It's the first time the charity music event will take place outside of Dublin
The Sunday Independent’s Rock Against Homelessness concert in aid of Focus Ireland — now in its fifth year — is going into the west.
The sold-out show at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on April 23 earlier this year ( with Camille O’Sullivan, Aidan Gillen, Deirdre O’Kane, Liam Cunningham, Finbar Furey, Natty Wailer, Jerry Fish, Tommy Fleming, MTV’s Laura Whitmore among others), was such a success that we have decided to do it in Galway too; primarily to raise some money for an incredibly important cause but also to keep awareness on an issue that is depressing, and disgraceful, in our so-called modern little nation.
On November 23 at Monroe’s in Galway, top Irish act State Lights will play the Sunday Independent’s Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland and COPE Galway. (Other acts will be added to the bill in the coming weeks for the Galway show, while the Sunday Independent's annual Rock Against Homelessness show at the Olympia in Dublin next April in aid of Focus Ireland will be announced early in 2020.)
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “The Sunday Independent's Rock Against Homelessness has provided amazing support for Focus Ireland over the years. The annual concert in the Olympia earlier this year raised a record total of €25,000 that will all go directly towards our work challenging homelessness and changing lives. We are now delighted that there will be a Rock Against Homelessness in Galway on November 23rd this year. People tend to think of homelessness as mostly a Dublin problem but sadly people are homeless and at risk nationwide. There are over 500 families with children homeless outside of Dublin and a record total of over 10,000 people homeless nationwide. Rock Against Homelessness will raise vital funds and more awareness towards the need to end this terrible human crisis.”
"I would also like to personally thank State Lights for doing the show for us," he added.
Rock Against Homelessness creator and organiser Barry Egan sat down for a chat with State Lights ahead of the show...
What are State Lights' influences?
Singer Shobsy: "The influences are quite vast but certainly some names tend to always pop for us such as Killers, Future Islands The Smiths, U2, Coldplay. A great front man and general wall of sound is a running theme in nearly all our influences."
Guitarist Joe Regan: "We love big guitar bands and 80's pop music. We try and mix the two together for our own music."
Drummer Paul Ridgeway: "Our love of bands like the Killers, Future Islands, U2 and King’s of Leon... bands that when you see them live they bring all the passion, excitement and energy to a show that leaves a lasting impression on you long after and that is something that we strive and live for."
Bass player, Noel Perry: "I’m sure most of us have answered similarly to this question, we like stadium-rock bands like The Killers, U2, Coldplay, Muse, we love the feeling of being inspired when you walk away from seeing a band, you haven’t just seen a gig, you’ve been immersed in a show! I think this is something we have tried to bring to our own shows. "
What did you listen to growing up?
Shobsy: "I went through distinct phases of listening to certain acts religiously. Starting with U2 at the age of 5. They blew my world wide open. Four Irish boys taking over the world, just totally incredible. Followed then by the standard and fairly necessary Beatles obsession. I also went through a giant Queen phase where I watched my Live Aid DVD everyday after school for about a year."
Joe: "I got into music through punk rock, so in my early days I listened to bands like Green Day, Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, then that evolved into Arena Rock bands like Muse, The Killers and Kings of Leon."
Paul: "For me, it was Green Day, Blink 182, Sum 41, Paramore. I loved the punk stuff."
Noel: "I came from an Irish trad background, I played mandolin and tenor banjo when I was young and listened to a lot of trad, in my teens I found myself listening to bands like Placebo, Muse, Rage Against The Machine and Tool, by then wielding my four string banjo didn’t really match up and it was time to move in a different direction." .
Favourite State Lights song?
Shobsy: "Let You Go. It's always the turning point of a live set for me. It's remarkably personal and if I dig deep enough it usually never fails to stir up almost frantic emotion in me when on stage."
Noel: "One of my favourites is a song called Lovers, we typically finish most of our sets with this song, it carries a message that is universal and everybody can connect with."
Paul: "Let You Go. It’s a joy to play and when that song comes up in a set you know things are about to get crazy as we all go to another place when we perform it live."
Joe: "My favourite at the moment is one of our newest songs, 'Tell Me How You Feel'. It's quite personal to me and I'm really proud of how it came out."
What are you up to?
Paul: "We have our headline show in Whelan's in Dublin on October 5th and we play EP while also continuing to write and improve old and new material."
Describe each other.
Paul: "Shobsy is the definition of wearing your heart on your sleeve. He is the kindest and most caring person I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. He has a passion for life that is only rivaled by his passion for music and I count myself lucky to not only be in this band with him but to be able to call myself his friend."
