Alrighty then, let’s do this! With the publishing of my blog post about Hermitage Green and Stephanie Rainey on Thursday, I finally hit a point in my schedule where I was up to date (More or less) on my backlog of gigs and concerts. This means the events in this blog post only took place on Friday the 13th of October and are pretty darn fresh! What went down, then? Donegal band Little Hours is where it’s at for this one. Little Hours have featured on my blog before actually, when I saw them twice earlier in the year playing in Cork and West Cork with support from Stephanie Rainey. You can read that blog post here, it’s one I really enjoyed doing at the time. Some things have changed since last I saw them though. Perhaps one of the biggest things is that their show at Electric Picnic, which was fantastic from what I’ve heard, was the last performance as a member of Little Hours for Ryan Mc Closkey before he parted ways with the band. So who did they pick up? If you read my blog post not too long ago about Tiz McNamara, then you may remember Kevin Herron the guitarist playing for him. Well Kevin is the new recruit to join their ranks! A Donegal native himself, with Little Hours being a band that likes to keep everything tight knit in that department (They have their own guitar tech fellow they bring along from Donegal as well), Kevin has settled in quite nicely into their system.
Too Much Patience
Little Hours recently launched their long-anticipated follow up to their self-titled debut in the form of a 5 track EP called ‘Too Much Patience’. The title coming from a line with those lyrics in the band’s flagship song of 2017 ‘How Could I Love You’ which has been getting them mad props all over the place and performing astoundingly as a single. Along with that song and their previous hit single ‘Water’, Too Much Patience also contains the songs ‘Later On’, ‘Call Somebody’ and ‘Losing Light’. The EP showcases some of Little Hours finest work to date, with their incredible song-writing and the evocative lyrical prowess of front-man John Doherty shining through each song. I pre-ordered mine online before it came out to get a signed copy, opting to use Bandcamp’s pay as you wish option to buy the EP for double it’s price just as a show of support. That arrived quite promptly after the release date of the EP, and now sits along-side it’s distant brother in the form of their previous EP in my collection. Hitting off their tour with the release of the EP, including a show in London for which Stephanie Rainey was support, the band poured their everything into a campaign to push their new release into the Number 1 spot on the charts and achieve their ultimate goal. With a sweeping campaign across social media and articles aiming to get their County of Donegal and the rest of Ireland behind them, they quickly rose through the charts. On the day leading into the Cork show at Triskel Christchurch, the EP landed in the number 1 spot on the charts, sitting cosy among formidable opposition in the form of Liam Gallagher, Picture This, Ed Sheeran, Now That’s What I Call Music and The Script to name but a few. So congratulations to the lads, ye did it!
Merch Haul Part One
Before the gig, I had been searching for some indication as to who might be supporting the show, but I came up short finding nothing promoted. It wasn’t until I was inside the venue itself that I finally discovered who they had brought along to support. Entering among the first few in a large queue trailing away from the entrance, I spotted the merch counter over to my right, which had a large chunk of it dedicated to the support artist ‘Pat Dam Smyth’. There looked to be some interesting stuff there, with a selection of Tote Bags, Shirts, and an EP on 10″ Vinyl available. Upon saying to a fellow on my side of the counter ‘So that’s the support artist then, been wondering who it’d be’, he turned to me and confirmed it, also revealing himself to be the very fellow in question. He seemed pretty cool and down to earth, so I wished him luck and shimmied over to the Little Hours section of the table, picking myself up a Shirt, an EP cover print and a Little Hours Sticker. Thankfully, after picking that stuff up, I still managed to get a front row seat in the church setting, and waited for the evening to begin.
Pat Dam Smyth & Merch Haul Part Two
Without much further ado, Pat came onto the stage with his acoustic guitar and tonnes of wit to kick things off. He was pegging his recently released EP ‘Goodbye Berlin’ on the evening, playing the tunes from it among others in his set. The setting seemed to suit his music perfectly, as the large open space of the church carried his booming vocals and melodic tunes brilliantly, making for a great show. Speaking at length between tracks, the performance felt personal and intimate, and shone a light into the origins and depths of his music. With stories too crazy and fun not to be true, he certainly had much to draw from in his experiences. Hailing from the borderlands of Northern Ireland, with Greek roots, Pat shared a tale about a Punk Rock band he was in for about 5-6 of his teenage years, recalling a particularly riveting experience of theirs that inspired one of his songs. They had packed out their town hall one evening, all their friends and their parents etc. filling out the place to see them play. A couple songs in they looked up after playing and the entire place had emptied out. Spinning the weave of this story brilliantly, he made it out like they had managed to drive everyone away with their music and were contemplating their future in that moment. The twist came in the form of an armed policeman evacuating the premises – There was a bomb outside the building, and the band were torn in the moment with fleeting indecision, all their equipment and gear was there, like captains of a sinking ship they almost didn’t want to leave it behind. Leave they did, though, and thankfully the boom never came.
