When you reach those heady heights that were the 30th Vibe you end up with a dilemma. Even before the final chords rang out many felt the end of an era was near. In the days and weeks following the show we were inclined to agree. Just how could you reach that same high again? But in the back of our minds was a promise that we would do something for those who continue coming to Dublin on the 4th January and as the messages, e-mails, and requests poured in they all had one question in common. "What's happening in January 2017?"
Back in the Spring as we began to chew it over we felt most of the original objectives had been achieved. The big question for us was 'where to go from here?'. As we talked to people who had either been there or played at them the idea of how much fun the early Vibes were began to emerge and the thought struck us that maybe the way forward was to get back to basics and put together a show that would be fun; no frills, no fuss, getting straight to the heart of the matter - the music presented in intimate, sweaty, rock'n'roll surroundings It sounded like a plan and that's what we have been at these past few months.
The Workman's Club, a tailor made Venue for 300 people with a bit of everything on the side. Food/Drink/Terraced Bar come Smoking Area/Chill Out Areas etc. etc., just like the venues for Vibes 3-9.
A lot of bands and musicians have trod the Vibe boards over the past 30 years and as we tried to put together a line up we found ourselves constantly coming back to individual musicians who had consistently delivered whether solo or part of a band. The type of musicians who can turn it on a sixpence and deliver the goods. The more we thought about this the more it made sense to prioritise the music - the very essence of what the Vibe is about by bringing together a bunch of our favourite players and open Philo's Songbook to whatever direction they wanted to take us with friends and guests as the occasion arises.
The type of musicians we're talking about can dig right in deep to the catalogue, and have been re-investigating those ones that got away along with the greatest hits. So they have three days to investigate, restore, and reinvigorate, the classic, the complex, and the lesser known gems that are well worth hearing again.
Nick Sharp & Phil Osborne have kindly stepped forward to spin us a few choice cuts from their Treasures@The Decks, and I might even play a few favourites myself if there's time on our hands.
It's a small venue folks, so there is no way that we can all fit in there on Wed 4th Jan. To alleviate the situation we are doing 3 nights - 3rd/4th & 5th Jan, same Show each evening more or less (give or take your normal fine tuning moments).
Legend, innovator, and a major influence on modern Rock drumming, Brian Downey needs no introduction.
With 6 Vibe shows over the years he has been one of our most ardent supporters and it is with some delight that we can announce that Brian has been beavering away for some months rehearsing his new band, Brian Downey's - Alive and Dangerous, who will make their Live Debut at the shows on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th January at The Workmans Club.
Featuring Matt Wilson (Bass/Lead Vocals), Brian Grace and Phil Edgar (Guitars/Backing Vocals): It takes little imagination to know that these boys are going to deliver. Need we say any more!!!
It's often been said that nobody inhabits that same Philo vocal space like Johnny "The Fox" Conlon. From the explosive days of Thin az Lizzy through to The Hoodoos, John and friends have been astonishing audiences with their interpretations and explorations of the Lynott/Lizzy songbook.
Given that this is something of a sabbatical year in which we thought we might indulge ourselves somewhat it was a no brainer to team Johnny with those other Vibe Stalwarts - The Low Riders.
The boys will be playing all three shows from the 3rd to the 5th.
Are you ready? They are! And given their knowledge and experience of the back catalogue you can expect to be intrigued and entertained over the three shows.
If we're honest, even casual supporters owe a big debt of gratitude to the Rock Legend Crew. All those long lost TV and concert performances, demo's, outtakes and live recordings, which normally wouldn't see the light of day usually have the RLC's fingerprints on them somewhere. Their amazing work includes tracking down many of the rarities which were included on the expanded remastered versions of all the classic albums along with the Thin Lizzy BBC box set.
Now as modest as they are we felt the time was right for them to take a proper bow so we have assigned the DJ duties to those two stalwarts of the Rock Legend Crew - Nick Sharp & Phil Osborne aka 'The Glummer Twins' at the 2017 event. These trouble boys have a reputation for quality control and keeping it real so expect some choice cuts from the back catalogue. A touch of something old, something blue, something shocking, and maybe even something new can be expected. Plus of course a medley of the greatest hit.
Conor Scott first crossed our path back in 2014 as a Belfast Street Busker. At the Vibe that year his soulful acoustic rendering of songs such as She Knows reached out and touched hearts with Hot Press Magazine noting that with just "an acoustic guitar and voice" Conor delivered "in spades".
Memorable for his audience participation deliveries we are delighted to have Conor back on board for what should be a set laced with anticipation.
No Pressure on the Belfast Boy then!
Back in 2014, thirteen year old Jaime Orr came to our attention via the Late Late Toy Show. After a somewhat scorching set at the 2015 - 28th Vibe - “Fight or Fall” - we predicted great things for Jaime and Co if they survived the inevitable spilt.
As often happens with young developing bands, musical differences reared their heads but now Jaime has regrouped with brother Sean Orr (Bass) and Jake Hyland (Drums) as Bruse; and are preparing to set the VIBE#31 alight.
Gary Moore comparisons aside, our 2017 opening act are definitely not to be missed. Stage Time 8pm.
Hot Press were down at The Workman's Club last night to cover the 31st Vibe For Philo - called 'Saga of the Ageing Orphan'
A packed Workman's Club is the venue for the 31st Vibe For Philo, in a novel move the same stripped back line-up play over three consecutive nights - a decision by event organiser Smiley Bolger to get back to basics and place the music centre stage.
Young rockers Bruse open proceedings with a skill and bravado that belies their tender years - all are still in their mid-teens - and bring an energy and vibrance to Lizzy classics that proves the perfect appetiser. Belfast's Conor Scott then wows with his acoustic interpretations reminding us why he has been asked back to the Vibe on several occasions.
Then the time arrives for the highlight of this year's show - Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous - which sees the Lizzy drummer team up with guitar greats and Vibe regulars Phil Edgar and Brian Grace plus vocalist/bassist Matt Wilson. As hinted in the name they rip through a set of gems from the seminal live album the highlight of which is the 'Cowboy Song'/ 'The Boys Are Back In Town' memorable double whammy. Downey commands his kit as deftly and passionately as he did in the 70s whilst the others jam with sublime skill and power - close your eyes and you're in the Hammersmith Odeon in 76.
Following the sonic assault Philomena Lynott takes the reigns to thank fans for their loyalty and in addition to Philip pays tribute to late Lizzy road manager Frank Murray.
The night closes with another bevy of classics courtesy of Vibe stalwarts The Low Riders with vocalist Johnny 'The Fox' Conlon.
It was raucous. It was sweaty. it was joyous. We can't wait for next year.
There is currently no gallery for the 31st 'Saga of the Ageing Orphan' Vibe, but images may be updated soon.