not a member? click here to sign up
A VIBE FOR PHILO
A VIBE FOR PHILO (The Ringside Club, Dublin)
John Walshe, 11 Jan 1995
A VIBE FOR PHILO (The Ringside Club, Dublin)
COULD IT really be nine years since the tragic news of Philip Lynott’s death was broadcast around the world? It still feels like only yesterday that his face adorned posters all over the country advertising the albums and gigs. The large turnout tonight proved that the legacy of Philip Lynott lives on in his hometown. He will not be forgotten.
The ninth Vibe featured mainly local artists performing their, often moving, interpretations of the songs of Ireland’s first real Rocker through both music and spoken word. Smiley Bolger was our genial host for the evening’s entertainment, beginning by informing the artists that they had as much time on stage as he had on the Beatbox each Sunday. Bernard Marr and friends got the ball rolling with a reggae ‘Solo In Soho’, before Brian Roche and Joey Chester from Roche, tore into a passionate acoustic run-through of ‘The Cowboy Song’ and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, Brian sounding rather like David Gray on the latter.
Sonny Condell’s take on ‘Dear Heart’ struck a chord as he plaintively sang, “The man with the broken heart filled with lead/Suffered for what he believed/The fighting’s over now/The man is dead.” Whipping Boy frontman Ferghal McKee recited a poem worthy of gracing any stage, looking and sounding like a cross between Behan, Joyce and McGowan. This alone would have been worth the price of admission.
Something Happens’ Tom Dunne and Ray Harman performed a short but sweet acoustic ‘Old Town’ while poet Trevor McCormack recited two poems, including ‘The Hero And The Madman’. Damian Dempsey, described by Smiley as “the Bob Marley of Dublin”, lashed into three Lizzy tracks in perfect Dublinese, informing us all that the boys wer’ well an’ truly back in towen (sic).
Bree Harris and her band injected some oomph back into the proceedings with a full electric show, including a blistering ‘King’s Call’: Bree’s larynx brought the sounds of 70s rock back to life, but fuck it, it sounded great. An Emotional Fish’s vocalist Ger Whelan, ably accompanied by a freshly shorn David Frew on acoustic guitar and Mick Flynn on accordion, gave a moving rendition of ‘Dublin’, and Philo’s ‘Freedom Song’ took on an extra dimension when recited by Paddy Armstrong of the Guildford Four.
Mark Dignam was magnificent, and proved for me to be the highlight of the night. “Are you ready to folk?” he grinned, upon taking the stage, before singing a beautiful acapella ‘Sarah’ with the audience joining in singing and clapping. His ‘Little Girl In Bloom’ brimmed over with emotion, a superb performance that had everyone looking for more.
Then came one of the more obscure acts, The White Sparrows, comprising three kids who launched into ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ and ‘Parisienne Walkways’. The lead guitarist couldn’t have been older than 11 and yet his solos were magnificent.
At this point we watched a piece of Shay Healy’s moving documentary, In His Own Words, which left a lump in many a throat, before members of Lizzy tribute bands, along with Robbo and Brian from the original band, performed a scorching set including Lizzy standards such as ‘Waiting For An Alibi’ and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’. Robbo proved he hasn’t lost any of his prowess as an axeman, and his voice isn’t too bad either as he showed on an acoustic ‘Borderline’.
As the show approached its finale, Philip’s mother, Philomena Lynott spoke eloquently and from the heart, expressing her thanks to everyone present for loving her son. Gus Curtis, Philip’s personal roadie, recited ‘Wild One’ as a poem. A Dutch band, Lola De Musika, filming a documentary for Dutch TV, then took to the stage, before the mesmerising sax-playing of Richie Buckley, having just finished working on the A Woman’s Heart gig at The Point, injected some beautiful blues into the proceedings.
Two o’clock drew near, and all that remained to be done was a mammoth version of ‘Still In Love With You’ with nearly all the performers back on stage. A quick run through ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ and it was all over for another year.
Next year, being the tenth anniversary of Philip’s death, promises to be a huge event, according to Smiley Bolger, with The Point already booked and names like Jon Bon Jovi, Huey Lewis and Henry Rollins already being mentioned. But for now, another fitting tribute to The Rocker had ended, and the message couldn’t have been clearer. Philip, we are still in love with you.
• John Walshe