tweety stuff – @ronanfromcork
this was originally written for Cork Evening Echo and published in Downtown
“A good venue is as vital for music as much as a church is vital to religion; they are a necessity. Good venues are where musicians and fans congregate and share ideas, I realised recently that a lot of my musical taste comes all from one venue, without CBGBs in New York there wouldn’t have been The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads or Willy De Ville. When I was a teenager it was the Baggot Inn and McGonigles, I don’t think I’d have started An Emotional Fish, or loads of the other bands from that time would have started if it wasn’t for places like those. I think Coughlans in Cork is just like that now, I’m a very big fan of what Edel and Hassey (Brian Hassett) are doing there, it’s always great when a musicians gets involved with a venue” said Jerry Fish ahead of his return to Cork to play on the Friday night of the Coughlans Live festival which squeezes in 14 gigs in 5 days.
Wallis Bird who plays on the Sunday night carried on Jerry’s point, “art needs a home, so it’s incredibly important. If an artist has somewhere they can commune to or express from or feel inspired by then it’s only a great thing. Art creates culture and some places become natural magnets for artists, giving ‘soul’ to a community and life in general.
Hank Wedel, who opens proceedings on the Wednesday night with the launch of his new single ‘So Close’, also speaks highly of the venue’s organisers, “the people who own and run the Coughlan’s are tuned into musicians and songwriters in a very serious way, that’s unique to them, mainly because they themselves are musicians and artists themselves, well aware of what it takes to create and display. Like when I spoke to Coughlan’s about how I was planning to release a new single and they said it would would be a great way to start this years Festival!”
Edel Curtain, one of the proprietors of Coughlans, explained how she ended up involved with the venue, “at the time I was a full time a musician and saw how close up different venues were run. After one particularly bad gigging experience, I promised myself if I ever had the chance to set up a venue, it would be a venue for musicians run by musicians, a listening room in the city. Fortunately I found myself in a situation where it all became a possibility so I knew I had to pounce, Coughlans was always seen as ‘an old man’s bar’ and for it to be taken seriously as a music venue I felt we had to start as we meant to go on. I organised a weekend of music September two years ago with some amazing acts (Interference being a highlight) and with a lot of help and support, Coughlans Live was born. Each year the festival is the same weekend so it always falls on our birthday!”
In two short years, the venues growth and reputation has been outstanding, in 2013 they won the prestigious IMRO live music venue of the year, while valuing that Edel and the team are not ones to rest on their laurels, “we have been extremely fortunate with the calibre of musicians that want to play Coughlans. The challenge though is not just to have great acts one weekend of the year, it’s to have great acts all year round. The talent in Cork alone is phenomenal so we are very lucky in that respect. We do our best too to try to be versatile with what we put on, something that is becoming easier with time.”
She is very happy with how the 2014 edition of the festival has developed, “this year is slightly different to the past two festivals- it’s a bit more eclectic. We have two record launches, Anna Mitchell’s E.P. and Hank Wedel’s single. There are lots of free gigs for people to check out such as Jerry Fish, John Blek & The Rats, R.S.A.G, Booka Brass Band, The Hot Sprockets and our first Silent Disco. Some of the ticketed events include a concert by Mick Flannery. He has been a huge supporter of us from day one so we really wanted him to be part of the festival. Wallis Bird was one of the highlights from last year so we decided to ask her back this year again, she’s amazing live. I Draw Slow, Adrian Crowley and Katie Kim were acts we wanted to have for a while so the festival seemed like the perfect time.”
Speaking of a perfect time Wallis also had a theory about why this is a good time for the festival’s line up, “In the Celtic tiger, Irelands establishments were very supportive of original Irish music. Then that went tits up. During the recession people totally realised how important it was to leave your daily shit behind, go down to your local and lose yourself for an evening – Hence loads of cover bands getting a lot of work. People wanted to lose their shit to music they knew rather than having to ‘think’ over new songs that were reflective of the state of affairs. For me, finding places like Coughlans, where it’s all about supporting original music and knowing the worth of that expression, is the hub that makes it all worthwhile. We always need to support art before commerce.”
Jerry is looking forward to his gig and, “my band at Coughlans Live will feature Cait O’Riordan, the original bassist with The Pogues; Jeremy Hickey from RSAG; and Brum on Guitars, it’ll be a real rock and roll show. I don’t know yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my Cork based musicians friends join me!”
Wallis has slightly more defined plans for her time at Coughlans Live, “we’re flying in the evening beforehand just to see goodmanMick (Mick Flannery). I can’t wait. I’ll be the topless yolk at the back!”