Summer Madness Pt. 2: Walking on Cars & Dermot Kennedy

Twice is Right?

Hold the phone, Seán, didn’t you JUST write a blog about seeing Walking on Cars? Yes, but cmon now, I hadn’t seen them in 4 years, missed many opportunities, and simply couldn’t resist the Dublin concert because of Oh Wonder. But a Cork concert? That’s my doorstep, I can go to something in Cork no bother like it’s a walk to the park, I may as well throw it in the mix too. I’ll run ya back a bit and see how we reached this point. Obviously, when I discovered the Dublin concert, I ended up on Walking on Cars’s Facebook page, and sure enough they had a post advertising all 3 of their concerts, Dublin 24th of June, Cork 26th of June, and Belfast a few weeks after (A bit out of reach and beyond my budget, so I opted not to go 3 for 3 on this one). I initially made my plans for the Dublin one straight away, and it was when I was telling some friends that I was gonna see them in Dublin that the suggestion we go see them in Cork came up. I figured why not, in for a penny in for a pound, so I decided to go for broke and buy into both of them. For this one I was planning to attend with my friends Jessica and Sonia.

Plans & Support Artist Announcement

With that said, I attended my Dublin concert on the Saturday, made the tedious journey back to Cork on Sunday, then went to work for a full day on Monday, finishing at 6:15. Then bombed it to Live at the Marquee in Cork for gates to open at 6:30. Despite two months of planning for the occasion, Jessica managed to miss the bus from West Cork and thus her spot at the SOLD OUT concert, and Sonia ran a bit late so my hopes of booking a front row spot in the crowd were unfortunately unsuccessful. I actually had a bit of a mission going into this concert, as when I had seen Walking on Cars in Dublin, at the end of the show they threw some guitar picks and drum-sticks out into the crowd, and I really hoped I could catch a hold of something like that from the Cork show. It was just about the best outcome I could think of for the evening if I could accomplish that much. We didn’t end up in too bad a spot though, about 4-5 rows of bodies away from stage. For this concert, the support wasn’t announced until quite near to the show, when it was revealed that Dermot Kennedy would be playing first. The name bore no recognition to me at the time, but he definitely has his merits as a solid Irish artist, with one of his songs ‘After Rain’ racking up over 27 million streams on Spotify, with his others in the multi-millions. You can check out a music video for that on Youtube here. I listened through to some of his music when it was announced and I was definitely impressed.

Dermot and the Great Big Tent

So there we were, in the great big tent, and Dermot came out to warm up the crowd that was steadily filling the place out. There was a shallow setting to the stage as a great big curtain split the front of the stage from the rest of it out the back. I at least knew from Dublin what mysterious set-up would be unveiled later on. Dermot had a live-band with him, and he started out by sitting down at a red piano and playing that while singing. His singing voice is amazing, with the much coveted depth that Ireland’s great singers seem to possess with ease. Lyrically, he’s a great story-teller as well, his words and his music painting pictures in the mind of the beholder. When he wasn’t playing his piano, he was up to the front of the stage with an acoustic guitar. I was thankful for the opportunity to discover yet more good music that this concert like many of the others before it gave me, adding further to my repertoire. I was certainly interested in my brief listening before the concert, but the show he put on at the concert solidified it for me. When he was finished, me and Sonia were eagerly waiting for Walking on Cars, when a familiar voice from behind caught our attention. Despite the crowd packing out heavier and heavier by this point, our friend Robin had not only realized we were here as well, but managed to find us and plow through the crowd to join us! The perks of him being tall. Thus our duo for the evening became a trio.

DK and band.png
Dermot Kennedy in center on Keys and with Acoustic Guitar respectively. Live band to left and right

WOC: Epic and Then Some

With the concert I witnessed over the weekend, I’d have been hard pressed to imagine them topping it with this one. But whatever it was about the filled out Marquee, that night’s show was absolutely unreal. The crowd was great for singing back to the band, and energy levels were through the roof. The light show was on point, Patrick’s pirouettes while playing his acoustic were perfect, and this time my phone hadn’t died before they came on so I could actually capture some little bits here and there. I captured most of what I could from the performance in the last blog post, and in terms of structure it remained pretty much the same. This time however I can elaborate on a couple of my points with some pictures that I captured at this show. Much like the show on Saturday, the light-screen kicked into action a couple of songs in when they played ‘Tick Tock’ with some magnificent clock-faces spiraling, which you can see in picture one. The second picture is a still from the awesome new song I am presuming to be called ‘Coldest Water’, featuring an intricately wavy pattern in bright blue colour on the back-lighting. And lastly I have a short video I took of the epic moment in another new song I mentioned from the Saturday concert they played where Patrick goes super high and hearing it live just sends chills down the spine. The quality isn’t amazing, but it’s one of the rare moments of music recordings on my phone where the song isn’t bass-heavy and therefore wasn’t completely destroyed for sound quality and you can somewhat hear what’s going on. It’s only 10 seconds long so definitely check it out.

