tweety stuff @ronanfromcork
first published in @The Evening Echo 2015-12-24
Well hello again, it’s my annual attempt to pick out 12 gigs to catch in Cork over the Christmas period. I’ve picked something from 12 different pubs and venues. There’s a mix between different types of original music, cover materials and sessions; and to keep it easy on our wallets I’ve picked a lot of events that are free! There is so much on that I could have written a completely different list several times, so check all the venues Facebook pages for their full line-ups.
Thursday 24 December – Charlies Bar, Union Quay – 9pm
The best place for live music is the annual Christmas Eve session led by Hank & Ray, who have held their legendary Monday night session there for over 20 years, they always play a fantastic set of Americana, Bluegrass and Rock and Roll, but you can never be sure which Cork musician who is returning for Christmas will turn up and play a few songs.
Sunday 27 December –Bakestone, Ballyseedy – 1pm
For a more serene response to the high jinx of St Stephens Night, may I suggest a lunch in this gorgeous Café, while listening to the stylings of the Romanza Guitar Duo, who play an extensive repertoire of popular songs arranged for classical guitar; an ideal way of enjoying some live music with different generations of your family.
Monday 28 December – Live At St Lukes Church, St Lukes Cross – 8pm / Cyprus Avenue, Caroline Street 9pm
There are two fine options, one is a concert in St Lukes Church, a venue that has become a quickly become a gem on the local landscape, by the much loved The Hothouse Flowers, who having been wowing audiences for 30 years with their soaring Celtic Rock repertoire. At the same time across the city Le Galaxie, a Indie/Dance band who play are equally at home playing “bars and fields, tents and countries, parties and raves”, will be playing Cyprus Avenue; a lot of people are tipping this band to be one the next big Irish success stories.
Tuesday 29 December – An Spailpin Fanach, South Main Street – 9pm
A community music group who are based in Ballincollig over the last few years, The White Horse Guitar Club, play a monthly session in the city and this Christmas edition will be providing a soundtrack of well known songs mixed with lesser known numbers, between the many members of the group there are sometimes nearly 100 strings on stage at any one time!
Wednesday 30 December –Deep South, Grand Parade – 8pm / Bru Bar, MacCurtain Street – 9pm
The authentic American soul and R’n’B of Karen Underwood and her band The White Chocolates, never fails to impress and entertain any audience, and while she is holding court in Deep South, this year’s winner of The IMRO Christy Hennessy Songwriting competition, Mide Houlihan, will be taking the stage in Bru Bar with a selection of her own material and some fantastic versions of much loved songs.
Thursday 31 December – Cork Opera House – 8pm / The Oliver Plunkett – 11.30pm
While he is too young to be considered an institution just yet, Mick Flannery has been playing to a full Cork Opera House every New Year’s Eve for quite a few years now. His catalogue of songs is always growing but his standards haven’t dropped, with a new album due out in 2016 this will be a chance to hear some of his new songs.
A lesser known live music option for the night is a band that have been really building up quite a following in recent times, Ruby And The Nighthawks, they will be ringing in the new year with their tight rock sound, which is a great setting for her intimate vocals and powerful songs.
Friday 1 January – Sin E, Coburg Street – 6.30pm
Why not start the brand new year with some of the best Irish traditional music, while there are many sessions held as part of ‘The Lee Sessions’ all over the city 7 days a week, this weekly session in Sin E never fails to start a weekend, not to mention a year!
Saturday 2 January – Crane Lane, Pembroke Street – 9pm
What started as an occasional jam session with John Synnott and his friends has evolved into the fantastic Liquid Emotion, a band that are equally adept at improvised funk music as they are at 4 part harmonies, they play songs from acts as varied as Bill Withers to Vulfpeck.
Sunday 3 January – Coughlans Bar, Douglas Street – 9pm
Niall McCabe’s weekly Sunday night residency here has become a word of mouth legend in the Cork music scene, he and his band bring their ‘North Atlantic Soul’ sound to this great live music room, where his songs sit easily alongside the covers from people such as Van Morrison and Marvin Gaye.