When he finished his final song, I was quick to leave my seat and return to the merch counter, where I depleted the rest of my wallet’s funds on his T-Shirt, Vinyl EP & Tote bag combo. It was a double win because I genuinely needed a bag in that moment to hold all my stuff I had at that point. I caught up with Pat once more when he was off stage to say that I had enjoyed the performance and picked up his stuff in support, for which he was thrilled.
After Pat Dam Smyth, the main event for the evening Little Hours took to the stage. They opened with the song ‘Tired’ from their first EP, gradually warming the audience into the show. For John, the notion of drinking cans in a church proved too funny a prospect to pass up on, making a few quips at the absurdity of it to get the crowd laughing. Having waited about half a year to see them again, it was so good to be back in front of Little Hours doing their thing. They powered through a brilliant set that included music from the new EP, new and old unreleased songs, and a particularly moving cover of a Tom Petty song in light of his recent passing. About mid-way through the evening John was introducing the new face in the band, and even as I was whooping for Kevin before John had even finished his sentence, so too was a decent portion of the rest of the audience who were also in the know. Seems he has a bit of a fan-base of his own. Once they came to the end of their set, with air quotes used as they played their “Last song”, one might expect them to slowly depart the stage to shouts of ‘One More Tune’ and then the inevitable re-emergence. What actually transpired is they finished the last song, didn’t move and said ‘We’ll play one more then’. Given the church setting, they decided to strip it back to no mics, walk into the center of the aisle down the middle and perform an acoustic version of their song ‘Embers’ from their debut EP. It was a fantastic gig all-round and they couldn’t have closed it any better with that acoustic performance, so mad props to the lads.
With the show finished, John Doherty of Little Hours was sticking around to meet fans and sign stuff over by the merch stand. I queued up, and person after person after person ahead of my presented John with their copy of ‘Too Much Patience’ to have it signed and take a picture with him. He wasn’t expecting what I rocked up with. Since I already have Too Much Patience signed, I brought in the relic that is the self-titled EP, asking him to sign that instead so that they could match. He was certainly taken aback at the blast from the past, taking extra care when signing it which was cool. I grabbed a photo with him, and moved on. I saw Pat Dam Smyth was still hanging about chatting to folks, so I donned my newly acquired shirt of his and sauntered over to chat for a bit. I got a photo with him and we had some very interesting conversations about the inspirations behind his merch. The first thing that caught me was the really cool skeletal unicorn design on the shirt, so I asked about it and he was delighted to provide some insight on it. He had actually come across the image when searching for a unicorn type artwork that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and closer fitted his imagined idea, and this one had been perfect. The original was made by an artist from DeviantArt who goes by the name of Jordasaur. When it comes to the shirts and the Tote bags, Pat further explained that they are all hand printed by his girlfriend Heather Mae Jones. Heather has recently opened a studio where she does the printing to exceptionally high standard and quality called Navarino Studios I recommend checking that out for sure, the shirt I got is brilliant quality and she’s done a fantastic job with it. Another person in the conversation quite rightly pointed out that he should probably marry this woman who had printed a few hundred shirts and bags for him. He had a video on hand of the process being performed which was really cool to see, adding a whole new level of authenticity to the items which I had collected for myself when I could see the entirety of the process of it’s making. All in all, Pat is such a genuine fellow to talk to and it was a pleasure to make his acquaintance. I hope the opportunity wont be long presenting itself to catch him again. When I got home, his vinyl was straight on for a spin, which was an amazing listen. Highly recommend checking out on Spotify or some such streaming service. You can check out a music video for the first track on the EP below. That’s all for this time, and remember folks, keep on Merchin’!