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20 Jan, Sunday
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Get to Know: Tony Villiers

Often pegged as a blues act, Tony Villiers and the Villains are actually much trickier to define than that. Sure they have a definite blues edge, but The Villains’ sound is multi-layered.

With discernible hints of country, touches of jazz and Doc Doherty’s mesmerising electric guitar this is a band that deserves deeper investigation to be fully appreciated.  With plenty of upcoming live dates and a new album on the way, there’s no better time than now to do just that. Get to Know Tony Villiers. 

Tony Villiers

Name: Tony Villiers

Where you’re from: Armagh

Describe your style in 5 words or fewer: Swampy-blues-tinged-jazz-country

Digital music, CDs or vinyl: Vinyl

Biggest musical influence: Bob Dylan

What you’re listening to right now: Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront

Favourite venue: The American Bar

Best local band of the moment: Stiff Little Fingers

Last gig you attended: Van Morrison

Best gig you have ever attended: John Prine, Vicar Street, Dublin

Favourite album of all time: Blonde on Blonde

Musician you’d love to collaborate with: Bob Dylan

Last thing you do before going onstage: Round up the band

A new album from Tony Villiers and the Villains, Music Confounds the Machines, is due for release in the coming months. You can catch the full band, (Tony and Doc together with Kevin Mahoney on bass and Aidan McGillian on percussion), live in The American Bar, Belfast every third Saturday, or in The Atlantic Live Lounge, Portrush on 7th April. 

Writer for Gigging NI. My tastes are varied; began listening to the folksy standards of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and indie favourites like The Cure and The Smiths, all of which permeated my formative years in the 80s. My first gig was Prince in Cork in 1990. The 90’s also included The Trip to Tip in ’91 & ’92, and gigs by Van Morrison, David Byrne, The Verve, Counting Crows, John Prine, Morrissey, Chris Smither and many more. The noughties brought James Taylor, Squeeze, New York Dolls, Neil Young, Arlo Guthrie amongst others; though a highlight was an opportunity to see lifelong hero David Bowie on his final tour, Reality in 2003. This decade I’ve had the chance to see everything from Erasure, Johnny Marr and They Might be Giants to Thirty Seconds to Mars, Aslan, Crosby and Nash, Georgie Fame, Paolo Nutini, John Grant. Latterly there's been a pretty serious obsession with Rufus Wainwright, and the Wainwrights in general to be honest. In the last few years, I’ve also been enjoying a lot more of our home grown talent, with the likes of Duke Special, Brian Kennedy, VerseChorusVerse, The Bonnevilles, Tony Villiers and the Villains, The Hardchargers, and The Four of Us – so I guess you could say no common thread to speak of!