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AU57: AU Tour feature

June 1, 2009

Just by way of explanation, this was a lead news feature to promote the AU/Livewire Irish tour that the mag put together to celebrate its sixth birthday in June 2009, featuring And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank and a host of local supports.

AU tour

TOUR DE FORCE

ASIWYFA AND ADEBISI SHANK GEAR UP FOR AU’S MASSIVE SIXTH BIRTHDAY TOUR

Here at AU, we like a good shindig. For our launch party back in 2003, Therapy? laid waste to the Mandela Hall in Belfast. On a sunny Sunday in 2006, our third birthday saw the cream of NI bands take over the Spring & Airbrake, Limelight and Katy Daly’s in Belfast in an all-day, three-roomed extravaganza. And last year’s fifth birthday saw us repeat the trick in Derry, as Sandino’s played host to Fighting With Wire and the best of the new breed. This year, however, we’re going one better.

To celebrate six years of publishing, AU is teaming up with Livewire Promotions to take two of the best Irish bands from north and south on a tour across Ireland. The first two weeks of July will see the tour hit Tralee, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Derry and Belfast. Representing the north, we have the mighty And So I Watch You From Afar. They’ve barely been off tour all year, bringing their seismic brand of instrumental rock to fans across the UK and Ireland, and the AU tour comes hot on the heels of European dates with stoner rock legends Clutch.

Joining ASIWYFA is another loud, intense instrumental band, the frankly astonishing Adebisi Shank. Last seen in Belfast as guests at ASIWYFA’s huge album launch gig at the Mandela Hall, the Wexford trio infuse their mathy, technical sound with a large dose of punk energy, often at the risk of injuring themselves as guitarist Lar and bassist Vinny leap around – and off – the stage. Each gig on the tour will also feature local support, while rising stars the Panama Kings will fill in for Adebisi at the final date in Belfast.

Speaking to AU, ASIWYFA guitarist Tony Wright says he’s looking forward to getting out and about around Ireland, playing small venues (and a new town, Tralee) at a time when they regularly sell out decent sized venues across the water. “The last shows we did with Maybeshewill in Cork, Limerick and Dublin were all fuckin’ brilliant,” he enthuses. “We’re a bit ashamed of ourselves in the fact that we’ve been over to England about 10 times more than we’ve played shows in the south of our country, but we’re looking to change all that. We’ve been getting down a lot more and the crowds are steadily growing. Letterkenny, Limerick and Dublin were all sold out and the crowds were all totally up for it and going totally bananas. It’s great, because it’s smaller venues and the crowd are totally in your face and absolutely insane. It’s brilliant, it’s just like starting over again. It’s so much fun to be able to retrace those steps in different places.”

And is there anywhere in particular that the ASIWYFA man is looking forward to playing? “I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to every single one. It’s brilliant getting down. We get on really well with our southern buddies, and we’ve made a lot of friends down there the times that we’ve been down. Every time we’re down, people are just so nice to us, and they all love our accents! Seriously man, the girls go wild for the northern accent!”

Romantic opportunities aside, Tony reckons that the importance of the north-south link-up and an Irish tour is not to be underestimated. “It’s great to finally have things building up between the north and south and starting to get a gig network going,” he says. “It’s been long overdue and I think it’s really positive. That’s all we try to do – anything in a positive way, and the more connections that open up between the north and the south, the better. An infrastructure for a gig network – it’s ridiculous that we don’t have more stuff in place. So this is an absolutely golden opportunity – we can’t wait.”

“It’s really important,” adds Adebisi drummer and Richter Collective (BATS, Not Squares, Enemies) label boss Mick Roe. “For a long time, there seems to have been a Northern Irish music scene and a southern Irish music scene. Bands would go up and down but there’d be no real communication like there seems to be starting now, with the State and AU clubs and other stuff like that. I think it’s starting to take off, anyway.”

