Down By Law, Wheel, Groundswell Barnstormers – Dublin 1993


May 10 1993

Down By Law, Wheel, Groundswell


Frank Sidebottom – Dublin 1993



Nov 11 1993

Frank Sidebottom


Mr T Experience, Dog Day – Dublin 1992

Jul 4 1992

Mr T Experience, Dog Day


MDC, Ciunas Barnstormers – Dublin 1992


Aug 1 1992

MDC, Ciunas


Headcleaner Irish tour 1993

Feb 24 1993 Headcleaner, Holemasters Barnstormers
Feb 28 1993 Headcleaner, Slunk, Flexihead Barnstormers

Headcleaner used many of the contacts they had made to organise an Irish tour. I loved their enthusiasm. They were willing to travel anywhere for a gig. They became regular visitors to the country and struck up many friendships. They may not be a big-name band or hugely popular but they were able to visit many parts of Europe on free holidays and have a great time doing so. Not as many bands looked to come over this year.

We were happy with that as my health was starting to improve and Miriam, Pat, Joe and I were trying to find a premises. We had an idea that it would be good to have our own place for gigs and tried to figure out the best way  of making it happen. Finance came into the equation so we decided to start a coop and look at ways of getting funding. We expanded the idea into a café and saw that you could readily obtain grants to run a business.

Everything was flowing except the main ingredient: a suitable premises. Because we were getting funding everything had to be above board. Therefore any prospective place had to meet all the necessary health regulations (or have the ability to meet them). We spent a lot of time putting together business plans, setting up a co-operative and putting together the relevant paperwork for grants. Many afternoons were spent over coffee discussing the price of potatoes.

Downcast, Groundswell – Dublin 1992

Nov 4 1992

Downcast, Groundswell


After 16 gigs in 8 and-a-half months in Barnstormers this was a depressing one to finsh the year on. As you will read below, DOWNCAST were not on friendly terms with each other and that carried forward onto the stage and also in any activities we had with the band.

It was a nightmare from an organisational point of view. I only learned that the band were having difficulties when I was assembling this book and for years I had held an opinion on the band based on their personal feelings at the end of a long tour. Funny how wrongly one can judge others after a couple of hours. People still talk about the DOWNCAST gig and how the singer left the stage crying. They think that it was “emo” or something. The music was all about feelings and he gave it everything. I would have preferred a chat but that wasn’t to be tonight.

Still, no matter what was going on with the band on the night, the fact that we had put on an average of 2 gigs a month all featuring bands from outside the country and who otherwise may not have had the chance to visit Ireland was pleasing. Barnstormers was ideal for these touring bands.
“I had joined Downcast in the UK, on the last leg of their European tour sometime in the early nineties. I don’t even remember the year. It was miserable and cold and the band was doing very badly. On day one of the tour, Brent, the guitarist, had decided that he didn’t want to be on tour. He wanted to be home with his girlfriend.

So, in order to let everyone know that he was here against his will, he stood on stage stone-faced, played his riffs, showing no emotions at all. Nobody in the van talked to him. I don’t think I said a single word to him in ten days. It was beyond awkward. It didn’t help that most of the shows in the UK had been cancelled. Everybody was feeling dismal. Then, in Belfast, I got very, very sick. So sick, in fact, that one night while staying in somebody’s house I was sure I wasn’t gonna make it through. I had such a high fever I honestly  thought I was going to die. Needless to say, I made it and we arrived in Dublin. I went inside the club and had a look around, but it was still hours till the show, so I decided to take a nap in the van. At this point I’d like to say that it’s really unwise to tour with cargo pants, because those stupid pockets on the side of your leg really hurt when you’re trying to sleep across 3 seats.

Anyways, not surprisingly, I slept right through the show. I was awoken by Kevin (the singer) ripping the door open and throwing himself on the floor in the back of the van. He was bawling. I never really talked to him about it, but I think he had simply reached the end of the line. He couldn’t take it anymore. Kent, who had also been on tour with them, later told me that there had almost been a fist fight between Brent and Kevin. And apparently Kevin just ran outside during the show. What an undignified end to such a great band. Because that was it. It was over. And I had slept through it.

We had the next day off and stayed in a very nice house with a bunch of awesome eople. All the time I had been aching to take a shower or a bath and now, finally, we were at a place that was nice and warm. Except that, by then, I was feeling so weak I was unable to even make it upstairs to the bathroom. So, while everyone spent the day sight-seeing, I sat on the settee alone, crying quietly and feeling sorry for myself. When I got back and went to see a doctor, the first thing he did was check my armpits for track marks. I must have looked so fucked-up he thought I was a junkie. It turned out I had pneumonia. Fun!

