Gig Review : Dublin Castle – 4th July – The Hamptons + Lily Sparks

If ever I wonder why I’ve run a studio for the last 31 years, tonight was a great reminder. It’s because I love great Rock and Roll music and it doesn’t come much better than this. For the 4th July, The Dublin Castle put on two great bands with strong American connections. One of them I know pretty well and the other was a joyous surprise.

First up, straight from New York City was Lily Sparks. Lead by the simply stunning Niamh on vocals, this band are great and are truly going somewhere. Niamh sings like a cross between Patti Smith and Joan Jett at their best. She struts like the queen of New York City and she means it. The songs are reminiscent of the halcyon days of the CBGB’s scene at its best, but updated and played with passion. Highlight of the set was the rip roaring “Stars” and “Where are we Today”. I was blown away and made a point of picking up a copy of their Cooper Cobra EP. Managed to have a chat with Niamh after. She’s switched on. I’m all for girls in rock and Lily Sparks are one of the best bands I’ve seen for ages. Check them out on their website.

Next up were “The Hamptons”. Lead by Charlie Honderick, who moved from Florida to London to team up with Alex Sarychkin on guitar, they are a truly individual and awesome band. I must confess to having a vested interest as Charlie and Alex first collaborated on a Pusherman by my band, The False Dots as guest vocalist and guitarist.. They hit it off and formed the Hamptons earlier this year.

I thought that Lily Sparks would be a hard act to follow, but follow them they did (and then some). The set started with Mona Lisa, a track from Charlies previous band “The Most”.  The set has progressed immeasurably since the days of the Most, and PEACE and CASTAWAY were the highlights of the set. PEACE is a true classic, a lighter in the air moment, with thought provoking lyrics in a stonking rock and roll song. The Hamptons are a hard band to pigeonhole, they sort of remind me of an up to date cross between The Doors and Pink Floyd circa Syd Barratt. Charlie is a truly awesome performance. The Dublin Castle was packed (extraordinary for a Sunday night with two unknown bands). By the end of the Hamptons set the venue was buzzing. The Hamptons are set to record their first demo shortly and if they can capture the energy of the live performance, I’m sure they’ll be on their way.

I’d expected a good evenings entertainment, I got the best gig I’ve been to in a small club for years. Check these bands out, while they are still playing the smaller venues. I’m sure they are both destined for greater things – The Hamptons play the Good Ship in Kilburn on Friday 9th July

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