Greetings peoples! Sorry I’ve been away, had a lot happening over the last two months, hopefully I’m back now. In short, I’ve moved house, started a new job, spent a month living on a floor, been attending more gigs and concerts to write about in the near future, and then procrastinated a bit before finally getting back to this. Just to quickly address the last blog I wrote before this about EDEN, I spoke of wondering if EDEN himself might have actually read the blog after the reaction to the first part. Well, to my amazement, he revealed to me shortly after posting the second part that he had in fact read both, so I mean that’s kinda #BlogGoals right there, I was really happy about that.
So, let’s get into it! I want to continue this on with some of the smaller, more intimate gigs I’ve been to and come away with Merch from, so we’re going back to the Summer of 2016 for this one. It was pretty much the same time of year as now, the cusp of June and August, when weekly music sessions began to take place in a venue in Skibbereen, West Cork, called The Eldon Hotel. The driving force behind all this was local musician Paulie Fahy of ‘My Secret Collective’. Paulie set out with an ambitious undertaking: Collecting 12 promising artists from all around Ireland, and bringing them to West Cork week by week to showcase them for an evening of entertainment and general fun. And indeed, ambitious as it was, the whole endeavor was quite successful and brought some interesting variety of artists to the local spotlight. I personally made my way to three of these sessions and had a wonderful ol’ time, so I’ll detail them to the best of my recollection here.
Lily Connell Bass
The first of these I went to was actually for a close friend of mine, and is more of a talent to look out for in years to come as she is currently studying music in college and has yet to put something out into the world. That being said, if the night were to be considered an indication of things to come, then I would certainly be expecting to see her name circulating in the far reaches of the land and perhaps beyond some day. Brandishing her acoustic guitar and with great vocal prowess, Lily took to the stage and brushed aside any first-gig nerves that may have been present with a stunning performance. Joining her at times with his guitar was Matthew McCarthy, hailed by many in Skibbereen to be one of the most promising young guitarist talents coming out of the region, and some collaborative backing vocals from Paulie Fahy himself. With her unique renditions of a set of great songs ranging from Mr Brightside by the Killers to Zombie by the Cranberries, needless to say those who were in attendance were highly impressed with her abilities. Naturally there was no merch to obtain, but nonetheless it was a brilliant night. Towards the latter end of the evening, things took an interesting twist, as in a surprise turn of events one of the bar staff of the Eldon Hotel by the name of Cillian took to the stage, nabbed an acoustic guitar for himself, and belted out a few tunes in quite impressive fashion. Such is the artistic nature of West Cork, there are many talented musical gems hidden away in every nook and cranny that can turn around and surprise you at the drop of a hat.
This next one I attended upon recommendation from a friend, and had absolutely no idea what to expect. Another West Cork native, Fintan had already at this point begun to establish himself, with an EP in existence and the assurance of much more to come. A lad of a similar age to myself, Fintan blew me away when he began to play. With his acoustic guitar, every bit of his own unique style permeated through the sound he was producing, utilizing his guitar to also add an impressive emphasis on percussion to his music. Vocally, Fintan showcases abilities beyond his years, employing an almost rap-like approach to his powerful singing at times. His set for the night was a mix of his original songs with a few covers spread throughout. Truth be told, I don’t have a strong enough musical ear to accurately represent the depth of what was going on with the music that Fintan makes, but it’s safe to say that I’d highly recommend it and he’ll be going far. His EP is available on most streaming platforms, and he’s also put out some music videos. On the night itself, I gladly picked up his EP in disk form to add to my collection. On a last interesting note, with my interest in vinyls, I was quite jealous to see on Instagram that recently Fintan celebrated a birthday and received an amazing gift of his EP pressed onto Vinyl. Suffice to say that was definitely a really cool present to get.
Benzo, Trigger & Support
Finally, the biggest evening I experienced of the Collective Sessions was definitely when Cork/Irish Hip-Hop artist Trigger and his entourage were brought out to Skibbereen for a show. If asked before the night in question about Irish Hip-Hop, I’d have shrugged and said I know absolutely nothing about it, so the evening certainly served as a fitting introduction. But first things first, before Trigger or his fellow artists were to take the stage, there was a local artist to open up the evening, Benzo. Prior to this event, Benzo had been making waves locally with his Rapping, quickly racking up a large repertoire and improving his skills rapidly over a short period of time. Posting regularly on Facebook and other social media, Benzo had been building a name for himself with the tracks he put out, from producing great beats to spitting his bars over them. With elements of old school rap and hip-hop oozing through his sound, he was on a mission to prove his abilities and show that he meant business. Opening on the evening for Trigger was to be his big live debut, and it did not disappoint. Benzo owned the stage, delivering a performance that solidified his emergence into the scene and also importantly proved that he was just as good as a live-artist as he was on recording. Benzo signed with the label Money on Demand Entertainment, and recently released his mixtape called ‘Diazepene’. Link will be at the end
With Benzo’s set finished, the second portion of the evening began. Trigger was not the only Irish Hip-Hop artist to come all the way out to Skibbereen for the evening, as he had also brought along some of his mates. Anthony Jackson, and Darragh Ryan both had their turn on the stage, putting on amazing performances and showing a portion of the depth and variety of talent that could be found in the Irish Hip Hop scene. I remember talking to Anthony afterwards and he was a proper genuine lad who was enjoying what he was doing and proud to be representing the scene and bringing more attention to it. Trigger then took to the stage and put on a brilliant show, the honesty of hardships and struggles seeping through his tracks. Joining him on stage at times to provide an acoustic track and backing vocals/chorus vocals was Dylan Brickley. Dylan is a talented musician in his own right, mostly known for his busking, and most recently won 1st place for best solo at a busking festival, earning him a spot on the line-up for none other than the brilliant Indiependence Festival next year. One thing that Trigger touched on that rang incredibly true and deep was the topic of suicide. He spoke honestly and openly of a fellow artist and friend named Corey, or better known as ‘Basic’, who himself had commit suicide. In a year that locally had been hit really hard by suicide, there wasn’t a single person there that Triggers words didn’t ring true with. Trigger dedicated a lot of his work in tribute to the memory of Basic, and continues to carry his legacy with him, and he also played Basic’s only recorded song ‘Act This Way’. Trigger had an album out at the time called ‘Triggernometry’ which I picked up for myself after the show.
When Triggers set was finished, the night was not yet over. Benzo, Darragh, Anthony and Trigger all took to the stage and started a bit of a Cypher, freestyling over beats and each having a go or few to spit some bars. When I thought things couldn’t get any better, Trigger then asked if anyone in the crowd of people there could rap. I was sitting at a table with my friends, and we all turned towards my friend Josh. He’d recently been telling us that he was gonna be making rap music in the future, and even had some songs written. He hid in the corner but we pointed him out and Trigger told him to come up on stage and spit some bars with them. What happened next was brilliant though, as for a moment Josh hesitated then realizing he probably wouldn’t get out of it now, confidently stormed his way up to the stage and was handed a mic. They started up the beat, and we watched in anticipation. Josh absolutely nailed it, much to the surprise of the crowd and Trigger himself, earning quite the loud reaction from the crowd. An immensely fun time was had all round, and Josh even put in a second round of bars when they continued to Cypher some more.
That’s all for now folks! Glad to be back, I’ll be keeping at this I promise. Keep tuned for my next post, which will be a part 2 about Trigger as he recently launched his second album. And remember, keep on merching.
Fintan McKahey: Website
Oh and shoutouts to Mihaela on her birthday as this gets posted for all the support and stuff