If free time is the mother of invention, then Swords band The Sidegators have surely struck a chord.
Formed during the recent lockdown, the 14-strong group got together when members of the Rivervalley Park Run put their free time to use and began rehearsing music together.
The motley crew includes singers, wedding performers, professional musicians and amateurs covering artists as diverse as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Pogues.
Pete Trevaskis, ukulele player with the Sidegators, explains the origin of the band.
“When we had to close down Rivervalley Park Run at the start of the pandemic, I initiated a Zoom call every Saturday morning when we would’ve been having coffee after the run. The most important thing about Park Run is having the coffee afterwards because it is that social engagement.
“I didn’t want us to lose that, so we started a Zoom call on a Saturday morning, but what quickly happened was we discovered we were talking about music a lot. So then another one of the guys suggested a separate Zoom call just for music.
“What we started doing then on the Saturday evenings, and because the nature of Zoom, you can’t all play together, so each person would come on and do their piece and do a song, then we’d take turns and go around the table. But what eventually started to happen then was that the pandemic started to ease up and we were able to meet in back gardens.”
The Sidegators got their name from the fact that they couldn’t enter each other’s homes to practice due to the pandemic, and would instead enter the back garden through the “side gate”, Pete explains. From the players’ back gardens, the music, and talent soon began to flow.
“Playing together is a lot different to playing on your own and some of us, for instance me, just started playing music just before the pandemic struck, just pure coincidence I started playing the yukulele. I’d almost go as far to say that I know how to play now.
“There was another chap, he played guitar, but he never played it in front of anybody in his life. He only played in his own bedroom and now he’s very accomplished."
After a few rehearsals, The Sidegators decided to do a “rock ‘n’ roll Park Run”, taking to the stage at the Rivervalley Park Run recently.
The event culminated with a performance in a packed Peacock Bar, where the band played an incredible 30+ songs, including “Rainy Night in Soho” by the Pogues, “The Lonesome Boatman”, and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Guns ‘N’ Roses.
Pete says of the band: “There’s everything there from people who performed at weddings in the past and played professionally with bands to people like myself who have never played music before.
"Marrying those together is just fantastic fun. It does provide a very eclectic sound to say the least, which seems to go down well.”
The Sidegators hope to make a special appearance at the next Rivervalley Park Run on Sunday August 7.