For my first two concerts, I got some pretty big names under my belt right from the get go. It was then that I started down the path of discovering newer music for myself and adding a broader range of listening material to my repertoire. One such new discovery came in approximately late November/early December of 2015. Crawling through the aul’ Facebook feed a video caught my eye, and I gave it a click. That video was the instant hit on it’s way to going viral by the name of ‘Take My Hand’ by Picture This. Like many others, I was instantly hooked and following the ascension of this remarkable duo closely from there on out. The pairing continued to put out new tracks over the next few months and showed they were no one-hit wonder as they continued to make waves in the Irish and international music scene with their charm and musical talents. After a while of being on the up and up, the prospect of them going on tour began to become a reality. When they announced that they would be doing a tour of Ireland, I just had to go and see them. The best part? They were coming all the way to my back door practically, with a show in DeBarra’s in Clonakilty, West Cork on their agenda. I immediately bought myself a pair of tickets for the October gig and awaited the show eagerly.
As the date of the gig was almost upon me, I had asked a few different mates to come along with me, with not too much success. Then a friend agreed to accompany me, only to pull out on the very evening of the show. I had to quite quickly consider my options, but ultimately I decided that nothing was gonna hold me back and one way or another I would get there irregardless. As the friend who was no longer coming with me was also my lift between the towns, I had to come up with an impromptu new plan: Thumb it and leave figuring out how I was getting back til after the show. You only live once, right? Despite the relatively late hour and the turning of the sky fast approaching, I managed to nab a lift out to Clonakilty and arrive with some amount of time to spare.
I was chilling across the road from the venue while waiting for the time of the gig to come closer, when a snippet of conversation from a group approaching the venue caught my ear, and then my attention. From what I gathered, they were discussing the fact that there were 6 people in their group, but they only had 5 tickets. Well now wasn’t that something, I was standing there with 2 tickets in my pocket and not a soul with me, Without skipping a beat I was moving across the road directly to the group, and making introduction. I couldn’t help but hear about your little predicament, I chirped cheerily, as it would so happen, I’m stuck with a ticket going to waste, would you care to have it from me? It’s the little things in life like moments of that nature that brings happiness to my life. It was an inexpensive gesture made in a moment of timely opportunity and being open to approaching the world outside my head with a care-free attitude. I like to ride the wave of life in that manner, letting it me take me where it wills me to go. As it was, the group looked at me like I was some kind of guardian angel, and swiftly brought me into their ranks, and I didn’t have to worry about being alone at the gig anymore, an added bonus.
As we handed over tickets before entering the back end of the building where the gig was taking place, I quickly identified a merch table by the entrance and eyed it up with glee. However it did appear that it wouldn’t be in operation until after the gig, so I had to wait for that opportunity. It had also just come to my attention that there was a support act before the main event, so I was intrigued to discover this artist I hadn’t heard of before. With the crowd packed in and settling into place, a red headed lass brandishing a guitar took to the stage, and thus the night was set to begin. Introducing herself as Orla Gartland, it was in a matter of almost no time at all that she had a remarkable command over the crowd. She was witty and funny, built up a great rapport with the audience, and the power and beauty in her singing and music was astounding. To say the least, I was immediately a fan, and already having a great night without even seeing Picture This yet.
Ultimately Orla’s set came to an end, and the general consensus in the crowd was that she had more than suitably warmed the crowd up to her and set the tone for the night. After a brief respite it was time for the main event. Picture This duo Ryan and Jimmy came out, accompanied by a couple of people they had brought along for their live band. Every bit as charismatic and up for the craic as they came across in their multitude of videos and postings online, they lived up to any preconceived expectations and beyond with their live performance, completely smashing it. Any worries about quantity and quality of content were non existent as they moved through a fantastic set of their singles to date, along with plenty of new unreleased material. It was great to be a part of the experience with them as one of the hottest new prospects coming out of Ireland in recent times.
When the gig was over, without further ado I was over to the merch counter in a flash, eyeing up all the goodies. I had already been expecting to get Picture This merch before showing up, but after seeing Orla Gartland I was definitely getting my hands on anything she had to offer aswell. And boy oh boy did she have an impressive selection. To this day, I can honestly say she has some of the best merch I have ever come across, especially from smaller artists. Even her price list cracked me up, as it listed all the items and their already impressively low prices, and then at the bottom the best entry of all. “The whole feckin’ lot – €15”. Well now c’mon, I read that and I turned right to Orla who was standing there and said “I’ll take one ‘whole feckin’ lot’ please”. For that price, I netted myself: A wristband, 3 awesome badges, her EP ‘Lonely People’ and the most kick-ass merch shirt I have ever seen. With awesome colour print quality, the shirt depicted an animated red headed musician in mid air brandishing a guitar, hair flowing majestically behind her, as she flying head-kicks a zombie decapitating him among his undead and bodily degraded brethren, all under the magnificent caption “Meanwhile during Orla’s set…”. Speaking to Orla about the set she had played earlier in the evening, and her brilliant merch, she was very down to earth and great craic to talk to. I especially remember one thing she said which was to the effect that when you’re the lesser known artist at a gig, she figured it was especially good to step up the merch game. Step it up you did, Orla, this is where the bar should be set for all artists! On the topic of merch (No, really?!), I picked up the long sleeve Picture This shirt, which cost me more than the entirety of Orla’s merch collection (Still worth it though!) and their debut self-titled EP. I acquired one more piece of Orla’s merch since then that was not available at the gig, which was the EP that preceded ‘Lonely People’ called ‘Roots’, thus completing my Orla Gartland merch collection.
I made it out onto the streets of Clonakilty afterwards, freshly equipped with Orla’s shirt and carrying the bundle of other items I had picked up, and went for food while I contemplated what exactly my plan of action was next. I had tried unsuccessfully to see if anyone was driving back my way from the people at the gig, so I was running through the options in my head. I was almost half convinced I could just carry on through the evening by wandering aimlessly through the town until an early hitch opportunity would present itself in the morning. However some rain kicked up and cold temperatures set in and my phone didn’t look like it would survive til the morning and that’d be my only source of entertainment, so reluctantly I called a taxi which took me home for a handy price of more money than I spent on all the merch AND the gig tickets combined. Ouch. But hey all things considered? Worth. It.
For anyone interested in checking out either of the artists this post is pertaining to, here are the social links, I highly recommend them both if you’ve not yet heard of them, or even if you have just to get your ass to listen to them some more! And as always, keep on merching!