And that’s what I remember about Dublin. I swore that one day I would go back and really see the place. And I know, some day I will.” Marianne Hofstetter


Revenge Of The Carrots, Donkey – Dublin 1992

Oct 9 1992

Revenge Of The Carrots, Donkey


The first time I met Ajay he was throwing pieces of paper up in the air in perfect time to Membranes songs, no mean feat I can tell you. He travelled everywhere with the Membranes, going to as many of their gigs as possible, until they were looking for a bass player and needed to search no further than their audience.

After leaving the Membranes he left his hometown of Manchester for Amsterdam, where he swapped Man Utd for Ajax and joined Donkey. He wanted Donkey to come to Ireland with Revenge Of the Carrots and we arranged it. This gig was another one of those moments when I questioned the purpose of ‘Hope’. Here were 2 excellent bands trying to do something a little bit different while remaining interesting and being ignored by Dublin audiences. I felt so bad for the people in both bands. They didn’t care but after travelling from Holland I felt it would have been nice to play to more than 30 people. Although I always said not to expect anything from people, deep down I wanted them everyone to like DONKEY.

This was the 26th Dublin gig of 1992 that Hope had put on. The 26th time that year that we had asked people to pay into a gig and people were being choosy. They obviously felt that their £3 could be better spent elsewhere.

Crane Irish Tour 1992


Sep 20 1992 Crane, Mexican Pets – Barnstormers  

Sep 17 1992 Crane, Mexican Pets – Fibber Magees
Sep 18 1992 Crane – Our Price Records

Crane were good friends with Slum Turkeys and after that band’s successful tour the previous year they looked to come over and do something similar. Mexican Pets had also become friendly with Slum Turkeys during this period, after travelling to play Manchester at singer Paul Morley’s invitation. So when Crane came over to play some gigs it seemed opportune for Mexican Pets to accompany them.

They became bosom buddies for 5 days as they play the Anarchy Night Café, Cork, New Ross, Belfast and Barnstormers. Crane did one extra day-time gig. This was a bizarre afternoon performance in Our Price records. A friend, Pete Murphy worked there and he liked Crane. I asked if there was a possibility of the band playing there and, lo and behold, the management agreed. The band got £50 and won over a few people. After the tour Mexican Pets + Crane were like patients leaving hospital. They had become dependant on each other and had grown rather fond of the company. Plenty of promises to stay in touch were made, promises I’m not sure were ever carried through, but both bands will keep good memories of this Irish tour with them.

Dawson, Long Fin Killie Dublin 1992, 1993

Sep 11 1992 Dawson, Long Fin Killie Barnstormers                                                                          Aug 18 1993 Dawson, Long Fin Killie, Pet Lamb Attic

When my parents bought me my trusty typewriter in 1990 the first band I wrote to was Dawson. I corresponded regularly over the years with Jer of the band. I loved their wild discordant noise. I took some copies of their records to sell and kept talking about them to anyone that would listen. When Jer asked if I could help organise something for them and fellow Glaswegians Long Fin Killie I was over the moon.

When he asked for it to be on August 13 I was devastated. Miriam and I were due to be in Mayo that day in the middle of a holiday with her family. We had a long discussion about it and agreed to get the train home that day. Thankfully we got back in time to see Dawson in Dublin. What a privilege. Not too many others got to witness that privilege but it was their loss, undoubtedly. Amazing! Barnstormers the following year was equally thrilling.

Spermbirds, Onion Breath, SMH – Dublin 1992

March 19 1992

Spermbirds, Onion Breath, SMH


I was thrilled when Spermbirds asked to come over. They had been going for a few years and I suppose I always viewed them as a “big” band, in that they wouldn’t need Hope Promotions if they wanted to play Ireland. Robbie Foy was now booking the Attic. He found a new venue called Barnstormers on Capel Street. He bought a P.A., put it in there, and was ready to hire it out to bands. Barnstormers was owned/run by Hells Angels so some noise and people who looked a little bit “different” was fine by them. Looking back Barnstormers was the start of a new era for Hope: Charlie’s was gone for the foreseeable future; and the Attic, the Fox and the Grattan were all unsuitable if 100 people were at the gig or if one person wanted to dance.

Barnstormers could hold 200 people and it was on the ground floor, a concrete floor. People could dance the night away if they wished. Spermbirds was a great introductory gig for Robbie and Barnstormers. We took in £425 at the door, the Spermbirds got £240 and everyone seemed happy. My memories of this are of crowd surfing, a little trouble, and looking over the sea of heads from the back of Barnstormers thinking something is RIGHT here. It was refreshing to see people coming to gigs after the early “disasters” in the year.