The Merch Perch 2017 Wrap Up

Crunching Some Numbers

Alrighty then, here we are. 2017 is over, what a time it was, and 2018 lays it’s bricks ahead of us now. 2017 was certainly a very mixed bag in the overall world outlook, but for me personally I had a good year of it, well beyond what I would have imagined at the start of the year. Firstly I’d like to personally thank anyone and everyone who has read the blog or supported me in this little endeavor of mine along the way, it’s been great. In this year I’ve seen my general interest in live music events and purchasing of items at them reach entirely new and unprecedented levels for myself. I’ve crunched some of the numbers and they alone say a lot about the crazy year it’s been. January 1st, I owned a mere 2 vinyl records. February 11th, I owned a record player. By February 15th, I was up to 6 vinyls, and am now sitting on a comfortable 24 records, with a guaranteed 6 more expected from various 2017 pre-orders, and plenty more to come along the path I’m sure. With CD’s, I started the year at 8, and on May 22nd when I made my first blog post I shared a picture with my collection of 12. Now I own 38, and only got a CD player to finally be able to play them on December 25th. And finally, I had about 6 or 7 merch shirts coming into 2017, which now sits at a cool 32 shirts. Estimated Expenditure: All of the Money’s. Worth it. I also already have at least 15 gigs, concerts and live shows planned so far for 2018 too, with plenty more likely to add to the ranks as time goes on.

I’ve put out 37 Blog Posts since May 22, reaching 1,685 hits across the board. Originally leading the way since it was published was my first post about The Elation, at 72 views, however my second EDEN post over the summer hit a resurgence in drawing views in from people searching for EDEN when he was announcing new content and the likes, leaving it sitting at a cool 95 views now.

Top Ten Events 2017

Sure, it’s a 2017 wrap up and I can quote as many numbers as I like, but this year was a whole lot more than just some figures. It was magical moments, good times and plenty of unexpected amazing occurrences along the way. I put out a post on Facebook asking if there was anything people would like to see for this part, and Benzo (Of 2016 Collective Sessions) requested a top 10 events. I’m thankful he said 10 and not like just 5, because that’d be far too difficult. Hell, at 10 events, I’m still leaving out plenty of events that were simply amazing. Notably to me when I came up with this list is that Greenday didn’t make the cut. The single biggest concert I attended in the year couldn’t even break top 10, and that alone is a testament to what a year it’s been. Greenday was unreal, and I spent it with some wonderful people, but this year I’ve been enjoying a lot of the smaller things, of looking inwardly at our nation and discovering the talents bustling through the heart of the Irish music scene, and a lot of that has just hit harder and more personally to me. So without further ado, my rough attempt at listing my top 10 is as follows, though many spots could be interchangeable.

1. Hermitage Green & Stephanie Rainey – Ok I’m going to cheat here a little and say both the Dublin and Cork edition of this for this slot, because I didn’t want to clog up multiple spaces in a hard-fought list with fairly identical entries. The Dublin concert though was one of the most magical concert experiences I have lived, it was simply amazing. Everything about the experience, both in and outside of the concert and the company I spent it in was honestly perfect. When it came to the Cork show, the same magic was just as present for the most part, and I also spent that in great company. The biggest difference in the Cork show is I actually got to meet the entire Hermitage Green band after the show, which was just unreal. Speaking of, why no blog post yet? I was waiting for my Vinyl pre-order of Gold & Rust, the EP they put out and they were touring for. However I’m informed there is much delay in the pressing of this vinyl, so I’ll likely get around to this post soon after my backlog instead. This listing wouldn’t be complete without Stephanie Rainey in there either, having caught a total of 7 gigs with her and the band, I have been very much loving each and every one of those events!

