Here We Go Again
Alas, once against we find ourselves back here with Garageland Ireland being the focal point of attention. After an awesome gig in April, time seems to have flown far too quickly altogether, though if that served to bring their return to Crane Lane for the summer edition of the Garage Gigs along all the sooner then I can’t be complaining. If you’ve not been following the work of Garageland, they’re pretty much a legendary gig promoter in the Irish scene who have played a role in the early musical careers of many a big named artist and band flourishing in the scene to this day. They’re still taking off and growing in Cork, but in the likes of Dublin and other counties up and down the country they continue to make their mark on the landscape of Irish music. They’re always rooting out unique and undiscovered talents around the country through their showcase gigs at which they always feature about 4-5 artists or bands in an evening of music. In Cork this year, they’re throwing a gig roughly every quarter, with events in April and July already so far, and their last 2 for 2018 scheduled for September 27th and December 6th, both in their trusty regular venue The Crane Lane. For more information on how the evenings work, and if you’re a musician interested in getting involved, check out this link for everything you need to know.
Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road! The act set to kick off our evening of music was none other than emerging alternative/rap artist Darce. New to my radar, his inclusion on the Garageland line-up had my curiosity piqued and it wasn’t long before I was checking out a few tunes and bopping my head in appreciation. You can catch a brilliant music video made to accompany his track Valhalla below, it features a powerful message regarding refugees. I was further pleasantly surprised to find out in the approach to the event that Darce’s squad of musicians includes someone I was already familiar with in the form of Blakkheart. It’s been quite a while since I saw Blakkheart in action, back last year when she was a performing member of Sarah-Beth’s band she highly impressed me. As a music producer she’s unreal and to see her working with Darce now and the things they are making together is super cool to see.
I arrived first thing on the evening eager to catch Darce and see what the live experience would be like. Interestingly it was a mad evening in store for him, as not only was he opening the Garage Gig here, he would then be whisking straight off to Cyprus Avenue, opening only for none other than Sean Kingston right after this. Darce has an infectiously happy, wholesome and fun stage presence and is no different off stage, with him approaching me to introduce himself when I arrived before I even had a chance to look out for him myself. They killed it with their performance, with Darce showcasing both amazing singing and rapping, switching it up between the two. I was especially happy to see Blakkheart utilized for her vocals as the opportunity for me to hear her sing has been few and far between though she has one helluva unreal voice, working especially well in tandem with Darce. You can catch Darce in Dublin next month among a super line-up for Hard Working Class Heroes (I’m tempted…). Check out the new song ‘Moonlight’ below which is an Electronic/GFunk inspired single collaboratively released by Darce and Blakkheart ahead of a combined EP they’re working towards.
Gee, me writing a blog post that happens to include Sarah-Beth in it?! (That) (Totally) (Never) (Happens) (Here). Sarah-Beth was only included on the billing for this event a short time before the gig in replacement for a prior drop-out. When I heard the news that she would be part of the evening, I was ecstatic as she’s one of my favourite artists coming up in Cork and it’s always great to see opportunities unfolding for her and the band. As a newcomer to the Garageland format, I was pleased to hear that the team were quick to fall in love with her music much like I did at first discovery last year, with them bringing her on for a slot on the radio at RTÉ 2XM in anticipation for the gig which went superb. Given that her slot on the stage at Crane Lane would only be about 6 or so songs, I was well intrigued as to how the set-list selection would go due to the plethora of songs at Sarah-Beth’s disposal. As can be expected, she came perfectly equipped with a set to match the occasion, a skill I’ve seen her utilize time and again when picking from her catalog for different shows. She and the band wowed everyone in attendance, many of whom without a night like this from Garageland would never have crossed paths due to the disparity in their chosen genres of music. If you’re attending Electric Picnic this year, make sure you catch her on the Friday and Saturday at The Hurly Burly, you wont be disappointed.