Joe as a person and a friend is exactly like his guitar playing simply beautiful. He’s an extremely caring person and his attention to detail is something that not only drives the band but pushes the rest of us to improve and grow as musicians and people.
Noel is an absolute gentleman and an absolute genius on bass. I’ve never met a more down to earth guy. The passion and the dedication that he brings always leaves me in awe. His sense of humor always leaves me in stitches and it is my pleasure to be able to share the stage and this journey that we’re on with him."
Noel: "Joe is one of the most talented musicians I have ever met, his ability to pick things up by ear, play practically anything and slot into any style or genre is something i’m very envious of. You can always be assured that if you have Joe as a friend and ever need anyone to fight your corner he will be right there with you.
Paul is a brilliant musician and person, in both regards you can throw absolutely anything at him and he will always take it in his stride. Being the rhythm section we are a tight knit unit, some may see us as the reserved half of the band but there's always a bit of mischief around the corner when Paul is involved.
Shobsy is a phenomenal vocalist. When I saw State Lights before I joined the band he was one of the main reasons I wanted to play with the lads, I thought to myself if I didn’t join that I would probably never get a chance to be in a band fronted by a person as charismatic or brave as he is, in life and in his performances."
Joe: "Shobsy is an extremely talented, funny and energetic person. Noel is one of the most patient people I've ever met, extremely kind and a wizard on the bass. Paul is an incredibly warm person, so down to earth and a monster drummer!"
Shobsy: "Joe is essentially my musical partner, he has an amazing gift to bring passion to a song like I have rarely seen and there is the little matter of him being a guitar genius! Noel is probably one of the most lovely people I have ever met. He is intelligent and reserved but comes alive on stage and is regarded as one of the great bassists of Dublin. Paul and I are the founding members of the band, I've never played a gig of original music with any other drummer. He is extremely fun, a great friend to everyone and is the literal heartbeat of the band."
What adjectives would you use to describe the music of State Lights?
Shobsy: "Uplifting. Positive. Passionate."
Paul: "Passionate. Brave. Expansive. Shining."
Noel: "Energetic. Explosive. Uplifting."
Joe: "Ethereal. Atmospheric. Ambitious. Colossal."
What makes you angry about Ireland?
Shobsy: "Not much makes me angry. I really love this country. Sometimes though there is a slight begrudgery in Ireland that grinds my gears. The 'don't get too big for your boots' way of thinking. Which of course in general principle is fine, but it's an attitude that places a limit on someone. I personally love to see Irish people nailing it overseas and would never talk ill of someone simply because they have become successful."
Paul: "The one thing that holds Ireland back is the cost of living. It’s such a struggle nowadays just to get by and when you just want to unwind on the weekend it always seems to cost an arm and a leg."
Noel: "Musically, it's that some people don’t want to take a gamble on you until you’re seen in a certain light, there is usually slight reservation unless it is confirmed by somebody else that you are worth a punt. I see it with music but its the same approach with most things: trying a new restaurant, watching a new TV series, picking somewhere to go on holiday, if its not being talked about, a current trend or bandwagon to get on, or it's not validated by someone else then there seems to be a reservation about it, instead of forming an opinion yourself."
Joe: "Certainly compared to other European countries, we're an expensive country. The cost of living is going up all the time, whether that be rent or mortgage hikes, or just going out and trying to enjoy yourself. We're a country that I feel like will constantly go up and down, there's never a medium that we reach and are happy with. Ireland is a bit of a greedy country."
What do you love about Ireland?
Shobsy: "The culture of the arts. I feel so connected to it as I walk the streets of Dublin. Nearly every time I walk over the Ha'penny bridge, I think of Philo. I'm listening to music in Dublin late at night and my heart is soaring. Keeping my head down walking through the frenetic scenes of a Saturday night. All washed down with a few Guinness in my favourite bar at closing time. It's just home."
Paul: "It has to be the people. We’ve come so far as a nation and it’s so heartwarming to see. You never know who you might meet on the streets as you walk around but you’ll always hear a good story and you’ll always be left with a sense of just how good this country can be when it’s filled with such great people."
Noel: "Our sense of community, there is no other place in the world like Ireland for that feeling of home."
Joe: "Without doubt, the people. We're famous worldwide for our positive and fun attitude, and I think the new generation of Irish people are very forward thinking and grounded people. The fact that we were the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage is a perfect example of how Irish people's ideologies have changed, for the better. Long may it continue!"
Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland and COPE Galway, with State Lights and others to be announced, Monroe's in Galway on November 23.