Please save me from wasting my time. This week I visited a couple of song-writers nights in our capital. A number of these weekly gigs have sprung up over the past few years – offspring from an event run back to the early 1990’s when Dave Murphy hosted a very successful night in the International bar. Some major talent appeared at that event which was run in an organised fashion allowing the artists an opportunity to offload some of their best creations to an active listening audience. These events nowadays are focussed more on selling luminous ‘cool-pop’ coloured beverages in quantity than they are about promoting talent. The proprietor will rent a dodgy sound system and advertise the event throughout as the best creative night in Ireland. The attendee natters and shouts orders to the barman over two others in front of him such that the artists wonder why on earth they came. And punters cannot hear the music they came along to hear. There are exceptions of course.
This type of event is ultimately demoralising for the performer and does more damage than good at nurturing prospective stardom. Whatever happened to the Red Hot Music Club and the one and only Noel Heavey? That was really great wasn’t it? Oh yeah, Red House burned down…
Each county in Ireland should have a good song-writers night. This would be a midweek event held in a well-known bar or lounge and promoted in a positive way, a supportive environment that will allow the performer to deliver a class performance of their repertoire without having to battle the audience for attention. Let’s face it the bar will probably be empty that night anyway as mid-week drinking is dying a death. The publican won’t make a killing. The place won’t be packed every week but the benefits for the establishment are greater that this for the venue, the artists and for our own Co. Kildare.
It works something like this. The venue advertise through a well-known quality local paper (like the Kildare Post) to generate a bit of spin and on each and every free gig-listings site available to them.
The crowd will be small to begin but will increase as awareness of the event spreads. A steady stream of punters will come and go during an evening and the line-up would be well organised and properly presented to ensure everybody gets their turn. Quality should be monitored to ensure that listeners keep coming back, after all a gig is nothing without an audience. As such the night should not be promoted as an open mic night.
Co. Kildare has delivered more than it’s share of world class talent in the past. And they all started somewhere. In any city in the world artists and musicians like Christy Moore, Liam O Flynn, The Gallowglass Ceilí Band, Damien Rice, BelleX1, Jack L, Luka Bloom and Damien Leith are well known household names. On a road trip of the U.S. with my brother I myself walked into a record shop in Sealy, Texas and found no less than five Luka Bloom albums on the shelf. And most young people today don’t know that the Gallowglass Ceilí Band from Naas played to more people than U2 in their 40-year long touring career during which they recorded over 30 albums and LPs and took in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and Radio City.
For some mystical reason Co. Kildare has turned out talent. Right now the music industry has become so competitive we run the risk of losing this tradition as the internet has changed the ways in which music is promoted and purchased. Cyber-life has diluted our focus and we no longer support the local hard-working music-guys in the traditional ways.
Co Kildare people: WE NEED TO GRAB A HOLD OF OURSELVES – before we lose our national identity as ‘providers of world-class talent’.
How many of you punters out there would support this forum? I mean actively… Performers, will you sign up?
Please email me your interest. Anybody? If my mailbox is full by next week we’ll get the ball rolling again…
Kildare Band of the Week: Manhattan, Athy Town
Kildare Musician of the Week: Trevor McEvoy, Drummer, Kilcullen
Kildare Music Pub of the Week: Top Nolan’s, Kildare Town