Well hello there
Greetings from the void folks, what a tumultuous year long month this January has been the world over, I hope ye have found personal comforts in your day to day lives that has seen you through to now alive and well. I hereby declare February the true beginning of 2020, lay to rest the trial mode that January has put us all through and let’s look forwards with bright eyes to this short and sweet month ahead. While I search within myself to rid my mind of the black hole that is sucking up any attempts at writing more blog posts for ye, I didn’t want to leave this space totally derelict so I’m starting somewhat of a Webzine series to at least keep you updated on a monthly basis.
My January hasn’t been all bad and I’ve definitely had some things go my way and keep my days bright. I got my second tattoo, a Luna Moth inspired piece that I’ve dedicated to Aurora, and I also got a small piece for Antiguan artist Au/Ra of the ” :): ” symbol too, from her song Stay Happy. If you haven’t heard already, I had the immense honour of being featured on Golden Plec (!!!) for the madness that was my 2019 where I accomplished my goal of attending 200 gigs in the year. It was such an amazing opportunity and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The process of that piece coming to exist included the rather terrifying but exhilarating experience of going around Cork City being shot by the incredibly talented lens of Shane J. Horan, my first photo-shoot of that nature and he certainly managed to make me look better than I ought to! Definitely go check that piece out here, it’s been heartwarming to see the reaction to the article so far from everyone it’s reached, including many of the musicians involved along the way, and I even got recognized by a stranger in public for it! Linky link clicky click!
So I’ve been thinking about that whole 200 gigs ordeal and how incredible a year of experiences it was, even if I failed miserably in translating any of that to blog posts for ye to read about. I’m fresh and energized going into this year and I’m totally ready to challenge that figure. I’ll let ye in on something. My count for 2019 could totally have been closer to something like 210 or more, but I let a couple things go unchecked in the year that I wont be letting fall through the cracks this time around. There’s two things I bizarrely didn’t even include in my count. 1: Stand-Up Comedy nights. and 2: Battle Rap Events. I don’t know about you but spending 2-3 hours in a room (upwards of 5-6-7 hours in a room for the battle rap events!) watching a bunch of performers do their thing sounds good enough for gig criteria to me. I didn’t start last year with a goal, that only came to exist after already going to gigs nonstop for 7 months anyway. This year I’m thinking I can challenge for 250. At the end of the day I’m just doing what I love and whatever I hit is a win, but that seems like a nice respectable figure.
January in Gigs
Dry January to everyone else: Abstaining from alcohol for a month for health benefits or otherwise.
Dry January to me, a gig-goer: The woefully quiet time at the beginning of a new year when the gig schedule of every musician you love is significantly barer than in any other month of the year.
I never go into a January with very high hopes for that reason, but I must say it’s been a rather good month nonetheless, even if still the tip of the ice berg for what the rest of the year should bring to my plate. I end the month on a very respectable note of 18 gigs attended, just shy of the average I’ll need to hit 250 but definitely in prime position to carry on strongly. January also sees a total of 3 trips to Dublin to sate the appetite for gigs.
The year started out in the best possible fashion it could, with a local performance from my favourite discovery of 2019, Julianne Quirke in Gallaghers pub. The following day I intended to see her again in Brú Bar, but due to illness I instead saw the equally commendable Gerald Ahern with a solo set. The first big gig came in the form of a trip up to Dublin after work on the 4th to Whelan’s where my friends had organized a wonderful charity gig for the Irish Cancer Society, arranging a surprise headline from Saarloos, and a tasty line-up including Emily 7, Saint Sapphire, Pádraig and Lewis Kelly. For me Saint Sapphire ended up being the dark horse pick that surprised me most, for sure earning a new fan in myself.
I saw myself back from Dublin to bed sometime after 5 AM, only to prise myself out from the covers before noon on a Sunday of all days! With good reason though, for I had to see my favourite Sarah-Beth do a wonderful midday show at Crawford Art Gallery. I went home to bed immediately after, only to once again drag myself out in the evening to see Jen Ella at the Roundy… With support from Sarah-Beth. One could be forgiven for thinking after this I would go home to retire, but the night was not yet done and I popped along to the Old Oak to finally see Gerald Ahern’s cover band the Midnight Sons perform, finishing my trio of gigs for the day.
