Chandelier Sessions shine a light on the Swords music scene

Nicola Donnelly

Published 18/03/2014 | 05:32

Robert Maguire and Joey Gavin, two of the organisers of the Chandelier Sessions in the Old Boro pub in Swords.

WHAT started out as an idea among five friends to give local musicans and songwriters a chance to perform in front of a live audience has now grown into a fortnightly event showcasing local talent and even attracting some of the current top names in the Irish music scene to the gigs.

What started out as an idea among five friends to give local musicans and songwriters a chance to perform in front of a live audience has now grown into a fortnightly event showcasing local talent and even attracting some of the current top names in the Irish music scene to the gigs.

The Chandelier Sessions, which take place every second Thursday night in The Old Boro pub in Swords was an idea dreamt up by Swords lads Robert Maguire, Josh Lynch, Jamie Carpenter, John Crossan and Joey Gavin.

Fledgling artists from Swords and the greater Fingal area are now regularly performing on the nights, which take the form of an 'Open Mic' event where each musican getting to perform up to four songs in front of the live audience. It has now built up a reputation as a great showcase for emerging music talent and also a welcome addition to the music scene in Swords.

The idea came about after Robert and Joey found themselves on the same train of thought, wanting to start something up to allow up-and-coming musicans to play in Swords in front of a live audience.

'There was a void in Swords for artists involved in music and for those trying to get into the music industry,' Robert told the Fingal Independent.

'Swords is a buzzing place for young musicans and there's plenty more musicans from here coming through the net.'

The lads approached The Old Boro pub in October 2012. They went into the pub to pitch their idea on a Thursday and noticed that there was nothing happening on Thursday nights, with only around four people in the pub.

'I said to them I can guarantee at least 30 people at our Chandelier Session nights – in the hope that everyone performing would bring at least three people. It went from there and has grown bigger and bigger since.

'I wanted the night to represent music culture in Swords,' said Joey Gavin, who is a music student at BIMM at DIT and a member of the band Humalaya.

'It's a flagship for the arts and aspect of culture Swords was sorely lacking. We want to show pubs, the council, potential venues and potential investers that there is a market for concerts/gigs in Swords – not only is there great talent but there is an audience here too.'

He said with the closure of The Slaughtered Lamb several years ago, there was a vacuum of live music in the town.

'We have now successfully filled this space, be it in the corner of a room that is a restaurant by day. We embrace DIY music,' added Jay.

The Chandelier Sessions were born and started out with a speaker in the corner and and the founders, who are talented musicans, playing. The name came from a chandelier which happened to be above Robert and Joey as they sat in Subway in Swords eating a sandwich.

'Myself and Joey were sitting there and looked up and saw a chanelier and looked at each other and said "What do ya reckon?"

'Joey said with a chandelier there's loads of little lights on it which makes up one big light – like our musicans and music nights and we thought yeah, The Chandelier Sessions, as it has a nice ring to it too,' explained Robert.

John Crossan said that on the opening night, Hayley and Shane Davidson from Swords performed along with a band called Van Norman, who actually ended up giving them their sound system.

'The first night was a bit shaky but a good success and then, after that, word just started to spread,' said John.

'We have seen so many performers' confidence in playing to a live audience grow and grow which is great for them,' he added.

Last summer The Chandelier Sessions moved to the outdoor smoking area of The Old Boro for what was dubbed a Summer Gig, where they had numerous musicans performing on stage.

'This got us thinking about what else we could do, so after we approached Fingal County Council, we had three to four hours on the trailer stage on St. Patrick's Day on the Main Street where our musicans performed during the afternoon,' said Robert.

'We showcased a lot of our musicans who started off with us,' he said, adding that musican Jack Ryan from Malahide and Highfield's band 'We Were Giants' were the headline acts.

After that open-air perfomance in the afternoon, there was an evening performance in The Old Boro pub where more musicans took to the stage to entertain punters on St. Patrick's night.

With Steve Garrigan from Kodaline popping down to the gigs to play on numerous occasions, last Christmas he brought his band mates to perform at the Christmas party.

'That night was mental,' said Robert. 'It just happened. We were doing our normal Christmas showcase of the musicans who played throughout the year and also raising funds for HHT (Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiestasia) charity, and the lads from Kodaline came down and Tweeted about it so a lot of people ended up turning up.

'Between MTV presenter Laura Whitmore tweeting about The Chandelier Sessions along with Kodaline, Gavin James and Hudson Taylor (who all performed on the night), we got over 500,000 retweets and mentions on Twitter, which was great publicity,' he said.

With plans in the pipeline to grow The Chandelier Sessions, the lads are hoping one day to bring it to Dublin city pubs on alternative Thursday nights.

'The night is young and blossoming and we have big plans to take it to a greater level, and once we get there, we'll take it higher again,' said Joey.

'We only ask for a turnout of music lovers and a healthy respect for performers who are exposing themseves and sharing their passion,' he said.

Musicans who would like to perform at The Chandelier Sessions in The Old Boro can contact the lads through their Facebook page:

* Chandelier Sessions take place every second Thursday at The Old Boro pub in Swords from 8.30 p.m. The next session is on Thursday, March 20.

Fingal Independent

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