Tick Tock
Patrick singing ‘Tick Tock’ with still of artwork behind. Also an idea of the platform set-up they had with Evan on drums high left and Sorcha on keys high right.
Coldest Water
Patrick kneeling for a moment as he passionately sings new song ‘Coldest Water’, intricate design behind, Sorcha up high on keys

With that out of the way, there’s not much more to say really. Didn’t pick up any merch at this one as I had already collected a good bit of it and was happy with what I had acquired. We departed the Marquee in the very slow exodus of many peoples leaving bottle-neck exit points, and it was pouring with rain outside. So yeah I guess that’s it, The End.

But Not The End!

Not even close. Firstly, I told you I had gone to that concert with a mission, to acquire an item thrown to the crowd such as a drum-stick. That did not happen, one landed about 3 people to the right of me and thus ended that ambition. However, what happened instead I can only say was so much better than I could have imagined or planned for, and would rank highly among some of the best nights I experienced this year. So we’re departing the venue and outside I happen to spot an old friend, so I say hey and we chat briefly. Said friend shares with me a low-key suspicion they had that there might be an after-party involving the band in town at the Old Oak. It’s late, and I have work in the morning, but I definitely had to check this out. I rock up and chill for a bit, as nothing seemed to be happening to that affect so far. It didn’t seem like too many people around were aware of the possibility so it wasn’t hugely packed, and I caught wind that it was a private after-party above the Old Oak in Cyprus Avenue that was taking place. Well, there went that plan, it was invite only to get in.

Still, I headed outside to where the entrance to Cyprus Avenue was, and the first thing I see is guitarist Dan Devane disappearing into the entrance past a bouncer after coming down to talk to a fan briefly. Curious to see if perhaps anyone else might pop down, given that it was fairly quiet out here, I hung about, and sure enough I spot bassist Paul Flannery come out the entrance. Eager at the opportunity to meet the fella, I patiently let him converse with another fan before taking the chance to approach when he seemed freed up. I gotta tell ya, the dude was so cool and down to earth and an absolute legend to chat away to. I was telling him all about the travels to both concerts, and seeing them play back in 2013 and how badly I had been wanting to see them over the last couple years. I was wearing their shirt and hoodie as well and he seemed pretty chuffed that I had gone to such lengths to see them twice in 2 days. After a proper good chat, he was about to head back up stairs, when he saw that I was looking to the entrance and he did just about the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. He looked at the bouncer, pointed a finger at me, then pointed his finger up the stairs to the after-party, and just like that I was coasting inside. My heart was going through the roof, I had actually just made it, I couldn’t believe it.

Inside the atmosphere was cool, people were chatting away, music was playing, the vibes were good. Paul brought me over to a spot with some decent lighting and nabbed a selfie with me and shook my hand before going off to chat to some other folks. I was elated beyond comprehension. I chilled out for a little bit, glancing about to see who might be about, when I spotted Dan Devane again heading out to the staircase. I was here now, may as well try and say hey right? I went out and greeted him on the stairs, and again just another really cool, sound fella. He copped really quickly that I had been to the Dublin concert when he said ‘I can actually tell you were at the Dublin concert, that hoodie you’re wearing was sold out up there and we didn’t have it to sell at the Cork show’. Bonus points for catching hot merch before it was gone, hell yeah! He talked about how unreal the Cork concert had gone and that he was glad I had come along to both. He let me take a selfie with him, and I hadn’t spotted the other members of the band above so I figured I’d straight up ask him ‘So I’ve met Paul, now I’ve met you. Don’t suppose anyone else is kicking about up there you could introduce me to?’. He told me that he wasn’t sure where Evan was, and Patrick was gone to bed (The amount of energy that man expels in a night on that stage, I wasn’t surprised), but that he was sure Sorcha was around somewhere. Cool as could be he turned right back into the inside area and goes up to a table where sure enough Paul and Sorcha are, taps them both and points over to me. The trio came over, and yet more epic interaction ensued. Sorcha was amazing, all hugs and everything and even went tugging at the merch I was wearing saying that they were so cool and she hadn’t seen the designs yet. I was in fanboy heaven. My phone was at like 5 percent battery, but they asked someone to take it to take a picture, and the 4 of us lined up and linked arms. Classic Paul the legend as he is, he started us off with that leg-kicky dance thing where you kick a leg out in one direction in unison, land it, turn and kick the other up, so there we were swaying like-so and having an awesome time as the photo-taker took a picture. The funny thing is you can’t really tell this from the photo as they took it from the waist up.

Paul and Me
What an absolute legend and character, Paul Flannery and me
Dan and Me
Super sound dude me and Dan Devane
The embodiment of pure joy. L-R Dan Devane, Paul Flannery, Me, Sorcha Durham

That just about concludes the absolutely amazing experience I had that night, by this point in time it was almost 3 AM and I had work in the morning so after having my fun it was time to go home to bed, but I’ll for sure be remembering that experience for a long time to come. I survived work the next day without a bother, my energy was proper boosted from the experience I had been through. All that leaves us with is the final of 3 concerts that took place on the Thursday then, it’s a right banger, find out all about it on Monday!

Author: The Merch Perch

Music enthusiast, Merch Collector, blogger of both worlds combined. Check it!

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