On Thursday 11th April i embarked on my 3rd visit to Dublin Ireland i first went to Dublin in 2009 to see u2 at Croke Park along with some of the best friends a guy like me could have, and what some people do know is how hard it was for me to travel there back then because you see my brother was killed by an I.R.A sniper in 1993 while he was serving in the British Army.
Now though i have made 3 trips to Dublin and each trip gets better and better and by the end of this one i did not want to leave. One of the main reasons i was going was to finally meet a band i had been giving airtime to since November 2011when i was at college and now on Black Diamond FM the band are called Friends of Emmet.
In the run-up to this meeting and subsequent live performance i had palyed the band many times on the What’s New In Music Show and the Friday Rock Show and everytime i play them people contact me to say how much they like the band and indeed people contact me to ask if i will be playing them on the show to which my answer is “of course”, as well as playing the bands songs i have interviewed bassist Keith Geraghty many time on my shows and as Keith stated one night he does not see them as interviews he sees it as a chat between two good friends and indeed i like to think that Keith and i have become good friends.
On one particular Friday night i was given the honour of playing the whole of Friends of Emmet’s debut album State of Mind and even now i am the only person in the world to have done so on radio and for that honour i will always be grateful,on that night Keith joined me live on the phone from Dublin and we spoke about the band, the songs and anything else we could think of and it was on that night that Keith asked me if i would introduce the band on stage for their first ever “Hometown Gig” which was taking place at The SugarClub in Dublin on Thursday 11th April and of course i said yes i felt very humble at being asked such a thing.
So Thursday night i made my way to a pub next door to the venue with my friends Dawn, Gaz, Kev and Carol and met Keith for the first time ever and it felt like i had met a family member i had not seen on years but to finally meet Keith in the flesh was brilliant, also there was Brian Lynam guitarist with the band and i was also introduced to Niall Fennessy who is a brilliant photographer (www.livethroughalens.com) and we chatted like we had been friends for years.
We left the pub and went to the SugarClub (which is a great venue for a gig as i had been there the previous year) and i met the rest of the band Mark Leddy (Vocals and Guitar) Tim Boland (Guitars and Keyboards) and Gary Sullivan (Drums) and they made me feel very welcome and a part of the night for which i will be forever grateful.
I interviewed Keith and Mark (which you can listen to below) andd we chatted away about the band, the songs and the future it was a very relaxed chat which could have lasted the whole night given the chance as these guys are very passionate about what they do and what they stand for.
However i had a job to do on the night i had to introduce the band on stage something i had never done before in my life, now i present radio shows, i have done interviews, i have interviewed some very famous people (Dougray Scott, Mike Peters, Bruce Watson to namedrop a few) but i do not think i have felt as nervous as i did on this night in my life, luckily the spotlight was right in my face so i could not really see anyone andi just went for it, i tried to get the crowd really up for the gig and i hope i did just that.
The band came on stage and played an absolute cracker of a gig, it lasted over an hour and the time flew past andit was over before i knew it but the reaction from the crowd was amazing they erupted when the band finished and applauded for a long time becuase in my opinion they had just witnessed one of the best gigs they will probably see in a long time it was full of passion and great songs.
After the gig the band came out and mingled with everyone which was great to see because as i have got to know this band i know that they appreciate their fans and anyone who supports them and i think they enjoyed spending time speaking to everyone there.
Sadly it was time to leave and go to my hotel but walking down Grafton Street with my friends i felt like i had been part of a special moment in my life and was glad i shared it wiith friends, indeed at one point in the night i took a picture of the band on stage with my phone and i posted it to Twitter and Facebook and i got a reply to it from my friend Tillie Elvrum who said “Do ya feel like a proud dad watching them?” i laughed so hard at that comment and the simple answer was yes, yes i did i have watched tis band go from strength to strentgh and hopefully doing my part along the way to get them to where they want to go, they have played in Canada, The U.S and now Dublin let’s hope it is not too long before we see then over here in Scotland and i can get them into the Black Diamond studio for a live session and chat because yes i have promoted them on my shows and on social media but they have done the same for the station and myself.
However in amongst the great time we had there is also a message they give out, Friends of Emmet are huge promoters of Mental Health Awareness and thier first single release Coming Apart deals with this issue in a massive way and again you can hear me talking to Keith and Mark about the video in the chat we have, i would urge anyone to watch the video for Coming Apart and not be moved by it especially when you find out the unbelieveable story behind the video about Kevin Hines (which you can find here http://www.kevinhinesstory.com/ ) i urge anyone and everyone to watch the video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxAP8ns6mQg Kevin is the guy in the white shirt) this issue of mental health is a big one for the guys and myself as i and others i know have suffered from mental health issues and the band and indeed myself urge people to look out for signs of mental health issues in people you know and love.
Friends of Emmets single Coming Apart is out now on I-Tunes and other outlets and was Black Diamond’s “Single of the week” thier debut album “State of Mind” will be released in September and hopefully a tour will soon follow.
This band are a great bunch of guys, great musicians and care which in this day and age is a great thing.
You can find more information at the following about Friends of Emmet.
My Friends of Emmet shirt in the photographs was designed by Gaz Punk
Pictures courtesy of Niall Fennessy www.livethroughalens.com