Sunday, 28 October 2012

Eric Bell Band Brings The Blues To Bantry.

There's a little West Cork town famous for its blues, the: Bantry Blues.  They are a Gaelic football club.  On Saturday night (last night) I ventured out  to Bantry to see Eric Bell, the legendary guitarist and founder of Irelands' greatest rock group:  Thin Lizzy.

I had seen Thin Lizzy in 1981 in Manchester, but alas, not with Eric Bell.  In 1986 I saw Gary Moore at Milton Keynes Bowl, along with Magnum, Mamas Boys, Jethro Tull and Marillion.  Last night I finally got to see the legend that is Eric Bell.

How many times had the kids and me and the wife travelled over the tunnel road from Glengarriff to Kerry, singing 'Whiskey in the Jar'?

It was one of my rare nights going  out for a drink last night, and me and the missus walked through the door at nine o'clock, half an hour before we should of done.  Well, we had been brought up to be punctual in England, hadn't we?  Anyway we walked up the stairs and walked into a bar with a wooden dance floor and a small stage.  We purchased a couple of drinks and noticed the great man (Eric Bell) setting up and tuning and doing the old:

"One two,  One two."

Mr Bell was deadly serious and he tuned his two guitars and his fuzz box and all the other P.A equipment for at least half an hour.  I know - I timed it.  We realised we were watching a professional.  The room filled up a bit more and the drummer talked to us about Neil Peart, Neil Young and working with the legend that is Eric Bell.

Something passed ten.  The Eric Bell band came on stage.  They played lots of blues, the Shadows and Rory Gallagher and of course, 'Whiskey In the Jar'.  I was in my rock and roll heaven.  The blues reminded me of the guitar duel in the fantastic film:  Crossroads.  Wasn't it Steve Vai who played the devil playing guitarist?  Coincidentally my old friend Pat, who regular leaves comments on here, is going to see Steve Vai tonight in Warsaw.  Small world eh?

Pat always says the small venues are best.  I couldn't agree more.  If you're ever in West Cork check out: The Mariner and it's down stairs restaurant:  The Brick Oven. It's a great venue,  and the natives are really friendly and it was FREE to get in  You never know you may see a legend like Eric Bell.  There is a great video of him and the late, great Gary Moore playing 'Whiskey in the Jar in Dublin.    Check him out on You Tube or better still go and see him and the band!

Here's the guitar duel from Crossroads featuring Steve Vai.

See you later!


  1. Great report, Dave, you're right the venue is equally important as the performer. Sounds like you had a really good night, did the missus enjoy it?

  2. Thanks Pat. The venue means so much, you're so right. It puts you're mind in the right mood for the music. It was like watching Emerson Lake and Palmer or Blue Oyster Cult. I hung on to every beat and melody and got totally lost in the music. Perhaps I am finally mature enough to listen and appreciate great music?

    She said I looked like the oldest rocker in town when I put the Kansas T shirt on you gave me. I wasn't though and there were other good old boys drinking whisky and rye. I am starting to sound like Don McLean's American Pie lyrics:

    "I just dig those rhythmic blues."

    The wife wasn't so keen on the blues but she loved the heavy rock.
    It was a great venue and concert but to be fair Eric Bell should be playing at a lot bigger venues in Cork and Dublin...? Not that I am complaining and he looked like he still really enjoys playing live.


  3. Nice to see the live music surviving in the smaller venues, unbelievable that it's free. This doesn't seem to happen in England.

    Long may it last, and pleased you got out and had a good night, wish I could have seen the Kansas T-shirt.

    Rain again here, overcast, windy and miserable, if a bit warmer. Back to normal.
    Raggy cat enjoying the delights of lying in front of the fire again, after sampling the rind from the bacon.

  4. Hi Cumbrian. You can't beat live music can you? None of this digitally mastered stuff. Just a good old fashioned band with drums, Bass and a lead/rhythm guitar.

    It was really surreal, because one minute there was an audience of 4, then nine, then twenty, then 9, then about fifty. I suppose it was wth it being free, people just came and went and you had a mixed audience of all ages. Also they even gave free food (baskets of potato fries and they would bring you a pizza to your table, if you paid for it) and the barmaid came round taking drink orders. I bet the Cavern was like that when the Beatles started?

