We were put up in huge style in Dublin with the Crowleys, whose kindness we greatly appreciated in housing us for multiple nights and putting us on at the FABULOUS night, The House Presents. Anne got the princess bed, relinquished by Alice Crowley who gave us her bedroom. Mitch the Jack Russell made sure we felt welcome.
The House Presents featured an incredible spoken word artist called Sean Cavanego and a great stand up comedian, Ger. It was beautiful and lovingly curated – the dream gig, a night where the organisers really care about it and an eclectic crowd of people are keen to engage. Just look how beautiful it was:
Then we had a night off. We drove to Sandino’s in Derry to drop off a mandolin with Paul, who was due to join us the next day. We went to Donegal and found some donkeys, we dented the boot of the fiesta reversing into a wooden post outside a fancy new build big hoose near Carrickart. It was dusk, we were tired, our hearts sank…we pressed the buzzer. The owner emerged, cheerily asked how we were. I got a bit stuttery and English and embarrassed and said, ‘ er, I’m awfully sorry, but we’ve bumped one of your posts and it’s rather lopsided,’ expected some unhappiness on his part to ensue. He started reassuring us he’d fix it the next day almost as if HE had broken OUR wooden post. I asked if he would like us to help fix it or if he wanted our name, and he just waved us off cheerily as if we’d just delivered a winning lottery ticket.
We spent a night off in Downings, found some donkeys and amazing Irish scenery:
Also it has been HOT, like T-Shirt hot.
I was a nervous about the next gig. I’d called the owner of Rodden’s in Buncrana on a friend’s recommendation. When Hilary at Rodden’s answered the phone, I’d said we were on tour and had a couple of dates to fill. I’d barely finished my sentence when he said that was fine, we’d play for 2 hours 9-11pm on Sunday 5th. I asked him whether he didn’t want to perhaps hear the music first and see if it was suitable for the venue. He said he’d just see us then. At the time, I thought, ‘wow! That was easy! Awesome! Next!.’ But as the day got closer I got more and more perplexed about it.
So clearly two hours is a bit different to a 30 min indie-schmindie singer-songwriter set. I wasn’t quite sure what they would want. Also, Anne hasn’t had time to learn all the candythief back catalogue and I’ve probably forgotten how to play some. So I was trying to think ahead but obviously we had been busy petting donkeys, so Sunday came round and I was getting unreasonably flustered about what to play. Candythief and covers? More covers than originals? what covers?
When we got to Rodden’s and found Hilary, who had booked us, we rapidly found common ground in shared appreciation of the bluegrass band Hayseed Dixie, whose rockin’ bluegrass versions of rock classics in the album ‘Let there be Rockgrass’ are monuments in popular culture. It became clear (as indeed various people had assured me it would) that the atmos was relaxed in the extreme. The punters were vocal in engaging with the music in a most friendly and forthcoming fashion; one of them lamented that he was supposed to be going home but he was being kept here because he wanted to hear another, which was a high-quality problem as far as we were concerned. So we dug in and rocked out for two and a half hours, gradually running out of originals and digging out the Tom Waits, gospel, traddy, and eventually Johnny Cash etc; until the whole place was singing wagon wheel with us. We had a brilliant time. Everyone in Ireland has been astonishingly friendly.
Also they have posh versions of Spa. With Gold embossed frontages.