When I think back over the years (there are so many of them), I realise that my life is littered with the gigs I missed.
I’m not talking about those familiar out-of-reach gigs – that Féile that you couldn’t get to cos, I dunno, you bought the ticket with your girlfriend/boyfriend and then you broke up so you couldn’t bring yourself, that time Luna played in New York the week before you were there (that one still hurts actually), etc etc.
No, what I’m referring to here is the gigs you didn’t make even when they were on your doorstep. Here are my Top 3.
1. Godspeed You Black Emperor
They’re back touring now after a long hiatus, but at one time the chance to catch GYBE live was very rare. And they played at The Forum in Cork in 2000 (that’s a venue, now deceased, which was part of the Grand Parade Hotel complex, butting up against the backstage of Sir Henry’s, sort of). I think it was March. I was all on to go and then I was struck down with some kind of bug. If it happened now, it wouldn’t stop me but I was young(er) then and blasé, a bit, and had not yet come to treasure like a first-born the one-off nature of outrageously good live shows. It was legendary, obviously, with the famous reported stand-off between the band/audience and promoters/bouncers at the end of the night.
2. The National
Yes, that National. Their first visit to Ireland was in 2002 (if memory serves), the Cork venue, Triskel Arts Centre (the part of the building now known as the TDC). Friends of mine were going but I passed (money may have been an issue). Picture a chance to see this band in a 100-seater venue now. The fact that they have become one of my favourite bands does nothing to lessen the pain. Needless to say, they haven’t played in Cork since…
3. Van Dyke Parks
This sneaks in on the basis that, although I was present, I only saw/heard 3 songs. It was Primavera 2010 and one of those awful festival stage clashes was in progress. VDP, Michael Rother & Friends and Atlas Sound all on stage more or less simultaneously. With hindsight, my strategy sucked – get the beginning of VDP, leg it out to Michael Rother and finish with the end of Atlas Sound. The fatal flaw lay in the fact that VDP was in the Auditorium, meaning one had to re-negotiate the main gate to reach the other stages. As I approached, the entire quota of ticket holders for the whole weekend seemed to be bottlenecking through the gates. 30 hellish minutes were spent in the dying Barcelona sun. I caught the last 2 songs of Rother’s set on ATP (sounded promising) and the last couple of Atlas Sound (ropey sound on Pitchfork), all the while picturing the sweet oasis I had left behind in the auditorium. The first 3 songs of the aimiable genius that is Mr Parks still constituted one of the best gigs I was ever at.
So, what I’m getting at with all this is…there are two gigs happening in Cork in August…while I’m away. They feature two Irish bands who I’ve never seen live and who have released between them some of my favourite music of 2012 (by anyone in the world). Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made, live a life with no regrets.
Go. Do it for me, people.
Hidden Highways & Peter Delaney
The Half Moon Theatre
Sat 11 Aug
€10/€8 (Booking fee may apply)
The G-Man presents… A Low Trees promotion
Yawning Chasm, North Side Drive & Rory Francis O’Brien
The Roundy, 1 Castle Street (Cork)
Friday 17th August
Doors at 9pm – first band at 9.30pm
RSVP to Facebook Event here