Arts Column with Conor Malone 28.08.14

Arts Column with Conor Malone 28.08.14
This week’s highlights include: Steve Earle at the Millennium Forum tonight; North West Words at Cafe Blend in Letterkenny; The Revelry at Vintage in Voodoo, Letterkenny and Hairspray at the Millennium Forum from next Tuesday.

This week’s highlights include: Steve Earle at the Millennium Forum tonight; North West Words at Cafe Blend in Letterkenny; The Revelry at Vintage in Voodoo, Letterkenny and Hairspray at the Millennium Forum from next Tuesday.

Steve Earle

You know that question about which three would you invite to your ideal dinner party? Well I reckon that Steve Earle would be on my shortlist.

With fourteen studio albums including Copperhead Road which I played virtually non-stop one summer until the cassette tape (remember those?) broke, three Grammys, and songs Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris and, of course, Sharon Shannon.

In short the man’s a legend in my eyes, a legend undimmed by the fact that every man and his dog has overplayed and murdered Galway Girl. Don’t let that put you off. Steve Earle is in the Millennium Forum, Derry tonight (Thursday August 28th). Tickets are £27.50 from or 048 7126 4455.

Words and Music At Cafe Blend

There’s another intoxicating night of words and music in store from North West Words at Cafe Blend in Letterkenny tonight. The programme includes a book launch courtesy of Edward O Dwyer. Edward has been nominated for the Hennessy Literary Award for Emerging Poetry among other honours and The Rain on Cruise’s Street, published by Salmon Press is his first full collection of poems.

There’ll also be a reading by Lisa Burkitt who enjoyed success with her debut novel A Memory Of Scent. Her second novel Anatomy of a Jump is with an agent and she is currently working on a follow up.

There’s also music from Callum Keaveney, a local Letterkenny singer songwriter who gigs regularly around the North West and recently recorded his debut EP at Moya Brennan’s Mo+Co studio.

Proceedings get underway from 8pm and admission is free.


Cork Opera House productions bring much loved musical Hairspray to The Millennium Forum in Derry next week. The smash hit Broadway version won 8 Tony awards including Best Musical. It’s a big bouncy bouffant of a musical with laughs, romance and some seriously good music.

Hairspray tells the trials and tribulations of teenager Tracy Turnblad who wants to land a part as a dancer on a ‘60’s TV show. Her personal dreams of stardom and battle with her nemesis Amber for both the crown of Miss Hairpray and the affection of local heartthrob Link are set against a backdrop of racial segregation so amongst the romance and the comedy it packs a social punch too.

Of course every musical will be measured by the songs and big number scenes and Hairspray – with ever popular favourites like ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ and ‘I Can Hear The Bells’ certainly delivers in this regard.

Hairspray runs from next Tuesday Sep 2nd until Sunday Sep 7th. There’s a bewildering choice of different times and prices so have a look at or call 048 7126 4455 for more information.

Balor Brochure

By the time you read this, the new Balor Event Guide will have come back from the printers and be on the streets.

On the cover are three of the main attractions of the coming season – Blues greats Dr Feelgood (Friday, Sep 19), Jonathan Harker and Dracula (Thursday, Oct 2) and Mozaik (Thursday, Oct 9).

Formed on Canvey Island, Essex in the early ‘70’s Dr Feelgood quickly established themselves as one of the most popular and exciting rhythm and blues acts in the world with a back catalogue of instantly recognisable hits such as Milk and Alcohol, Down At The Doctors and See You Later Alligator.

Jonathan Harker & Dracula is a brand new hi-tech stage version of the most famous horror story of them all. There’s star power aplenty with this one. The parts of both Jonathan Harker and Dracula are played by Gerard McCarthy from The Fall. The Brides of Dracula – played by Kym Marsh (Coronation Street), Jayne Wisener (The Inbetweeners, Sweeney Todd) and Rachel Tucker – are brought to life via multiple cameras, backing screen and projection.

The third picture on the cover is Mozaik – the quite incredible trad supergroup featuring Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny. Joining them are Nikola Parov from Hungary, the USA’s Bruce Molsky and Rens van der Zalm (Holland). Between them the band plays over 20 instruments, with Nikola in particular covering a bewildering range of Eastern European instruments that many of you will never have seen before. It’s increasingly rare that the schedules of these five amazing musicians align to enable them to perform together as Mozaik, so it’s great to be able to bring their fiery fusion of Irish, Balkan and American old time music to The Balor.

In truth it was hard to narrow down the cover to just three acts – there’s loads of good stuff in store at the Balor over the next two months. There’s more great drama with What Happened Bridgie Cleary (Wednesday September 10th) – a true story about the last woman in Ireland to be burned as a witch – and Remembrances (October 7th and 8th) looks back on the legacy of Irish soldiers who fought in World War 1.

Great original music nights include Beth Neilsen Chapman (Wed. Oct. 1), one of the finest US singer songwriters of her generation penning hits for, among others, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Willie Nelson. There are also tribute shows to Dolly Parton, The Carpenters and Billy Joel. There’s also great drama

For the full programme, give the Balor a call on 0749131840 and we’ll post one out to you free of charge or log on to