An Original Rock & Blues Showcase Extravaganza to Behold

By Willow Moonstone, D’Bluez News UK/Ireland

Wow!  Is what I have to say first.  July 7th 2018, at On the Rox in Dublin city centre we gathered and we drank and we danced and we sang as we witnessed the original rock & blues, and blues-inspired progressive rock, celtic and folk rock extravaganza that was Festival of the Strings the 2nd and oh what an extravaganza it was!

Radio DJ extraordinaire Pat James from (a famous Dublin radio station) was superb as the celebrity MC for the night.

Blackbird & Crow were first up and with their full 5-piece band, showed us right from the very first song that we were in for another amazing incredible night of musical excellence.  With Maighread’s powerful vocals, Stephen’s immense talent on the guitar and bouzouki, combined with the brilliance of their three newest additions to the stage, on double bass, fiddle and drums giving their sound a whole new twist of enchantment.  Powerful heartfelt vocals and stomping blues with haunting celtic/folk rock sound at just the right moments.   With every note you just knew that you were in the presence of something special.  When the music stopped they left the crowd cheering for more and didn’t disappoint with a captivating encore.

Next up was the madness and mayhem of Gerry Quigley & The Durty Blues Band, who had the crowd instantly mesmerised with their blues-inspired original instrumental progressive rock along with original and classic rock & blues.  Gerry dazzled us with his collection of guitars and things with strings including his unique double-neck mandola/bouzouki (Shaun and Sheila).  With his Gibson Les Paul in hand if you closed your eyes for a minute you would have been forgiven for thinking it was Peter Green or Paul Kossoff.   With the unbelievable energy and rocking vocals/bass of frontman Frank (Muddy) McNally,  Ollie Beats on drums, and Aussie Sharon on keys, the brilliance of the music was obvious.   Gerry and his band showed us again tonight why he’s been given so many names by so many, including guitar wizard, guitar god and living guitar legend.   Gerry was known by all of those names tonight.

The Stonecold Hobos finished the night this time with their full 4-piece band on stage.  A brilliant set got everyone dancing with Martin’s own wonderful style of cigar-box Boyne Delta blues.  Storytelling through the blues sharing with us life experiences Martin shows us all what a talented entertainer he is, and the calibre of his band to match.  Delighting us with many songs from his newly-released album and finishing with a rowdy encore, The Stonecold Hobos were on fire again tonight.

The show finished of course with the grand finale, as band members from Blackbird & Crow and Gerry Quigley’s band along with Pat James, returned to the stage to join The Stonecold Hobo for a fantastic performance of Nutbush City Limits to bring the show to a close.

Which left us all spellbound and with our jaws dropping, wondering how the heck did the night go so fast?

Editor note: We’ll have some videos on Youtube real soon!