The two bands have played together before, notably at the first ever Club AU in Belfast last year, and are good friends – Tony even tells us that he and Mick have planned a trip to Italy for later in the year, staying at his aunt’s place. (“Me and him are just going to go over and drink red wine for a week. We planned it as a bit of a joke, but now it seems to be becoming reality.”) The AU Sixth Birthday Tour, however, will be the first ever time the bands have been out on the road together, and Mick is audibly excited when we ask him about the prospect. “We’ve never toured with them before,” he admits. “We’ve only played a couple of one-off shows in Dublin and Belfast, but never got out around Ireland. We’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time but never round to it yet. It’s gonna be fun!”

There’s no doubt that the crowds will have fun as well, as these two bands are known for their facemelting live performances. Adebisi, in particular, have made something of a career – in the North at least – of show-stealing support performances, the kind that makes you feel the headliners may as well pack up and go home. When they’re on form, there’s no following them. ASIWYFA, however, are not just any band, and Tony baulks at the suggestion that Adebisi will be throwing down the gauntlet, challenging ASIWYFA to outdo them.

“No, it’s almost the opposite,” he says. “When we were in Brighton doing the Great Escape festival we were on after a band called The Computers, and they were fuckin’ awesome – just proper punk rock. They completely psyched us up, and on the LaFaro tour [in England and Scotland], they are my favourite band on the planet and getting to go on after them every night was just absolutely mind-blowing.

“It just pumps you up, and with Adebisi as well, you don’t feel like you’re in competition. You know you have to raise your game, but in no way in a competitive sense. In a totally non-cocksucking way, we all have the utmost respect for each other. We really respect what they’re doing and hopefully likewise. It’s great because I get to watch a band that I absolutely adore and jump about and go nuts, and then I can jump about and go nuts with my own band!”

Mark our words, dear reader, so will you.

SIDEBAR

THOSE DATES IN FULL

WHERE AND WHEN TO GET YOUR ROCK ON

July 2
ASIWYFA, Adebisi Shank & support
Club Head Bang Bang, Tralee

July 3
ASIWYFA & support
Lower Deck, Dublin

July 4
ASIWYFA, Adebisi Shank, I’ll Eat Your Face, Burn Us Both, Trev Moran
Pine Lodge, Cork

July 5
ASIWYFA, Adebisi Shank, I’ll Eat Your Face, My Mothers Son
Baker Place, Limerick

July 9
ASIWYFA, Adebisi Shank & support
Mason’s, Derry

July 10
ASIWYFA, Panama Kings & support
trans Festival, The Waterfront Hall, Belfast

SIDEBAR

ADEBISI SHANK HEART AU

“Fuckin’ AU is great stuff, like! I can’t believe it’s six years old. That’s a long time for a print publication, you’d be hard pressed for a good magazine to be running that long in the Republic, anyway. It’s ridiculously impressive that it’s managed to stay in print. And it’s great that it is available down here as well, because I remember the first time it came down here and the only place you could really get it was in Road Records. I’ve been an avid reader since!” Mick Roe

Sidebar

THE SUPPORT ACTS

I’LL EAT YOUR FACE

Joining the Cork/Limerick leg of the tour is Cork’s “party grindcore” duo I’ll Eat Your Face. Making the kind of noise that you would assume must come from an army of men, their riffs and powerhouse drumming are accompanied by a fairly ludicrous sense of humour. They describe themselves as a “two-man party pack, brimming with excellence and straddling the divide between the sound of a building site and an 8-year-old’s birthday party”. They don’t take themselves too seriously then, but they are a huge amount of kick-ass fun.
http://www.myspace.com/illeatyourfaceireland

BURN US BOTH

Another addition to the bill in Cork, Burn Us Both are a four-piece who boast a way with a meaty riff, a turn-on-a-dime rhythm section and some full-throated vocals. Passionate, anthemic alt.rock.

www.myspace.com/burnusboth

PANAMA KINGS

Former AU cover stars, they should need no introduction, but the Kings are a stellar addition to the Belfast bill. After having built a serious fanbase in NI, they’ve spent the last few weeks spreading their seed across the water, getting playlisted by BBC 6 Music, doing an acoustic session for them and playing gigs aplenty up and down Britain. Off the back of their latest single ‘Golden Recruit’, they’re also kicking off June as tour support for Ash across the south of England.

www.myspace.com/panamakings

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