ENTERTAINMENT — 02 January 2014

Shelley Marsden looks at the London-Irish band that’s keeping it local…

When two Irishmen, an Englishman, a Frenchman and a Bulgarian all walked into a bar, no one could have predicted what would happen next.

Those guys were The Craicheads – one of London’s hardest working bands – and the bar was Wards, the inspiration for Take Me Back To Harrow, one of the tracks on their debut album Brewed in London.

After honing their craft in venues across the capital, the popular five-piece have now captured the fun and energy of their live set on record.

A collection of original tracks and covers performed in The Craicheads’ inimitable style, Brewed in London is a reflection not only of the band’s rise through the London pub scene but also the diverse backgrounds of its members, who were brought together by their love for playing great music.

Charismatic lead singer Mick O’Beirne belts out the tunes with power and passion, Ben Gunnery (fiddle/whistle) and Tim Eyles (guitar/mandolin) handle the lead role to devastating effect, and Olivier Atila Aslan (drums) and Stefan Marinov (bass) hold it all tight together at the back, driving the songs forward with an irresistible groove.

While the Irish influence looms large in all they do, the boys are nothing if not versatile – you’ll hear everything from pop, bluegrass and folk to blues, country and good old-fashioned rock’n’roll. Imagine if the Pogues and Johnny Cash walked into a bar and fired up the tunes – that’s pretty close to what The Craicheads sound like.

Take Me Back To Harrow sums up what the band are all about. Inspired by  Wards, a great Irish pub in the heart of Harrow, it’s about finding a place to call home in a new neighbourhood. Sligo Shore, meanwhile, was penned by Eyles on a recent trip to Ireland and has already become a firm favourite. Other songs on the album range from Irish party tracks such as Fiesta and Galway Girl to Ring of Fire and Sweet Child of Mine.

It could only have been Brewed in London. The album is available on December 20 and will be on sale at gigs and through the website for £10.

The Craicheads continue to play across London and beyond, including a Sunday residency at O’Neill’s Soho – visit www.craicheads.com for listings. For more information contact Mick O’Beirne at www.info@craicheads.com or tel +44 (0) 7704 203286.

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