When I got the call from my good friends Sense Deficiency to join them as a tour photographer/videographer on the Post Paddy’s Punk Up! mini-tour, there wasn’t a chance in hell that I would miss this opportunity.
Joining a band on tour is an experience that I have always wanted to tick of the old bucket-list. Joining Sense Deficiency on this cross county trek was Lost Avenue from Derry and Section 4 from Ballina, along with additional acts at the Enniskillen and Derry dates. This tour would consist of three dates, Enniskillen on the 18th, Derry on the 19th and Ballina on the 20th of March. Due to commitments I had for Sense Deficiency, I was unable to review the Derry and Ballina dates of the tour.
After arriving at Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen, I noticed from the outset that the crowd would be lacking somewhat. Call this a combination of people suffering from a post paddy’s hangover and perhaps the growing trend of people from the local area not supporting the gig scene.
The first band to take the stage was local lads, Sense Deficiency who despite being on first managed to pull a decent number of punters and band members the front of the stage. As this was the band’s home turf, I assumed that they would headline, or at least second to last. With this said, I have found out from prior experience that is more about the performance than it is about a band’s position on a bill. The band kicked of their set with ‘Vendetta’ by Mike V and the Rats which featured bassist Joshua on lead vocals.
After a visceral performance, the band kept the momentum going with a section of material from their debut EP ‘Will Think For Braincells’ along with some new material that will be featured on a feature release; ‘Decay’, ‘Petty’ and ‘Oh Mah Doge’. Each of these songs gives a great indication of the band’s future. The band concluded their set with ‘ScaremongRR’ and with that the Ska-Punk maelstrom gave way to a great reception from the crowd. It was a solid set by the lads and even with the post paddy’s hangover in effect, they tore the house down.
The second band to take the stage was the lads from Ballina, Section 4 who could be best described as a Ska band with Punk qualities. The lads kicked it off with the incendiary ‘Fuck You’ which, with its truly infectious chorus was an open invitation for the crowd to sing along. The instrumentation was solid throughout the set and it could be seen that this was a well seasoned band with talented individuals. Even if you didn’t believe the lyrics that vocalist and guitarist Paul O’Driscoll, he sang them with integrity and intensity that is was difficult not to take notice. The band’s lyrics tackled the plight of the working class and holding the government accountable. There was an education to be had, especially for those at the front of the stage. The band concluded their set with ‘Fuck the Recession’ and with its chorus of “Fuck the recession, sure let’s go on the session!” let the band finish on a more positive note.
The next band to take the stage is Lost Avenue from Derry who could be best described as Alternative Punk which blended the sensibilities of both old and new. This was the second time that I had the opportunity to see the band live, both times being at Charlie’s Bar. Lead singer and guitarist, Dylan Bradley was visceral on stage. His intensity was plain to be seen and he really gave it all. The same could be said about bassist and vocalist, Dualta Lewington who on occasion looked electrified; almost possessed by some unseen higher power.
Drummer Michael Brown was loud, hit hard and never let the intensity drop below eleven. Although there was some banter from Dylan and Dualta, I could tell that this is a band that let their music and live performance do the talking. It is apparent that this band has tremendous chemistry, with every drop of blood and breath of air going into this band and its future. Their set was tremendous, with the stage at Charlie’s Bar barely able t contain them.
The fourth and final band of the evening, Good Friend take the stage. They hail from the North West of Ireland, but reside in Newcastle Upon Tyne take the stage. I would personally describe them as a Punk Rock band with melodic qualities, but as the band put it, they are Lion Hearted Rock and Roll. I feel this description describes them perfectly and it was evident through their set. Standout performances included the epic ‘Irish Goodbyes’ and ‘The Return of Fiona and the Fianna’. Even with this said the band’s set was solid throughout.
Adam Carroll is a fantastic vocalist with an inherent intensity and a fantastic vocal range. His performance on bass was also commendable as it brought to mind Motorhead. Perhaps it was just the equipment and amp settings on the night, but damn, it sounded good. It would have made Lemmy raise a whiskey and coke in approval.
There was plenty of back and forth banter which included an acapella performance of ‘(Hey Baby) If You’ll Be My Girl’ from the crowd and band. Adam mentioned that ‘Country Roads’ was sung in a similar manner at the previous night’s gig. This prompts the question… would lightning have struck a third time at their gig the following night? The band concluded their set with ‘Curse the Name’ which featured excellent vocal interplay between Adam and drummer Leon Connolly. The crowd seemed to dwindle at this point which was upsetting as Good Friend was fantastic and deserved a packed house. Hopefully the next time that they play Charlie’s Bar, the crowd will be there to support them.
As previously mentioned, the night was great, despite the lack of a decent crowd. With this said those who were in attendance did take note, were attentive and seemed to enjoy the bands. Perhaps it was a poor choice in day, but there couldn’t have been that many people suffering with a hangover after Saint Patrick’s Day… could there?