2. Oh Wonder & Loah – I mean, this one is fairly self explanatory. Getting to see one of my top 3 Artists/Bands play such a special show, and the circumstances around it with the great people I got to spend it with, and the extra lengths we went to make it one to remember (The custom dolls and meeting Anthony and Josephine and getting to give them my gift etc. simply amazing). Discovering Loah through it was a great bonus as well, and going on to see her again afterwards proved to be very much worth it

3. Walking on Cars & Dermot Kennedy – I’ve seen Walking on Cars 3 times this year, so it’s a really tough call to choose this one. The first time with Oh Wonder was nothing short of amazing, the third and most recent time with The Academic was also a brilliant lead-up to my Christmas, but for this I’m going to choose the second one, because on top of a great display from Dermot Kennedy and from Walking on Cars, there was the fact that I got to meet 3 members of Walking on Cars too, and not much will top that experience.

4. Sounds From a Safe Harbour – I mean, it was obvious this was going to make the list. It was a truly unique and amazing experience, and the take-aways from it in terms of artists I follow and listen to is continuously having an impact on me and I keep coming back to it as following events see the same artists of that weekend crop up again and shall continue to do so into the new year.

5. The Elation & Mechner & Generic People – Three shows from The Elation so far under my belt, and I’ve had an amazing time at each of them, with them all having their own brilliant moments to come back to. But I have to return to the original event I attended for a placing in this list, because on top of an epic display from The Elation, as an overall across the board event with Mechner and Generic People it was a fantastic evening of music.

6. Imelda May & Sorcha Richardson – As highlighted above, the continuous returns from SFASH had a great impact, and I got to see Sorcha Richardson put on another amazing performance, and then see a wonderful show from Imelda May and properly re-immerse myself into her music after listening to her many years back.

7. Little Hours & Pat Dam Smyth – Little Hours touring with Stephanie Rainey is pretty much how my 2017 of music started, and I have loved following both parties every since. Catching Little Hours on their return to Cork in the Triskel Christchurch turned that experience up a notch and was a very special show. Pat Dam Smyth was also a fantastic discovery through this event, and was a great fellow to meet as well as John Doherty of Little Hours.

8. King Kong Company & R.S.A.G. – I mean, if you go to a King Kong Company show and they haven’t already qualified for a position in your top ten events, you’re either lucky enough to have been to a special caliber of events above and beyond in the year, or you’re not doing something right. KKC put on an absolute banger of an evening, and it was also great to catch R.S.A.G. again – Shouts again to SFASH for that one.

9. Too Many Zooz & Jay Ronic – This was just such a wonderful way to end an evening that was already packed with superb events, and I was so happy for the opportunity to catch an act like Too Many Zooz come from New York to Cork (Via an EU Tour route, but still). And I got to discover Jay Ronic too, who looks to be moving from strength to strength right now.

10. Ailbhe Reddy & LAOISE – This event is the perfect example of how it doesn’t take a jam packed venue to have an awesome time. It was an evening more on the intimate side, but I can’t be thankful enough to have the music of Ailbhe and LAOISE being a part of my listening regime ever since, simply stellar stuff. I mean, if you’ve read the blog post, I couldn’t hold back the torrent of praise that I had for these artists when writing – It was probably one of my favourite pieces to write in terms of trying to accurately convey the impact it had.

TMP Top 5 One’s to Watch for 2018

I’ve had an amazing year dipping my toes into the Irish music scene and discovered a plethora of phenomenally talented musicians. I still feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface, but of what I have come across I can at least comment that the music scene is bustling with so much brilliance right now and I’m very happy to see it and be following it. There are a lot of artists at varying levels of exposure that I’ve discovered, and I’m following a great deal of them intently, but I wanted to try and select out 5 that I have particularly high hopes for in 2018 to have a fantastic year.

LAOISE LAOISE has had an incredible year and gone from strength to strength. She put out the EP ‘Halfway’, and followed up with yet more music in the form of single ‘Rich’. She’s put out some incredible music videos and opened up in a compelling way about body confidence in the process and been a compelling advocate on the topic. Seeing her live, she showcased some of the most incredible vocal proficiency that I’ve heard all year and I am well and truly hooked up to see what she comes out with moving forward.

