4th February- 90 day men [u.s.]/ Waver. Frazer’s [Dublin].
This was Ashley’s last gig and Jamie’s first gig with the band. Waver were a solid ‘alternative’ group around Dublin at the time. The 90 day men were a great band and really nice guys to boot.
3rd May- Wormholes/ Large Mound. Temple. [Dublin].
The wormholes hadn’t played a gig in ages, possibly years when we asked them to do this one. They were one of the bigger Irish bands to be signed in the aftermath of the post Nirvana ‘alternative’ boom. Legends abound concerning them spending their advance on drugs and second hand gear. Regardless, this was a great gig and they played really well. They did wreck my head a bit though, when the drummer pushed the kit over before they finished. Cheeky fucker. Sound lads though. Large Mound are another in a long line of amazing and tenacious irish rock bands. Great stuff. If I remember correctly, half of Sarah’s keyboard died during this gig and Grainne’s guitar, not to be upstaged also gave up the ghost.
14th May- Brood [Germany]/ Future Kings Of Spain. Frazer’s [Dublin].
I’m drawing a blank on this one. The Future Kings Of Spain used to do a live cover of ESTEL’s ‘one deep breath’. They featured Karl Hussy who had played in Bambi. They went on to be a very big band for a while before they ceased operating.
19th July- Somedaysbetter [u.k.]/ Jeff Martin. Temple Bar Music Centre. [Dublin].
This was the first gig of our first Irish tour. Jeff Martin is a regarded songsmith and member of Halfset. I think that this may have been his first real gig? I may be, and probably am wrong. Someday’s Better were an emo band from Belfast that we decided to tour with based on my friendship with the awesome-o Hornby. Hornby would later helm Selah, We Are Knives and more recently, The Continuous Battle Of Order. This guy has always been a great supporter of the ESTEL cause.
As for the gig. I remember that all of the bands played well. We had a problem in that the venue had given out literally hundreds of free passes, resulting in people turning up, then taking a pass instead of paying. To add to the stress, we got thrown out of the dressing room by a wanker bouncer. He started on Jamie for no real reason. Myself and Hornby stepped in between them by the time it had progressed to the lobby area near the bar. They owed us around two hundred pounds and wouldn’t pay up. This was our last time to play this room.
20th July- Somedaysbetter [u.k.]. Batty’s. [Roscommon].
This was in a small room to a decent crowd. I mainly remember destroying the drum kit at the end of the set.
21st July- Somedaysbetter [u.k.]./ Calzino Fiasco. Boat house. [Limerick].
I remember that Calzino Fiasco played first and the venue was full of their younger, metaller type mates. Once they finished around half of the audience split. We had a good gig. Much fun was had at the expense of the Somedaysbetter lads being described on the posters as ‘sounding like Foo Fighters’.
22nd July- Somedaysbetter [u.k.] / Cub Scout Disco. O’Malley’s [Galway].
This is probably one of my favourite gigs with this line up. We played really late and at the end of the set, Grainne pulled me out of the kit, knocking stuff everywhere. I lay at the feet of the crowd as they poured pints on me and cheered on the carnage. It was a good time.
16th August- Somedays better/ Robin G. Sheils. The menagerie. [Belfast- u.k.].
We fucking sucked at this gig. Inter- band nonsense resulted in an argument between two members, resulting in one of the worst gigs I have ever been a part of. That’s saying something. Honestly- we sucked ASS. We’ve always had a weird relationship with Belfast and I think that the reason we continue [ed] to book gigs there is that the people who dig us up there are great people that make it worth the nonsense.
13th September- Damian Frost/ Baseball Fury. Whelan’s. [Dublin].
This was [I think], the release for Damian Frost’s album. They were formed by Hag who had drummed in the Null Set before they came apart in an explosion of bad buzz. The other band that came from this break up was the Dudley Corporation, featuring, well, Dudley. The Baseball Fury were a short lived band featuring Bullets [Andy Fogarty] who later went on to play with Boys of Summer, Toymonger and tons more, Damo from crust heros Easpa Measa and Steven Doyle from Knife at a Gunfight and Neckweed. I remember a silly little spat involving a guitar being knocked over and a great gig.
26th September- Adrian Crowley/ A Lazarus soul and other bands. Shelter [Dublin].
this was the release of a compilation on the Vitaminic label. I really enjoyed the gig. Nena Hynes sat off stage shouting about loving us! Adrian was, of course, excellent as usual.
