The Pub is Alive With the Sound of Music

Highlander Staff Reports

Alumnus Will McHale invites students to open their minds – and ears – to Dubstep at Mulligans Irish Pub in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Dubstep electronic dance music originated in England but made its way into the U.S. after Dubstep artists like Skream and Zinc started remixing popular radio hits by pop artists such as Britney Spears and Rihanna.

The bi-weekly musical event attracts a crowd to Mulligan’s for a new clash of drum and bass music. McHale recently changed the event’s name to “Heavy” as a way to attract a wide range of listeners who follow many types of electronic music.

“It all began by performing at house parties,” McHale said. “I also worked at Mulligan’s at the time it started and was able to work my way into starting my own event.”

McHale added other deejays to the event once word spread and crowds grew large. Casey Husted and Cheyne Kulessa now join McHale every other Wednesday at Mulligan’s.

“When I met Casey, he wasn’t playing out anywhere but I could tell he was passionate about music and that he wanted to do it,” McHale said of the new deejay. “He kind of jumped right into it. You’d think he’d been performing for years.”

McHale and the other deejays feel that they formed a “scene” with their Dubstep nights and encourage more people to come out and see what it’s all about before counting it out.

Kulessa is happy to be a part of the new musical scene and wants others to give it a chance instead of sticking with the same mainstream artists.

“Mulligan’s is a lot of fun. I don’t even care if many people show up. I’m just happy to be up in front of everyone hitting the play button,” he said.

The deejays say working at Mulligan’s can be a struggle at times because Dubstep is a new kind ‘of sound, and some people don’t understand it just yet, according to McHale who used to bartend at Mulligan’s.

“It’s not really Mulligan’s.  It’s just a general struggle in this area,” McHale said. “It’s difficult sometimes when the area you’re trying to entertain is essentially 15 years behind in things like fashion, music and ideologies.”

McHale said many in the Wyoming Valley still expect typical bands and old school songs from N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys. He encourages everyone to try something new, like their electronic sound.

“The Valley just seems very behind and doesn’t approach new age ideas like this with open arms.”

The deejays hope to play at different venues and events in the future.

“We are getting a lot of support from local groups and DJ’s like  Sector 1, a group of deejays that have been performing for 10 years or so,” McHale said. “They have more of an old school feel. At first they thought we were trying to compete with them, but they eventually learned that we were doing it for the experience and because we love what we do.”

Mulligan’s is the only area venue to feature Dubstep on a regular basis. Concerts are sometimes held at the Mohegan Sun Arena or Casino but, McHale said, those shows are more mainstream and well known with better known bands and artists.

“Besides the Arena, if a good artist comes through Wilkes-Barre and wants to perform but won’t necessarily sell out a huge venue like that, where do they go?”

McHale said artists need underground or smaller venues, but popular alternative venues like Cafe Metropolis didn’t last in this area. Other popular venues like Redwood Art Space and The Vintage Theater needed to relocate after not gaining enough support.

The deejays are grateful for their crowds, and they thank the supportive fans who come out to hear their music each week.

“It’s a small crowd, but they have a lot of heart.”

[email protected]