Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

On the Road – Delorentos in Cork and Galway

Taking a break from writing and recording album number two, Delorentos have been playing a couple of shows around the country ahead of their appearance at Oxegen next weekend (they play on Sunday at 5.15pm on the Pet Sounds stage …

Tue, Jul 8, 2008, 13:52

   

Taking a break from writing and recording album number two, Delorentos have been playing a couple of shows around the country ahead of their appearance at Oxegen next weekend (they play on Sunday at 5.15pm on the Pet Sounds stage sandwiched between Lightspeed Champion and MGMT).

Given what happened on the band’s US and Canadian tour earlier this year, we asked Nial Conlon to pen the latest On The Road diary about these warm-up shows. Find out why “being in a band is just the right balance of really shitty times and really fantastic times”.

Friday 4th July – Cyprus Avenue, Cork

We start the day without Kieran who is stuck on the outskirts of Dublin trying to persuade someone to repair his amp in time for the gigs. We leave at lunchtime to get down to Cork in time for soundcheck. Ross and Gouj (the ever-present guitar-tech/general whizz-kid) are comparing remixes of tunes they have recently done while Ro is hung over after a very, very late night.

Even though Ro isn’t feeling the best, I’m entertained because when he’s dishevelled and unshaven, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Cat Stevens. I spend my time trying to drop Cat Stevens song titles into our conversation until Ro puts on his headphones, I wish Kieran was here, he’d definitely find this funny.

We pick up Kieran on the motorway, no luck with the amp repair guy. So, we stop by Cathal’s place to borrow one of his amps, before tearing it down to Cork. Hopefully this amp works better than Kieran’s.

Cathal’s van has a DVD player, so Gouj sticks on the Sopranos and proceeds to explain the Italian phrases, themes and plot lines of the show. Marron. Dublin is lovely and sunny and the weather has us all in a good mood for the journey, which flies by amidst the Borgata and Cafone of the Sopranos.

When we get to the venue to load in the gear, the humidity of New Jersey is replaced by the rain of Cork. We get drenched hauling drums, guitars and amps up the stairs of Cyprus Avenue, but our soundcheck goes well, Cathal’s amp sounds good after a bit of tweaking and the new songs we are going to play tonight are coming together well.

After the soundcheck, we walk around the corner through the rain to the Victoria Hotel, a strange spot populated by English stag nights and detached hotel staff. It smells like my Auntie’s house (weird). Our rooms are on the top floor at the extreme far end of the building, a long way away from the hotel reception, bar and most of the rest of the guests. We talk about whether they put all the bands that stay here in this ghetto, and decide that they probably do. Once we get rid of our soaked clothes, we leave to grab some food and head back to the venue.

I caught a bit of Grand Pocket Orchestra, who were on before us and then went backstage with the lads to write out the set list and grab a few beers to settle my nerves. After a pretty shaky start, tonight’s gig goes pretty good. I spend most of it trying to not hit my head on the low beam to my right, and Ro to my left. I manage to avoid the beam, but hit Ro with my bass a couple of times. We are playing longer sets so we can try out new songs and, by the end of the gig, it has worked out. The crowd performed better than we did, dancing and clapping, and gave the new songs a fantastic reception.

Lots of people came up to us asking for our guitar plecs afterwards, and I end up giving all of mine away. I should have thought this through; we have another gig tomorrow. One guy asks us to sign his passport. I write “do not let this man into America”. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt him. We meet two girls called Carmen tonight, Carmen from Spain (who is living in Cork) and Carmen from Germany (who flew over to see the gig). It’s always pretty mad to hear from people that have only heard our music because of the internet, even better when they actually like the tunes.

We finish the night off in the Bróg, a sawdust-and-bedlam pub down the road from Cypress Avenue, and the place where we played some of our earliest and best gigs in Cork. Cian the manager sorts us out with beers (thanks Cian!) and Grand Pocket Orchestra join us in trying to get some free barbeque (didn’t happen) one last run through the lashing rain and myself Kieran and Ro hit the sack, tomorrow is another day, hopefully Galway isn’t raining.

Saturday 5th July – Roisin Dubh, Galway

Well, it’s still raining. More Sopranos beckons but first, we have a dilemma. In Cork city-centre, our van is in danger of getting locked into the pedestrian area when the bollards come up at 11am. We still have to load up our gear (which we left in the venue last night so we could go to the Bróg). The van is parked outside, waiting for the cleaning staff to arrive. Cathal has been up since 7am moving it from one side of the road to another to avoid getting clamped and isn’t in the mood for this added stress, although he puts it a different way (with more colourful language). He’s adamant that (a) we’ll be trapped until the evening, (b) we’ll never get to Galway and (c) he cannot be convinced otherwise. The lads are back at the hotel so I wake up the venue owner, who is delighted to hear from me that early in the morning. He tells me over the phone that the pedestrian barriers will only stop people driving into to the pedestrian area, not those driving out, obviously. I thank him profusely on Cathal’s behalf, but the phone goes dead, I consider calling him back but then think better of it. After I buy some new plecs in a music shop nearby, we go for a coffee across the road and wait for the cleaners to arrive. Within an hour we are on the road to Galway.

The Roisín Dubh in Galway is one of the best venues in Ireland, and even though it’s raining again, I enjoy carrying the gear along the side of the canal into the back entrance of the venue. All the walls there and outside the apartment where the bands stay are covered with graffiti and it’s always interesting to see what’s changed since the last time you were there. Ollie is our sound man tonight and he’s just driven down from Donegal to make it to the gig. He must be knackered but he doesn’t show it. Ollie is probably one of the coolest people you could ever meet, a tall thin man with long blond hair and a flowing beard. I’m not sure what age he is but if you see him, say hello, he knows his tunes.

Tonight’s gig was stunning. We played out of our skins, making up for last night’s hesitancy. We never sweated so much in our lives. The place was full and the crowd really got into the set. At one stage, I could see that a group of people who had been sitting at the back of the venue at the start of the gig, were all up on their chairs clapping and dancing. A spotlight in the room singled out one fella in particular. He seemed to be enjoying it almost as much as we were.

Halfway through the gig, one of the lads from Disconnect 4 came up onstage to present us with the Roisín Dubh award for album of the year. That was a massive deal for us – we haven’t won many awards and this one was extra special to us. Gugai, who runs the Roisín, was one of the first people to give us a gig, when we couldn’t even get gigs in Dublin. He has been one of the biggest supporters of unsigned bands we have ever come across.

When we were first coming to this venue we saw records by Jape, Giveamanakick and David Kitt in plaques on the wall of the bar, long before we even had enough songs for an album. It was a great feeling to see our record sitting in that bar alongside them, things like that make you feel like you’re doing something right.

After we were presented with the award, Kieran got the bottle of champagne Gugai kindly donated and opened it onstage with his teeth (almost cracking them) spraying the crowd and us before we got on with the show.

We finished the gig off with two of us on the DJ box knocking over bottles and jumping around. It was an amazing gig, and one of those times I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Being in a band is just the right balance of really shitty times and really fantastic times; this was one of the best.

Sunday 6th July – Galway to Dublin

The weather finally does us a favour. It’s sunny and we wake up to the smell of Cathal cooking us breakfast. Despite our foggy heads, we’re in good spirits. I have vague memories of us swapping Sopranos impressions in the packed smoking area of the Roisín Dubh last night, so it must have been a good night. It’s been a good idea to play these gigs, they have gone much better than we could have imagined, and by the time we arrive in Dublin, the evening is just kicking in, it’s still bright and warm, and I’m looking forward to Oxegen.

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