This is one that I have been well overdue catching. Echosoul featured at the Crane Lane in November at the first Garage Gig I ever attended, but before I had been in attendance. I’d heard and continue to hear great things from the Garageland team so it was only a matter of time. At last, and quite fittingly, they once more featured on the Garage Gigs so that I may finally witness what I’ve been missing. They played a belter of a set for us, with songs such as ‘A Is For Apricot’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Standby’ catching my attention. They were also playing with a fresh addition to the band in the form of their bassist, who slotted in perfectly in the trio. In the middle of the set singer Glen Galvin elicited a laugh from the crowd and fellow band members when describing themselves as ‘3 guys in our thirties very out of shape’. Check out their brilliant song ‘Something Good, Going On’ down below on Soundcloud, and if you like that check out more on their Soundcloud page!
Red Sun Alert
It is perhaps a criminal occurrence that Red Sun Alert have not featured on my blog before this point in time, as they blasted their way into my attention early this year. It all began by word of mouth when I was blown away by their guitarist Cian Mullane when I caught him playing in the band Crojayn, and from there learned of his involvement in the band Red Sun Alert (Mind you, Cian tears it up in so many bands I can’t imagine how he keeps track of it all). Following up on this recommendation, I finally got to see Red Sun Alert themselves play when they were in the CIT Music Society Battle of the Bands competition, which they eventually came through the other end victorious in. Enthused by their highly energetic, loud and entertaining display I continued to follow them, landing myself in an unusual setting for myself: A day of Metal music to see them play their part in a mini festival called Seshfest. Not the hugest fan of Metal and/or going deaf, I debuted a new pair of earplugs at this event for the heavier, ear blistering acts, but all in all had a good time, which brings us up to now.
Their full line-up consists of Julia Pawlak on Guitar and Vocals, Cian Mullane on Guitar, Jim Spillane on Bass, and Dylan Walsh on Drums. Before they were set to take the stage I learned that Jim was after cracking two of his ribs before the gig. Knowing them well enough by now, I knew that probably wouldn’t matter to him one bit and he would nonetheless go absolutely mental on that stage. Sure enough, we were greeted with the one signal that lets everyone know RSA is about to blow the stage a new one: Jim Spillane chucking his shirt away as he takes to the stage with his bass. And from there, the night was theirs. In usual fashion, guitarist Cian could be seen flying around the place as if the guitar had a mind of it’s own absolutely shredding it up. Julia captures the crowd with her captivating presence and vocals, and you’d never guess Jim was injured with his usual crazy antics rocking out. They’ve just released their debut EP ‘Luna’ available to listen to on streaming services, you can check that out below. Their launch gig takes place this Friday (August 17th) at The Roundy in what is sure to be an unreal evening. One of the most interesting things for me about Red Sun Alert is their style and it’s way of bridging a gap between genres. Performing under the general genre of ‘Progressive Rock’, and yet not sounding out of place among a line-up of Metal bands, they’re in a rather unique position of appealing to both sides of the fence. I’m not a fan of Metal music and was overwhelmed at some of the bands at Seshfest, and yet I’m a total fan of Red Sun Alert and every aspect of their characterful and manic performances. If you don’t make it to the EP launch, keep an eye out next month as they hit Dublin, Galway and Cork on the 11th, 12th and 19th of September respectively, touring with Galway band Dead Horse Jive which should be some monumentally awesome shows too.
And Finally, Le Merchandise
All in all it was an incredible evening of music and more importantly a very diverse selection of genres mixing here to create a mix of something for everyone. Most of the artists were just that much different to each other that without a night like this they genuinely may have never interacted and made new fans and connections with each other because of it. I wont lie, I was pretty disappointed by the attendance level of the Cork crowd. It was a once off type of opportunity for amazing discovery and an unreal evening of music, and the numbers simply weren’t there. Nonetheless I can only continue to hope that more and more people in Cork realize the talents surrounding themselves if they simply take a look. In other news, the new range of Garageland Ireland shirts have dropped and are available til the end of this week for just €10 with free postage at this link, after which the price will be going up from this super cheap rate. Mine just arrived through the door now and I’m loving it, especially how I know of more and more artists from the list slowly but surely between each time I read it. Until next time folks, peace out and Keep on Merchin’