‘Some choir from Sligo’

Today’s countdown article…in association once again with The Sligo Champion. 7 weeks to go!

Francie Lenehan, one of the stalwarts of the Sligo music scene and renowned for his guitar work all over the country, was with us on last year’s Vicar St gig.

The day after, he told me the story of a conversation he overheard while taking in the fresh Dublin air waiting for the gig to start. It was between two of the security men working in the venue that night, and Francie relayed it to me in his finest Dublin accent.

‘Who’s on here tonight?’

‘Some choir from down the country.’

‘Ah Jaysus’.

And we could feel that attitude to a certain extent when we arrived. Sound engineers, stage crew, bar staff – while they were professional and courteous, it was clear that they just weren’t quite sure who we were, what we were about, and how exactly to deal with us.

Then the crowd began to arrive. The 1000+ seats began to fill up. Sligo folk based in Dublin and nearby, curious music fans from Dublin, and a huge crowd up from Sligo itself. And you could see that the attitude began to change. Even Peter Aiken, the head of Aiken Promotions (who run Vicar St) arrived in to see what all the fuss was about.

And then the music started. The magic began to happen and they saw how the crowd reacted. And they began to feel it themselves. I was in Vicar St for another gig myself 2 weeks later and the attitude to me was completely different now they knew what we could produce.

Francie met the same two security men on the way out.

‘Jaysus lads ye were good’.

‘Not bad’, says Francie, ‘for a choir from down the country’.