In this second part of “The West is Well and Truly Awake” article i decided to venture further into the unknown and bring you some of the original bands and artists that are making waves not just in  Castlebar but from around Ballina, Sligo and Galway. Only recently i have noticed the amount of acts that are storming out of the little town that is known as Ballina and further afield. There is a few artists that i will be discussing on this article that do not have any videos up on youtube yet and also some links may not yet be working but  i will try and fill you in with as much detail as possible. This follow up to the original article will give you an in dept look at what is happening around the western region when it comes to live original band’s and artist’s.

I will start with of one of Mayo’s finest Rock N Roll exports 21 Outs, 21 Outs have being  playing the live circuit in Ireland for a number of years now and you can always count on one hell of a Rock N Roll party when these lads come to town.

21 OUTS: Ballina/Sligo

21 outs


Rock ‘n’ Roll road dogs 21 OUTS are an energetic 3-piece band based in Sligo but lead front-man Philip Cassidy is originally from Ballina in County Mayo. 21 OUTS have emerged on to the scene in Ireland in the past few years sharing the stage with successful Irish bands such as Jape, Republic of Loose, The Kanyu Tree and The Coronas. They have appeared in Hotpress Magazine, several newspapers and have graced the front cover of Ink magazine. The 21 OUTS sound can best be described as old-school, rock n roll with a modern blues edge. However, the music has its softer moments, and the band is no stranger to the acoustic set.


21 OUTS are extremely hardworking and professional and have honed their craft having toured extensively around Ireland and have also taken their live show to Europe. 21 OUTS are renowned for their highly energetic performances and have been described as ‘one of the best live bands in Ireland’. I do hope to hear some new material from 21 Outs in 2013 and see the back on the road tearing up some chaos along the way.





Struck were the first band to ever play a Finbar Hoban Presents show in Bar Ritz back in 2008. The band were not even scheduled to play when the drummer had asked if i had any interest in giving them a twenty minute slot so i agreed. The band themselves have most certainly matured over the past five years.

Struck was formed in 2007 in Castlebar and has, to date, released two EP’s, with ‘Three Cheers for Lying’ in 2010 (recorded in Manor Park Studios, Antrim) and their new EP; Wake Up, Make Up having been released in 2012.

Made up of three members (Sean, Ger, and Jonathan) who have committed themselves entirely to the band, Struck has a sound reminiscent of the boys’ musical influences which include everything from Jimmy Eat World to Green Day to Katy Perry.

Made up of three members (Sean, Ger, and Jonathan) who have committed themselves entirely to the band, Struck has a sound reminiscent of the boys’ musical influences which include everything from Jimmy Eat World to Green Day!

Struck have just completed headline tours of Ireland playing in places such as Castlebar, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Wexford. They have also played alongside acts like The Coronas, Rubberbandit’s, Keywest, Jody Has A Hitlist and more.

The release of their latest EP has recieved national media attention after being featured in The Daily Star and on radio stations such as Today FM & iRadio.




SECTION 4: /Ballina

Section 4 formed in Ballina in 2007 after the break up of local punk band Foreveraftermath and the continuing hiatus of another local band, Riastradh. They play a mix of punk and reggae music with lyrics that cut right to the heart of current social and political problems. They’ve toured Ireland extensively in their 6 years and made a trip to the UK in 2010. They self-released their first album, “Sure This Is It” in 2011 and will be releasing their second album in May of this year.
Section 4
They will be supporting that album with an Irish tour which will include Dublin, Belfast, Sligo, Ballina, Galway, Cork and a festival in Wexford. (Check their facebook page for dates.
They are being joined for most of the dates on the tour by German punk rockers Robinson Krause and French crust punks Autonoma Paradise and the Dreadlock Terror.
They are also known for their support of cause like Anti Facist Action and play benefit gigs for such causes.Forgot to say about Section 4 they will be touring Germany later this year and France next year.
Riastradh formed in 2005 and went on hiatus from 2007 to 2012. In the last few months they've recorded an EP and played some gigs. Here's their bio from their myspace page...

Riastradh formed in 2005 and went on hiatus from 2007 to 2012. In the last few months the band have reunited and they’ve recorded an EP and are set to play some new shows in 2013.


