On the Right Track: Concert as told by traveling columnist

By: Colleen McDaniel – Flyer Radio Correspondent

“Here we are then. That’ll be 8.40, love. Cheers! Have a grand night,” the cab driver said to me and three of my friends as we arrived at our venue.

We hop out of the cab and onto the “footpath” in “Stab City,” more formally known as Limerick, Ireland—a smallish city found in the southwest corner of the country.  It’s been a long day of train hopping, protest watching and a lot of nearly getting lost, but we’ve finally arrived at our destination for the night: a Little Green Cars concert.  The venue is small.  No, the venue is a hole-in-the-wall, small blue building with a wooden sign that reads “Dolan’s Pub.”  We walk into the pub lined with people filling up on chips and pints.  All I can think to myself is that we’ve crossed the country from Dublin only to come to the wrong place.  There is no way a band would fit in this place. I can barely push my way past the crowds of men watching the Rugby World Cup, Bulmers ciders in hand.

Making our way to the back, we come to a courtyard-like room where a poster hangs on the wall with “Little Green Cars @ Dolan’s Pub. Over 18’s only” printed across the page.  Yet another door is in the back of the pub leading to the room where the band will be performing.  Grand! We’ve made it!

We sit at a table and wait for the doors, which don’t open until 20:00 (8 p.m.).  Naturally, I grab a Guinness, and we sit and talk about our excitement.  About an hour later, after meeting two other American girls who are studying in Limerick, the doors open.  I approach the door, passport in my right hand, pint in my left.  I’m the last of my friends to enter, and the guard stops me.

“Here it comes,” I think to myself, “that good ‘ole Irish sense of humor.”

“Colleen McDaniel? Irish are ye?” The guard asks me.

“That I am,” I respond.

Looking back at my passport and up at me he gives me a rejecting nod.

“No?!” I said, well used to this trick by now.  He gives me a kind smile, a quick laugh and waves me in.

I walk into an open room, twinkling lights on the ceiling, another bar off to the side, a stage without a barricade and Irish 20- and 30-somethings lining the room.  We find spots directly in the front of the stage.  Slowly but surely, the room fills up with Irish women prepared for a typical night out: high heels, red lipstick, gin and tonic.  A group of us stand and discuss the quirks of Irish culture with the Limerick University girls.

This is concert number…honestly, I’m not sure. I’m sitting on a train writing this and don’t have my list with me, but it’s probably around 57 or 58 that I’ve been to.  Straight out of the Columbus music scene, and not to sound too much like the music snob I know I am, I’ve pretty much seen it all.  An opening band comes on, but their accent is too thick for me to understand their name. Bloody Pigeons, maybe?  We’re not sure.  Either way, the opening band was treated no differently than they would have been in the states.  Everyone stands around and talks, few of us bob our heads in approval and more of us head to the bar or bathroom so we’re ready for the headliner to come on.  A bit too psychedelic for my taste, I’m not disappointed when they leave the stage without me ever catching their name.  The lights stay dim as the roadies prepare for Little Green Cars to come on.

Good humor, impressive vocals and a sound that sucks us all in, Little Green Cars puts on probably one of the most fulfilling shows I have experienced.  I found the band about three years ago with the release of their single “The John Wayne.”  Needless to say, it was easy to fall in love with their dynamic sound.  Their voices are instruments.  The female vocalist, Faye O’Rourke, who also plays guitar, wowed me with her ability to belt out lyrics in a seemingly effortless manner, as I tried to keep up, gasping for air in between notes.  They have a sound that envelopes their listeners.  Slow alternative rock with an Irish-folky influence is the only way I can describe them.

According to some Irish “freshers” (as they refer to their university first-years) I met one night in their on-campus pub, LGC is very alternative in the way of Irish music.  Makes me wonder how anyone in the states ever found them.  With only five members in the band, I may have spent an even amount of time fan-girling over each one of them.  The set list (which of course I stole from the stage) includes songs off their new album which should be released sometime next spring, as well as songs off their first (and only) album.  It was incredible.

What shocked me most was, after the concert, the band members came out and walked around the pub.  I first ran into Stevie Appleby—lead vocalist—who was standing by the entrance smoking.  Noticing my accent, he asked where I was from.  I told him Columbus, Ohio, and he got incredibly excited.  He went on and on about playing at the Basement—a tiny venue in the basement of the A&R Bar on Neil Avenue in the Arena District.  He wrote me a note on the set list, signing with “xox,” and I wished him my best as this was their last show in Ireland until after their American tour. I then ran into drummer, Dylan Lynch, who after a brief conversation mentioned CD 102.5—the local alternative radio station in Columbus.  I tried to explain that the BSide on WUDR Dayton Flyer Radio was even better.  We snapped a picture, then I made my way to talk with Donagh Seaver O’Leary, the bassist.  He told me all about their shows with Alt-J at the Basement, and I explained that I had missed it but was determined to see them before they left Ireland.  He thanked me and went on to greet other fans.

It was a “savage” night, and I can honestly say that it was the best possible way to spend my first full weekend in Ireland.  Maybe we can get them to come to Dayton, or at least call into the station.  Here’s hoping I can pull it off with my co-hosts Tom Tappel and Cameron Lenard.  Until then, tune into the BSide where we will keep you updated on the release of their new album—which, after hearing some of it last night, I can assure you will beat the sophomore album slump.

Cheers.