and Freda Hughes