3 folk with instruments and ideas.Formed in 2005 with intent to play and write.So far it has worked out.

The band hail from the outer west coast of Ireland performing the hits of what it’s like to live there.Wild scian waving perfumed in harm.Avalanches are not a regular occurrence in the west and neither are we.We write music to dance to,but only if you have ten peg legs.Once described as “day ghosht” by himself,the sound omitted by Riastradh left wings around the air only to plunge directly in the brain to manifest itself as music in the listener.

Three men are responsible for Riastradh and three things are responsible for Riastradh.

1.The Path



The true form of secrecy is the only lie we admit to telling the truth to.The detective of Dublin used to ask us questions,we answered his questions in the true form of secrecy.This is why we are here today.


Alps performing live

Alps performing live


Alps are a new punk rock band from Ballina, featuring members of Section 4, Only Fumes & Corpses and Life Sentence. They play energetic and emotionally charged punk rock in the style of Leatherface and Hot Water Music. They’ve spent the last year playing gigs around the west of Ireland refining their sound. They are currently recording a demo which will be online within a matter of weeks. They will be gigging all over the country this summer!




GSB are an instrumental stoner rock / metal sideproject from Ballina.


 Chirps are a post rock band who are based in Dublin but their roots are firmly based in Ballina.

Chirps are a post rock band who are based in Dublin but their roots are firmly based in Ballina.


Chirps are a post rock band who are based in Dublin but their roots are firmly based in Ballina. The 3 founding members are all Ballina lads who moved to the big shmoke. They formed in 2008 and quickly began playing gigs around the country. They self released their first album in 2010. They are still gigging all over the country and looking to gig in the UK later this year. They are also working on material for a second album.
SO COW: Tuam County Galway
im an alien

So Cow hail from Tuam in County Galway. 2012  was  an inordinately eventful year for So Cow. It has already seen the release of the first in a series of 7” singles, the ‘GMT’ EP, released on Boston’s Ride The Snake Records. This October
sees the release of ‘Out Of Season’, a split LP with Dublin group Squarehead on Inflated Records, Brooklyn. Add to this a recently-recorded third LP, produced by Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, expected early 2013.All this, as well as summer tours of Spain, Scandinavia and the UK and a sixth return to North America towards the end of the year.

The year also sees a change in band dynamics, with the one-man band recording approach of the
first two LPs (2009’s So Cow and 2010’s Meaningless Friendly on Chicago’s Tic Tac Totally Records)
put to a side, in favour of the relentless intensity and vigour of the three-piece’s recent live shows.
Often described up to this point as a three-way marriage of The Television Personalities, Abba and
The Clean, it’s clear that the group are taking inspiration from the rawer sounds of The Jesus Lizard
and Thee Oh Sees.

Returning after what has probably been too brief a time to be called a hiatus, So Cow will spend
2013 maintaining their status as an incredibly hard-working live band. 2010 saw them play 170
shows, with the likes of The Wedding Present, Deerhoof, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Thermals,
Cymbals Eat Guitars, Women, Frightened Rabbit, Maximo Park, Dan Deacon and Thee Oh Sees. All
this in the midst of three North American tours, including appearances at SXSW, Manhattan’s
Seaport Music Fest and Memphis’ venerable Gonerfest VII.

The year also saw them perform at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival, the only Irish group to
appear on a bill featuring the legendary Pixies and Pavement.

2009 saw the release of the So Cow LP, also on Tic Tac Totally. A compilation of the best recorded
moments from Kelly’s self-released CDs, it found favour with Pitchfork, the Washington Post and
Maximumrocknroll, as well as positive write-ups in Italian music monthly Rumore and Spain’s Rock

7” singles Moon Guen Young (Almost Ready Records, Hawaii), Commuting (Going Underground
Records, Bakersfield) and Ain’t No Fun (Tic Tac Totally, Chicago) soon found themselves out of print
and Ebay-worthy.