Maria Kelly Another discovery from SFASH, Maria Kelly also released both an EP ‘The Things I Should’ and another new song ‘Hollow’ following afterwards this year. She bravely fought and broke through the barriers of anxiety in the making of the the music video for ‘Far Below’. I was perusing Instagram on New Years Eve, and she made a slideshow-style look back at the year she’s had through her Instagram story, and it was a brilliant lengthy read of hitting milestones and getting to do cool things. I was delighted when following her campaign to become part of the line-up to play Other Voices in Dingle that she won it and got to play. Together with LAOISE and Ailbhe Reddy, the tight-knit trio of musicians combined to create an extra special live music video for ‘Hollow’, and it’s awesome seeing three of my favourite growing names in the scene right now have such great bonds of friendship among themselves as well. Musically, Maria Kelly channels such a deep level of raw emotion through her singing, even more-so experienced live, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here.

NIMF – Formerly putting out music as Aoibhín, their most recent song ‘Man on the Moon’ marked their distinct separation from that handle and invited us to join them on their new path as ‘NIMF’. Despite yet getting the opportunity to see them play live (But for real, get booked in Cork this year please!), this band has easily captured my attention moving forwards. Although released in 2016, Aoibhín’s EP ‘Don’t Look Down’ has been a source of much enjoyment for me thus far this year since first coming across her name. She hit a further strength again this year when she put out the compelling song ‘My Choice’ along with a brilliant music video, before moving on to release ‘Man on the Moon’ in November. Her incredibly distinctive vocals, the band’s fantastic musical arrangements, and unique, oft eerie vision in the storytelling of the music videos they put out combine to keep me very much intrigued to follow in the steps wherever this journey they take us on is headed.

The Elation – The Elation are a Cork band who have it all. They’re oozing with character, are some of the most down to earth fella’s you’ll ever come across, and are brimming with musical talent that they pour into their feel good pop-rock numbers, from their debut single ‘XO’ to their big summer track ‘Feels Like a Good Reason to get Started’. Furthermore, their efforts backing the Cork Gay Project with the latter song further exemplifies the great attitude these lads have. The lads are currently hard at work on their debut album and it’s sure to be an absolute banger if the track’s we’ve seen of it so far are anything to go by. Heading into 2018, they’ve had a roster swap in the drumming department from Luke Tai to Denis, however they show no signs of slowing as the replacement has slotted in nicely and they continue on their upward trajectory.

Sarah-Beth – Sarah-Beth made for one of the first truly random artist discoveries I had this year, and I couldn’t be more glad that I did. I first became acquainted with her music when she launched her EP ‘Your Muse’, a beautiful 6 track piece of work that has rarely left my listening patterns since first it entered them. I’ve dropped in to some of her various shows across the months since, and continue to be captivated in her live performances every time. Just as the year turned, Sarah-Beth released a track that she had previously made in collaboration with The Monk last year, titled ‘Lost in Loneliness’, another cool gem to see me by while she works on further music projects for the coming year.

A Little Something Special

I’d like to round out this post with the unveiling of a cool new item I have obtained. Sitting down for Christmas this year, I was delighted to find a present under the tree that I wasn’t expecting. Upon opening it, my eyes lit up, I could barely believe the awesomeness they beheld. Definitely one of the coolest things I have received this year, it was a hand-designed shirt with ‘The Merch Perch’ logo on it. Suffice to say I now have my official piece of attire for the year going forward. Thank you to my friend Lily Connell Bass (Also: One of the musicians in The 2016 Collective Sessions I wrote about) for the amazingness. Also shoutout to my graphics dude who did all the graphics for the blog in the first place, the glorious ‘Pasta’, a true gent.

TMP Official Shirt.png
The Merch Perch Custom Shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: The Merch Perch

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

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