Ireland tour report

Last month we had a stonking few days in Ireland. Here follows the saga…

After a car search by cops at the ferry port on the way out:

Ben “You gonna pack that back as it was?”

Stroppy cop “That’s not our job. We don’t have to.”

Clever cop (showing off her police intelligence) “I’ll give you a hand.”

Ben “No, don’t worry, we’ll sort it”

Clever cop “You a band then?”

Eve (Slowly) “Yeeeah.”

Stroppy cop “What sort of music. You on youtube?”

Ben “Reggae.”

Stroppy cop “What’s your band called?”

Ben and Eve “You wouldn’t like it.”

Stroppy cop “Ooh, a bit radical is it?”

Our first night was a “settling in” night with no gig and we were in very good company with the punks of New Ross. There were stories and laughs aplenty and it’s clear these folks have been around the block a few times! We were introduced to a very odd version of pool, “bumper pool”, which we can conclude is only for playing when drunk or with the kids, who helpfully showed us how it’s done with a cue that resembled a banana! Burgers and wedges cooked up by local wildling Cameron (no shit, he was actually in Game of Thrones!) sealed the deal for everlasting friendship with the New Ross crew. Thanks so much to Conor (the changeling) for amazing hospitality, tales of rebellion, a walk down an old railway tunnel(!) and lots of ace book recommendations! Top people and we look forward to our next visit.

The first gig was in Ballina, with new friends and tour organisers Shithatt, a quality post punk band whose spiritual home is evidently Emmett’s, where we played that night. A really nice crowd and what a powerful band they are! They absolutely belted it out and we felt compelled to do the same. There was a rush on the Tshirts meaning we didn’t have many for the rest of the tour and Ballina earns the award for “most likely to see a Spanner Tshirt in Ireland here”.

There was a fair bit of “craic” after, with Woody and Richy representing the band in the late night session while the rest of us got our heads down. Needless to say the proposed mob beach trip the next morning didn’t materialise, but reports are there was one sighting of a solitary member of the naked vanguard on the beach who had been ealier forced out of the sleeping area by Richy’s foghornesque snoring. The long drive to Dublin was made easier with an en route gem of a find in a one horse town – of vegan ice cream!

Next up was the fair (well, that’s open to question!) city of Dublin and a stay with another Conor and his fellow squatters. Everyone was well jubilant about the results of the referendum the previous week, when over 2/3 of voters historically made abortion legal secured women’s right to choose. We heard how grassroots campaigners for “Yes” were up against very powerful interests and institutions who threw so much money and resources into efforts to maintain a ban on abortion in the Republic of Ireland. It was an unequal struggle but it was a struggle that showed how with hard work and determination, good people can win!

There was an entertaining impromptu radical history tour of the town with more evidence of the same (as well as of a fair few defeats!), including some top stories and sites of past struggles and a very heartening account of fascists being well dealt with by a sizable and militant mob and chased out of town. This was accompanied by some top vegan takeaway fare, Eve clearly getting the best result of the menu!

The gig itself was at Drop Dead Twice, a boojie looking new venue but with good sound. We met the hard working Eddie who put the gig on and enjoyed the other bands before taking to the stage to play. There was a good dance and some of Dublin’s skanking champs were evidently out. We met some really sound folks after the gig and gave assurances we’d be back before too long.

 

Then it was on for an absolute monster pizza (there were concerns it was too big for us to handle, but we dealt with it!) session back at the squat, washed down with potcheen and more chats with our very sound hosts. It’s people like these that remind us that we are everywhere!

Same goes for Bob in Cork, who put on the next and last gig for us. We are very much singing from the same sheet! He didn’t have any of his old band, Section 4, to play us, but we found one of their CDs since at the 161 fest in Manchester – in the bargain bin! They were a classic rowdy and bouncing antifascist / anarchist Oi! band and it’s a shame we didn’t get to play with them. Before the gig we had a bit of food, sampled the Beamish and the Murphy’s and tried our hands at a game of rings in an old Cork pub. The locals were clearly amused at our efforts while Nick had a bit of a talking to by an old local with fire in his eyes! Fred Zeppelin’s is a punk and metal venue in Cork, and a good place for an end of tour gig. It was great to recognise (ahem!) our new mates from New Ross at the gig and there was, in the immortal words of Russ Abbott, “a happy atmosphere”. The Audible Joe’s were certainly audible and very energetic, ripping it up with fast and loud melodic hardcore which got the crowd moving. We had to give it everything on our last night and it seems like people weren’t asking for their money back, so that was good. There was nearly a bit of on stage fainting it was so hot but we managed to saty on our feet. Full respect to Noisy Nick for carrying on, despite feeling rough from the start of the tour. Nothing a bit of rapid style and raging drumming can’t sort out! He won’t be stopped!

The next morning we were homeward bound via the beach, with fond memories of our host, Bob, with a coat over his head in his favourite chair. We’ll be back over there before too long, for sure. Great people, top gigs and so much fun! Until next time…

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