9 Years of Shameless/Limitless

Promoter Kevin Halpin on the antics of gig life

Words By Jonny Tiernan

Shameless/Limitless has a well deserved reputation for delivering impeccably curated lineups and the finest in a high quality indie shenanigans. 

Purveying a distinct certain slice of the musical spectrum, you know what to expect when you see the S/L name attached to a show: invariably good things. Kevin Halpin is the man behind the moniker, responsible for the idiosyncratic promotional stylings and on point tone.

Saturday December 9th marks nine years of gigs. We’re not sure how many shows there have been in total during that time, but we presume it’s a heckton. To celebrate the occasion there is a damn fine party taking place in Internet Explorer featuring a wonderful selection of DJ sets and inevitably large amounts of dancing. We shot Kevin a few questions to find out more about what the past nine years have brought forth.

What’s the best excuse someone has gave for cancelling a show?I’ll assume a generous use of “best excuse”, which is to say a literal one – I’d like to think that nobody’s been so crass as to try to pull the wool with any malarky.

Reasons for cancelling cut a wide swathe, from day of show injuries playing football with kids to cancelling tours on account of getting divorced to the rather unfortunate situation which best this very party that I’m ostensibly promoting here: wisdom teeth coming in fast and furious resulting in emergency dental surgery.

What has been the stupidest length you’ve went to to promote a show?Save for postering in the snow, flyering in the U-Bahn and compromising my friendships by way of ‘you’re coming or we’re done’ ultimatums, all my promo efforts have been above board and entirely dignified.

Is there a single word that you could use to sum up your experience of promoting in the past nine years? Stressfullness/Partyhardless

Is there a particular standout performance from the last nine years?Don’t make me pick favourites – they were all special in their own way. Except for the terrible ones.

Is there a moment where you thought to yourself ‘Fuck yeah Kevin, Great job’? Handsome Furs were the first ‘big’ (i.e. touring, with an agent, in the press) band that ever took a chance on working with me. The show brought with it an level of anticipation that I don’t think has been matched since. The payoff, though, was as sweet as I’ve ever experienced: a packed house, a sweaty show, and a strong desire to very much want to continue being a part of that kind of experience.

Was there a point where you felt like giving up? Why? Why not? Numerous, primarily related to the complete and utter lack of any kind of long term plan or vision or idea of where this is going. Why not? For now it’s cos the alternatives don’t seem appealing. In the future I imagine it might be because there aren’t any.

Did you have any sort of idea where you’d be in ten years? How close or far away are you? When I started, you mean? If I did, my 10 year vision definitely did not look anything like this. It’s funny, though – many of my goals have been achieved or even exceeded. Then again, those goals were hilariously modest, and clearly set by a person with zero background or experience in the game – getting backstage, riding in the van, being the merch dude etc.

Has there been a situation you found yourself in where you just thought ‘Wtf am I doing?!’ Yes, especially in the early days, when things were run in much more of a fast ‘n’ loose kind of manner. S/L was more of a collective around 2009 / 2010, and we would set up events in spots I wouldn’t even dream of trying to work at now: the abandoned Iraqi embassy to East Germany (the flyer advised that attendees wear solid footwear on account of the floor being littered with shattered glass and to mind the compromised / fire and flood damaged reality of the structure), that sunken ship in the spree (in which we set up a PA and bar inside the ship and ferried people over in inflatable rafts) , and in an empty field across from the Kopi squat (riot police turned up, which was in a sense a good thing, as the party was otherwise a significant bust). Those experiences, while fun to look back on, brought with them a level of stress which was simply not sustainable for doing this long term. Also, though: goddamn, those were times.

What are the ingredients of a perfect Shameless/Limitless lineup? Since the shows have generally stayed quite modest in size, a positive personal connection between artists, venue staff and show goers is an important aspect of a successful night. Beyond that, gnarly tunes, good ‘tudes, grand times.


9 Years S/L: Jaakko Eino Kalevi / Roy Molloy / TOPS / Linda Lee takes place at Internet Explorer on Saturday December 9, 23:00.