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Ireland’s Emerging Talent – Taken, The Stoles & Travis Oak



Ireland’s Emerging Talent – Taken, The Stoles & Travis Oak 

Weekend Review – Dublin’s emerging pop scene    

Last Saturday, on invitation of their manager, I ventured into the Sugar Club on Leeson Street to see new Dublin boy band, Taken. The band had recently played at the Fountain Youth’s tree lighting ceremony to much fanfare from the locals.   Taken shared the stage with Fresh Ré, who, you may recall, covered Rhianna’s “We Found Love” in their own unique style of blending rap with more conventional pop. Fresh Ré have been enjoying their own measure of success, appearing on Imelda May’s show twice this year. While Mullingar native and semi finalist of RTE’s “The Voice”, Jay Boland completed the line up.

Admittedly late (I’ve never been in the Sugar Club prior) I met up with Taken’s manager, Paddy Fogarty,  for a pre-performance chat. Paddy explained the show was put on to say a thank you to all of Taken’s die-hard fans, who have never been shy to show their support to the lads. He pointed out the band’s popularity had soared quite spectacularly and they were quite grateful.


fresh re

At about this point, I was ushered into a private barroom where the acts were hard at practice. In what was a very sweet image, one very young fan came in for a photograph and autograph. Clare Lambert, who was only…wait for it, 4 years of age!  The band was only too happy to oblige. I could hear the fans screaming their heads off, in what was for me, intimidating anticipation for their heroes, Taken, to take to the stage.  When they finally did,  the decimal level could have caused tinnitus!  They’re performance was more polished and professional than I had previously seen, it was clear that these lads were putting the work in and becoming something altogether special. Remember you heard it here first folks!

While Taken was on the stage, they were joined by Fresh Ré, Cian, and Paddy Dunne to combine for a special rendition of Oasis’s seminal classic “Wonderwall”. The show finished at 3.15pm with all performers leaving with the right to be proud The event was a great way for young teenagers to spend an evening and cheap too.  

Taken’s next gig will be at the Academy on Abbey Street in April.


The Stoles & Travis Oak at the Twisted Pepper

With my weekend’s work of covering Dublin’s emerging pop scene only half over, I once again braved the cold, this time  to Abbey Street’s “Twister Pepper” to check out new rock outfit, The Stoles. The band’s manager, Antoine, was kind enough to invite me to review the gig.  I had previously seen the band in Tower Records and was quite impressed by their ability.


Travis oak

I arrived at the venue just after 8.45 pm  and was greeted by Antoine and members of The Stoles.  Being a January show with money still tight after the Christmas excess, punters were initially slow to arrive but those that did were in for a real treat as the line up was just amazing.

Starting proceedings and as support to the Stoles was Travis Oak, which was a heavier vibe than the main act, something resembling a Guns n Roses/Nirvana hybrid (I’m sure neither Kurt nor Axl will be happy to hear that) but it worked.  The four piece originally from Cavan now based in Maynooth brought the venue alive.  This is what you need from your support band, to rev the crowd and Travis Oak certainly were capable of it.  Confident lead vocalist Michael Paterson provided jolts of electricity to the audience, while Aran Mc Gillick (bass) and lead guitarist Taran Plouzane proved that they were not afraid of a little crowd interaction by jumping in.  Drummer Killian Mc Court made sure that the grove was maintained and that crowd were never restless.    They are about to tour Scotland next month (February), if you live there check their Facebook and see if you can get to one of their shows, you won’t be disappointed.


The Stole

The Stoles themselves, arrived on stage at 10.30 pm, Antoine explained that the gig would be the last one for a while as the band was returning to the studio to write new material. The band seemed to realise the significance of the occasion as their performance brought the house down. This sophisticated indie rock ensemble provided an skilled blend of the stylistic choice of The Kaiser Chiefs and The Arctic Monkeys that is so prevalent at the moment.  I was particularly impressed by the track “Protest Song”, which can only be described as a foot stomper with an irresistible chorus.  While other main stay of their set list “Red House” is my own personal favourite,  I feel it’s a slightly moody affair.  The band wowed the crowd and was the perfect finish to a great night of music.  The Stoles will be doing an interview with us in the very near future so keep tuned.  

All in all my weekend gigging left me with a new found optimism for our home grown rock/pop scene.  No need to import, we got it all right here… 

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