The “Big Gigs” Saturday

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Saturday 28th September: The Big Gigs
Two gigs, one venue: The Courtyard @ Skerries Mills.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Support

Ryan and band Photo by KrystunaSaturday, 28th September. This was the event for teenage Skerries! Not only did Ryan O’Shaughnessy play a wonderful gig, from what we gather – he did so on the day after turning 21, and  also played his new EP in front of a live audience for the first time.

But first it was time for the support acts, all of them Skerries Got Talent winners from 2012.  What a great chance for them to play in the Skerries Mills Courtyard!

Eva Campbell (voice, guitar) sang two songs, one of them by her favourite band Florence and the Machine.  Fergus Grant‘s three songs included “Skinny Love” by Bon Ivor.  And Balbriggan’s Hannah Hawkshaw followed one Justin Timberlake song by two she had written herself.  Finally Sarah Enright played the saxophone and sang two songs – “Clown” by Emily Sande and “At Last” by Etta James.

The audience were clearly enjoying the support acts, but in all fairness, it was Ryan who most had come to see.  He would spend time with his fans, sign autographs and mix with them after the gig, but first it was time for him to play some music. When he went on stage with his band and started playing, the crowd were enthralled.  He gave his audience a good mix between his well-known material like “First Kiss,”  “No Name,” and “Sofa Bed” and some material from his new EP. He also did some cover versions, like Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.

And Soundwaves had a surprise for him! The MCs, the talented  Cian Mulhall & Nathan Joyce, came on-stage mid-concert….. with a birthday card and his very own cake.

Ryan took a little while to blow out the fireworks on the cake (handed over by Cara Duff)… or maybe he only wanted to give Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Fergus enough time to sing all of “Happy Birthday” to him.  Either way, Happy Birthday from Soundwaves, Ryan, and may your wishes come true!

A feast of music: Ham Sandwich and support

The 10th Anniversary Gig – that’s how the Saturday night event had been billed, and expectations were high. We had been counting down the days since early summer. And we were not disappointed!

The courtyard of Skerries Mills is a great venue.  The historic mill buildings around it give it atmosphere. It is sheltered against the elements – it actually rained for part of the gig, and we barely noticed. And it is big enough to hold more than 400, yet intimate enough for a great concert experience.

The courtyard.
The courtyard.

Dave Diebold, in charge of this event as well as the Ray O’Shaughnessy one in the afternoon, and the techie crews had done a great job setting up stage and sound and lighting.  There were food and drinks stalls for the masses, and an exclusive chill-out area for the bands and for holders of the limited VIP tickets. Our little town was all set for a top-class gig!  That’s what is so good about our festival – you can attend events that you’d willingly travel far for – right here, in Skerries.

Two of the Gun Runners. On the right, their drummer, for once not hidden.
Two of the Gun Runners. On the right, their drummer, for once not hidden.

One of my personal favourites were the very first band, local musicians Gun Runners – fresh, straightforward rock presented with skill and energy. Pity that the atmospheric lighting, dry ice and all, so often shrouded the drummers behind a cloud… but that was one of the very few shortcomings of the evening, and as you can see from the photographs, the light made everyone else look very good.

Mojo Gogo
Mojo Gogo

My other favourite (apart from Ham Sandwich) were Mojo Gogo.  The lads had come down from Donegal for the gig and gave it Wellie.  Liz Seavers was quite different this year – in 2012, she had performed on her own, now she had a full band with her and truly rocked the stage. Big September played an impressive gig. Cat Dowling (also with band) was received enthusiastically by many in the audience, and her accomplished performance and musicality won her lots of new fans.

Photographs: Krystyna, Skerries Mills.

Addressing the audience: The event organiser, Dave Diebold!
Addressing the audience: The event organiser, Dave Diebold!

And then… after a short few words by Dave Diebold, who wrote about his experiences as a promoter of this gig very well in his weekly column…it was time for the main act.  What a show.  The lights went down, music played, and one after the other, the musicians who together formed the main act ran up and onto the stage. Drums. Trumpet. Trumpet. Guitar. Rhythm guitar. Bass. Singer… Ham Sandwich! They sang. They played. They danced. They showered the audience with glittery things from a glittery-things cannon. They sang, played, and danced some more.  They owned the audience. They had a fantastic time, as did the audience. What a night! And what an audience – not for the first time during this festival, the performers said how much they enjoyed playing in Skerries because of the special vibe coming from the audience.  So there!

To see more pictures of the night, go to the post about Ham Sandwich – the Anniversary Concert

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