The Brú saw my face a couple more times during the next week as I popped by to see Peadar O Callaghan and Leo Mullane both play lovely sets. On the 11th I went under the needle for 3 and a half hours and emerged with my latest tattoos, immediately hitting the Air Coach to Dublin to see the exciting hip hop duo Wax White in action at an event ran by Fluttertone who are putting on top class gigs regularly in Dublin. As expected they pure owned the stage in the Workman’s, but I was very highly impressed by the man of the evening Craig Cooney whose headline it was and would definitely eagerly check him out again for sure.
Back to the Brú on the 16th I finally got to see Dan O Keeffe again after over half a year without the opportunity to see him in action. Following on from that I saw one of Cork’s most exciting bands around, The Flavours, completely dominate the Crane Lane. Closing out the weekend on the 19th was one of the gigs I was most looking forward to for the month, the incredible Luunah (Sarah-Beth’s band) making their magical Coughlan’s debut, support on the evening coming from Cat Reynolds who, despite being worse for wear health-wise, put in a stoic performance to open the night up.
On the 21st I spent yet another evening in the presence of Gerald Ahern at the Brú (He’s great ok), then on the 23rd I went to see one of the most exciting Wedding Bands on the scene – The Old Moderns in Rearden’s. The 24th was the Brú again, though for something different as I finally got to witness the near mythical Irish hip-hop legend Rob Kelly show us how it’s done. The 25th was the best day of January, possibly of 2020 as a whole, when I was joined by my best friend Kathryn and some of our favourite musicians in my living room for a special evening of music, drinks and Harry Potter. Could never praise or thank Darce, Blakkheart and Actor Actor enough for being such legends to take part in such an evening with us.
Closing out the month I attended my first comedy evening of 2020 for Comedy Cavern’s Comedian of the Year final in Coughlan’s. Going into it my favourite to win it was Roger O Sullivan based on previous experiences seeing him live. All the acts on the evening smashed it and I was most pleasantly surprised by Galway’s Ian Burke who I thought may potentially sneak a win on the evening. In the end Roger showed out and took a well earned and hard fought win, followed in second place by the amazing Matthew Talon. Finally, one more trip up to Dublin to The Wild Duck to see Fade To Light launch their new single ‘If This is Love” on January 31st. I was really keen for this one because it had been a staggering year and a half since I had managed to make it to see them live and they were sorely missed in my gig schedule. With work back in Cork early in the morning, gigs of this nature really need to be worth the trip and boy did the lads bountifully provide with a stellar performance. Support on the night came from FTL Frontman Jeremiah’s daughter Ava McKechnie who showed there’s surely some magic coursing through the bloodline, and also from Warped Minds who played a belter of a set and have me eagerly anticipating their upcoming EP release. I can already tell February is set to be a scorcher of a month with some exciting plans ahead, I’ve my first gig abroad of the year to look forward to in February, so keep posted for the next issue!
Music Release Corner
On top of the above mentioned “If This Is Love”, January was a great month for music releases with much to digest and plug into your ear holes, so here’s some of my picks for you to check out!
Brand New Friend head-up their EP dropping in February with two glorious Singles this month, releasing both Nothing Remains The Same and Stop The Days
Cork band Rowan feature prominently in my recent listening cycle with another class tune, Finish Line
My personal favourites Luunah knock it out the park with latest offering These Roads
Stolen City enter the charts at number 1 with newest single The Tower
Inhaler continue their increasingly rapid rise to stardom with We Have To Move On
Cork artist Ghostking Is Dead offers up new release Palm Tree
Ryan McMullan kills it again with Ruthless Cupid
Cork’s John Blek comes in with a Folk entry ahead of his upcoming album with Revived
Kodaline wows us again with Wherever You Are
The Clockworks remind me of many a night spent in Stansted Airport before flying home in new release Stranded in Stansted
Picture This follow on from their second acclaimed album with latest single Winona Ryder
The Coronas begin a new era after the departure of Dave with Haunted
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