U2 Launch Label With Late-Night Bacchanal

Irish-superstar rock-band marks start of own dance-music label, Kitchen Recordings, with party at dance club.

Irish rock-superstars U2 celebrated the launch of their dance-music label, Kitchen Recordings, in Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday night with a raucous party that stretched into the wee hours of Friday morning.

The event was held at the Kitchen, a dance club owned by the members of U2 and located in the basement of the Clarence Hotel. Dublin techno-artist Rob Rowland -- whose just-released, 12" techno EP, Ground Zero, is to be the label's first effort -- entertained as the gathering celebrated Kitchen Recordings' goal of uncovering emerging dance-artists.

Jammed to capacity, the launch party was a smashing success, according to club-manager Richard Mooney. "I think it went down really well," he said. "There was a great, celebratory atmosphere and people were loving it, really dancing a lot."

Kitchen bar-manager Alan Martin said that, beyond 600 hard-partying invitees crammed into the club, a selection of 200 VIPs -- including U2 singer Bono (born Paul Hewson) and guitarist the Edge (born David Evans) -- held their own celebration in a cordoned-off area of the night spot.

"It was packed with local dance-luminaries and celebrities," Martin said of the VIP section.

With both Bono and the Edge looking on, Mooney said, Rowland played a frantic, 45-minute set of techno-rock that featured the artist on keyboards and computer consoles and also included a DJ and other live musicians. Also performing at the launch party were Irish techno-act Basic.

According to Mooney, Reggie Manuel -- a friend of Bono and the Edge -- will oversee Kitchen Recordings' day-to-day operations. The label primarily will concentrate on vinyl, DJ-style releases of up-and-coming techno- and dance-artists from both Ireland and continental Europe.

While the members of U2 are not actually overseeing the label's daily business, both Bono and the Edge are expected to act as itinerant scouts. According to a report in Britain's New Musical Express, Kitchen Recordings also is expected to get some assistance from the staff of U2 production-collaborator Howie B's Pussyfoot label.

U2, who experimented heavily with techno sounds on songs such as "Discotheque" (RealAudio excerpt) from 1997's Pop album, recently released a greatest hits album, entitled U2: The Best of 1980-1990, featuring a re-recorded version of the B-side, "Sweetest Thing" (RealAudio excerpt).