MUSIC FOR DEAD BIRDS: Kiltimagh/Belmullet/France

music for dead birds


Music for Dead Birds describe themselves on their facebook page as culchies from the west of Ireland. Hailing from the towns Kiltimagh and Belmullet. Muisc for Dead Birds consists of Donal Walsh on drums and Jimmy Monaghan on guitars and vocals. The band have being quiet of late with lead singer Jimmy Monaghan locating to Friance. Jimmy plays the acoustic guitar and sings while Dónal bangs the drums and sometimes shouts. They started as a bedroom recording project in the summer of 2007, writing off kilter songs and recording them onto a 4-track tape machine using a busted up, rusty, microphone. They were then invited to record a live set for Rté Radio na Gaeltachtas alternative show ‘An Taobh Tuthail’ live from the Róisin Dubh. Their track ‘The Sex’ was featured on the Ball of Wax compilation which was released in Seattle in 2008. In 2009 eight tracks were compiled together to form “And then it rained for seven days…”, a mini-album that was released by Rusted Rail.


In the summer of 2010 they recorded & released “Black tides falling”, a free 4track digital download release. They have played live with an odd array of bands over the years, everything from Instrumental Japanese math rock band LITE to Australian folk group Angus & Julia Stone. They are currently writing, demoing and planning their first full length release. They released their very underrated “The Popes Daughter”

SEAMUS FOGARTY: Swinford County Mayo


Seamus Fogarty hails from the west of Ireland (Swinford to be precise) and writes songs about mountains that steal t-shirts, women who look like dinosaurs and various other unfortunate incidents.

He came to the attention of Scottish record label Fence Records after supporting James Yorkston (Domino/Fence Records) at a show in Kilkenny. An invitation to the Collective’s annual Home Game festival in Anstruther, Fife, soon followed – with Seamus performing in front of about five people at a secret pub show/bar room brawl.  King Creosote was one of those in attendance, and was immediately hooked (nearly left-hooked).

This year began with Jim Carroll of the Irish Times picking Seamus as one of the 10 acts to keep an eye on for 2012.  Since then he has played at the Camden Crawl in London, toured the UK with James Yorkston, opened for King Creosote and Jon Hopkins in Vicar Street,  performed on the main stage at The Green Man Festival in Wales and is set to perform on the Body & Soul stage at the Electric Picnic in September.  Seamus’s debut album, God Damn You Mountain, was released on Fence Records in April 2012 and is available to buy from



DOTT/County Galway




Dott performed on the late late show last Friday night 15th February. Dott are from Galway, Ireland and play shiney, harmony-driven garage pop. The band is led by songwriter Anna McCarthy (vocals/guitar) with Laura Finnegan (bass/vocals) Miriam Donohue (guitar/vocals) and Tony Higgins (drums).

Their eagerly awaited debut EP “Button” was released on May 17th 2012 on the Popical Island Collective. The EP was recorded with Mark Chester (Grand Pocket Orchestra/Ginnels).

Formed only in January 2012, Dott have had a busy first year with appearances at Electric Picnic 2012, HWCH 2012, Camden Crawl 2012, Indiependence 2012, Club Popicalia, 2FM Dan Hegarty Sessions, Arena RTE Radio 1, Ceol ar an Imeall TG4 and Community of Independents, DCTV. Dott recently made their US debut at New York’s favourite independent music venue the Cake Shop, New York. Songs from Button can be heard on BBC Radio, Today FM, 2FM, RTE RADIO 1, RnaG, 98FM and Phantom Radio.

“Managing to sound at once like a classic garage band you somehow missed and as fresh as any current Irish guitar band, Dott have sound-tracked the summer for many music fans.

With their style fusing distorted guitars and infectious lyrics, they have proven to be one of the bands to watch on the Irish music scene. They’re the kind of band that listeners want to claim rights to having been first to fall for their quirky charm. The stratosphere beckons.” Paul McConnell, State Magazine



So there ya have it, bands are emerging faster than a speeding bullet in the west of Ireland, something to be really proud of! If anybody is reading this and you have an original band in the west of Ireland please contact me here and ill hook you up. I am sure there is original bands forming right now as we speak! If anybody out there wants to get in contact with  me and would like to get a mention on my website or blog please do feel free to get in contact with me here or either, Thanks for reading!


Finbar Hoban xx

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