    We left about ten past twelve (missus drove home, one cider, 4 cokes, I had 5 Murphy's stout) and the band were still playing.

    I don't go out much at night these days and I was really surprised how many lads and lasses (nice frocks) where standing outside the pubs, freezing, all for a cigarette. I counted twenty people outside one pub! Why are smokers treated so badly? Then they wonder why the pubs are closing down.

    Domino is in the log shed today. Number one son found some mouse droppings. Touch some great pictures of Domino, will post them on the blog, this week.

    Trying to rain here and very windy.


  5. Wonderful stuff, Dave, do you like Kansas, Cumbrian?

  6. Kansas? Don't know Pat, never been there.
    Never been to USA, nearest I ever got was Dominican Republic. Mrs wants to see Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, so maybe next year. Hardest part's the flight, too long in very uncomfortable miniscule seats; I swear they're designed by Japanese who are all 5'-3" tall and weigh 7 stones, not for the average more substantial European or American types.

    Nice of the Mrs to drive home and let you enjoy the Murphys, how does it compare with the home brew?
    Yes, you've got to feel sorry for the smokers, they're not lepers and it's not illegal, rules made to appease the politically correct do-gooders, who probably never or very infrequently step inside a pub.
    Hope Domino performs his duties in the log shed, looking forward to seeing his pics.

    Still pouring down, raggy cat still sleeping.

  7. Sounds like a great thing to have seen.

    And, thanks for your good wishes on my little blog's first birthday! Cheers

  8. Kansas is the great band who did 2 classic songs; Dust In the Wind and Carry On You Wayward Son. Pat saw them in Berlin and they are the one group I want to see more than any other.

    Pat's been to America and seen the Grand Canyon. No doubt he will tell you all about it? My ambition is to do the Route 66 some time with him and perhaps see the Amish in Pennsylvania.

    Viva Las Vegas. It sounds one amazing place doesn't it? I would also like to go to Newfoundland and Canada. One day perhaps?

    The Murphy's was excellent. It's very rare to get a bad pint of stout in Ireland. Like the home brewing, you have got to give it time, especially when pouring it.

    It was good not to breathe in smoke but I can't see why all pubs and clubs can't have rooms for smokers. I would imagine you get a lot of trouble making people go outside for a drink?

    Domino will hopefully encourage the rodents to live elsewhere. We seem to have registered livestock and the 'wild' unregistered kind.

    Pitch black at 6 tonight. Throwing it down and very windy. Cattle all locked in for the night, with straw bed and straw filled mangers. No doubt they will leave me lots of presents in the morning. Well the potatoes will like it anyway!

    Hope Raggy cat is left to sleep? Missus always asks about him!

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  9. Hi Carole. No problem. I enjoy reading your blog. Do you ever get to see any rock bands.


  10. Now I just looked up Google and see that the main export of Andorra is its wool from Andorra goats - I never knew that!

    I don't get to see many bands - the last one was a Leonard Cohen concert (fantastic) and before that Carole King and James Taylor (also fantastic). We are going to see Emmylou Harris in about a month's time - my better half just adores her....


  11. I would like to see Leonard Cohen in concert. His lyrics are so poetic.

    Don't get to see many band myself, we live fifty or sixty miles from the nearest city, Cork.

    Enjoy Emmylou Harriss.


  12. Cumbrian, I've only been to the US once, going around Utah and Arizona, but I absolutely loved it, and I'd love to spend a few years properly looking at as mamy States as possible.

    The red rock national parks in Utah are incredible, especially Zion National Park, and, of course, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is great. Another good thing about the US is that English Real Ale and micro-breweries have spread like wild fire. For example, in of all places, near the centre of Salt Lake City, I had the honour of visiting a place called Squatter's Brewery, and drank some of the finest Real Ale I've ever tasted. If I remember rightly this place had 24 different brews, and gave you a small sample of each if you wanted.

  13. Thanks for that Pat. Great to hear that they brew Real Ale in America. Wish they did in Ireland.

    Think I would like also go to Memphis (Grace-lands, home of the king) Texas (rodeo) and hopefully see some good old southern boogie bands along the way. How long does it take to fly to America? I believe there are container ships that carry passengers from the UK? Don't fancy going at the moment, what with hurricane Sandy about to hit the Western seaboard. I often say nature is wonderful, it can also be very cruel!


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