23rd September- ESTEL DJ’s. Lazybird club, the international. [Dublin].
This was our first of two appearances in this great club. These guys had a real thing for underground music lacking with today’s genre defined clubs and promoters. You’ll notice that I spelled ‘Lazybird’ as ‘Ladybird’ on the posters. Scarlet for me.
22nd October.- Art of fighting [Australia]./ Dudley Corporation. Whelan’s. [Dublin].
Don’t remember the gig too well. Around this time we were playing a lot of decent gigs. This period was probably the high point for this line up. We’d add other people over the next few years but they couldn’t cover up the fact that the core four of us were finished as a unit. The Art of fighting guys were really nice and I remember having a really long chat with one of them.
23rd November- Tracer AMC [u.k.]. Isaac Butt. [Dublin].
This was a really good gig. We pulled a good crowd and played well. That’s it.
1st December- Bilge Pump [u.k.]/ Nathan Daniels [u.k.]. Bristol [u.k.].
Our first English tour. This was originally conceived and booked as a much longer tour. The observant amongst you will notice the space between the dates. The rest of the gigs fell through while we were there. I remember that we got a ferry and loaded our gear into a shopping trolly to get it on the boat. We had a great time playing arcade games on the way over. It’s a misconception that we all got along terribly. We didn’t. It’s just that there was always a weird thing going on between one member, and at separate times, everyone else. Grainne was one of my best friends right up to her leaving the band and I still feel bad about her exit from the group.
Before the gig we visited the Clifton Suspension bridge and took funny photos of Jamie and the Samaritans posters. Also, Ivan Pawle, our sometime collaborator turned up to travel with us! Ivan later played [plays] with- The Boys of Summer and Sea Dog amongst others.
Anyhow. The gig. Bilge pump were as amazing as ever. These guys are a MUST SEE band if you ever get the chance. Nathan Daniels was a quirky singer songwriter type and the audience loved him. We played a really good gig. The only hitch was when Grainne blew out our rental guitar cab early in the set. D’oh. It was soon fixed though.
The next day we bummed around the town and used a real camera obscura. Great stuff indeed.
3 December.- Capo D’astro [u.k]/ Lux Lisbon [u.k.]. Leeds. [u.k.].
Lux Lisbon was an all grrrl band formed by the ever lovely Cath O’Connor. They were rough around the edges but great. Capo D’astro were another fantastic band that probably only lasted for three gigs. I enjoyed this gig and the audience dug us. After we finished playing, a lad in a grey duffel coat came over to me to shower me with praise. I was wearing Brothel creepers at the time and he informed me that he was also. I noticed that one of them was covered in gaffa tape. When I enquired as to why, he informed me that one of them was lace up and the other was a buckle and that this disguised the fact that they were odd. Genius. He also informed us that he had a band called- ‘Satan, himself’. His goal was to get a guy to introduce them before each gig by saying ‘ now please welcome satan, himself!’ Genius times two.
5 December- Cat on Form [u.k]/ The Anti [ u.k.]. The Free Butt. Brighton. [u.k.].
I can remember that this was one of those gigs were the promoter forgot to do, you know, the promoting thing. We played to around fifteen people. Cat on Form were decent enough in a Fugazi-ish way. The Anti were a pack of terrible little snot nosed pricks. Honestly. I’m not being mean here, i’m giving them some slack. We played well to the paying punters. The next night it would turn out that the pedals and leads had ‘gone missing’ from our back line. After contacting the promoter, who worked in the pub, he said that he couldn’t find them. After weeks and weeks, he ‘found’ them in ‘a corner’ of the venue. Anywho-
6th December.- Owls [u.s.]/ The Wow [u.k.]. Old Vic. Nottingham [u.k.]
The promoters for this were cool. The Wow were a great band of ex [spy vs spy] guys. The audience ignored them throughout their entire set. We played with borrowed pedals, leads etc and we were good at best. This didn’t bother the audience who were busy buying Owls merch whilst us pesky non- American bands played. The Owls were decent at that pre emo thing. Their claim to fame was being ex Cap’n Jazz guys. I remember they were all pretty cool but the singer rubbed me up the wrong way. This is not however, to say that he is a douche for I was probably being my usual cranky self.
All of this is Bushie’s opinion and does not represent the opinion’s of blah, blah, blah….