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Music / Rubberbandits

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Blindboy Boatclub (left) and Mr Chrome (right)
A comedy hip-hop duo, from Limerick, Ireland. They've been around since roughly 2000, and have a slight cult following in their native Limerick due to their self-published CDs and prank calls. They only really got big in 2010, when they were featured on RTÉ's Republic of Telly. Their hit "Horse Outside" was favourite to be the Irish Christmas Number 1, and was part of an Internet campaign to beat X Factor winner Matt Cardle to the spot, but eventually lost. They released an album, Serious About Men, the following year, featuring both their older songs and prank calls and some new tunes. They were regulars on the RTÉ sketch comedy show Republic of Telly, although after dressing up as Black and Tans during a live broadcast without telling anyone, their relationship with the broadcasting company became fraught. Their "Guide to Limerick" was a hit, as were some of other other songs and sketches, and they pursued a position at the UK Channel 4, with a pilot for a potential TV show being broadcast after they produced a series for the Comedy Blaps program of the channel. They had a sell-out standup show on the Edinburgh Fringe, Continental Fistfight, which has gone on tour. They've also worked with Russell Brand, MTV Iggy (prior to its demise) and one of them (Blind Boy) was featured on a Newsnight section about the Irish Marriage Referendum. Most recently, they provided commentary for ITV's Almost Impossible Game Show, and are soon to broadcast a one hour documentary about the 1916 Easter Rising.They were described by The Guardian as "The Daily Mail's nightmare of a feral underclass come to life" and "two terrifying Irish goblin-type creatures" by Broadway Baby.

They're basically a walking Memetic Mutation in Ireland, which is also where the bulk of their fanbase is. They have been well-received abroad, however, although mostly in areas with high amounts of Irish immigrants.

The Rubberbandits are also known for their hilarious prank calls, and for wearing plastic bags over their faces. And for using Limerick slang and speaking with stereotypical Limerick accents, which news outlets have felt the need to translate in the past, and for being stereotypical Limerick skangers.note  They also supposedly met at Gaelscoil, and are certainly very fluent. Their sketches and songs often juxtapose very unlikely concepts together: for example, "Spoiling Ivan" was a bubbly children's song by a pair of self-proclaimed "gangster rappers" about a completely innocuous friendship between Mr.Chrome and young boy called Ivan, and included a reference to Ivan's parents being heroin addicts.Their YouTube page can be found here, and the video for "Horse Outside" can be found here. Just be careful, it's not exactly safe for work due to multiple instances of bad language, flipping the bird, sexual innuendo, etc. They are also active on their Facebook and Twitter pages, both of which are a mix of promotional material and tickets information and bizarre posts, although the Facebook page has a higher concentration of animal photos.

The members are Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome, with Spin Southwest DJ Paul Webb as unofficial third member Willie O'DJ.

Tropes featured by Rubberbandits:

  • All There in the Manual: Their Channel Four comedy pilot and shorts give their backstory, introduces Blind Boy's grandad and features "Dog In A Cakeshop", which can't be heard anywhere else.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Their song "I Wanna Fight Your Father" was also released in Irish, and translated lyrics are occasionally completely different: rather than Blindboy floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, he's as strong as Cú Chulainn and as nimble as Fionn Mac Cumhaill. It also slips in a Shout-Out to "Tabhair Dom Do Lámh", and is arguably Hotter and Sexier than the English version.
    • Their normal speech, while more like an sub-dialect of Hiberno-English than a real language, is also pure Limerick, which means that some words unfamiliar to foreigners have more meaning.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The word 'fuck' is said 17 times in 'Horse Outside'.
    • 'Fellas' going WAY past that number.
    • They're also self-described "gas cunts", and describe their "movement" as "Gas Cuntism", which is awkward to explain to Americans.
  • Cool Horse: one of the focal points of "Horse Outside" is Blind Boy's horse, which apparently runs like Shergar. Given the Bandits' spurious 'ra connections, it could have been sired by him...
  • Cool Mask: They wear plastic bags over their faces. According to Continental Fistfight, it's to attract girls, because girls love shopping, and they look like shopping.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the video for "I Wanna Fight Your Father", Roisin's dad floors Blind Boy with one punch, then rips his arm off and clubs him with it repeatedly before walking away.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The entire song of "Too Many Gee". It crops up a little in "Spastic Hawk" as well.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Some of their earlier songs are a lot more rap/hip-hop focused, and generally a lot less "arty": some of their songs can only be found through YouTube uploads by people who bought their songs on CD back in the mid-2000s. Some of their prank calls are also kind of dubiously homophobic, whereas they were vocal about the Yes Referendum in 2015.
  • Flipping the Bird: The video for "Horse Outside" sees the Bandits flipping both the American and UK versions of the bird repeatedly.
  • Genius Ditz: Rubberbandits act like stereotypical Limerick skangers, which includes acting just a bit stupid. When 'Horse Outside' was released, and people began ringing up Live Line to complain about the song, Blindboy decided to join in the conversation. He rang in, and instead of acting stupid or joking like people expected him to, he demolished their arguments by closely analysing their own video from a cultural studies perspective. They also often comment on current events on Facebook and Twitter, and have revealed both insight and a familiarity with philosophical concepts. One member recently got his MA in the arts from LIT.
    • Their songs and videos also express this to some extent: don't be surprised if they make a joke about hash and existentialism in the same breath. Most recently, they did a video in which they explain how ISIS' ultra-violent decapitation videos does not register as real to Westerners as they exploit similar imagery and techniques as Western cinema as an attempt to attract European and American Muslim men, but instead the videos seem unreal as they appear in a similar context to film and television violence. The same video is couched in the idea that Blind Boy had a dream and it's Dane Bowers telling him this as he tiles his bathroom. Yes, It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context
    • Great example of this from their interview on The Late Late Show
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Inflicted by the father on the singer at the end of the clip for ‘I Wanna Fight Your Father’.
  • I Am the Band: Blindboy Boatclub writes the majority of the songs and makes the most public appearances, to the point where Mr. Chrome got A Day in the Limelight song when they were still with Channel 4. He runs their Twitter most of the time. And of course, he went solo with his tremendously successful podcast and books.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Blindboy argued in a TV interview that it was better to own a horse than a car, because 90% of car accidents are caused by people being scared of ghosts, and ghosts are scared of horses.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The Irish version of "I Wanna Fight your Father": trad backing track and as gaeilge, but the lyrics are about beating up a girl's dad.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Spastic Hawk
  • Refuge in Audacity: Many of their exploits fall under this, from calling up a radio show having taken "legal yips" during the short period in which Ecstasy, Magic Mushrooms and several other A-Class drugs were briefly legal in Ireland due to a bureaucratic Epic Fail, to ringing up Live Line to defend themselves against concerned citizens, to changing into Black and Tans uniforms in a country still very divided about The Troubles, to wandering Times Square looking for "hot American babes" to dance at one of their shows.
  • Stage Names: Blindboy Boatclub and Mr. Chrome, although they claim that those are their real names.
  • Translated Cover Version: "I Wanna Fight Your Father" and "Ba Mhaith Liom Bruíon le d'Athair" were released simultaneously. Rather than simply being a different vocal track, the two songs have different arrangements. The lyrics are also slightly different.
  • The Troubles: The subject of the song 'Up the Ra', which is a parody of armchair republicanism. IRA imagery and references also come up throughout their work, and it could be argued that much of their work deals with the problems facing the post-war generation and the failures of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Token Minority: The whole point of "Black Man". They're also something of this for ITV or Channel 4 when they work together, as they're working-class Limerick comedians in a primarily English middle-class department.