BY NIALL O’DRISCOLL
ON Wednesday, August 3rd, as part of Skibbereen Arts Festival, there will be a special concert in Skibbereen Town Hall in memory of musicians Fergus O’Farrell and Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) – both of whom died earlier this year.
The concert will feature DogTailSoup – something of a West Cork supergroup to which both men were integral – and special guest musician the Oscar-winning Frames frontman Glen Hansard.
DogTailSoup came together in early 2006 after a jam session in Fergus’ home in Schull. He introduced Maurice Seezer to Colin Vearncombe and Camilla Griehsel, who had recently moved to the area from London. Fergus’ band Interference was playing gigs at that time with a new line-up that featured Paul Tiernan, Marja Gaynor and Bertrand Galen. While Fergus had been singing better than ever, his stamina was taking a beating due to his muscular dystrophy.
In forming DogTailSoup they decided that no one singer would ever sing two songs in a row at gigs and that those who weren’t singing lead would underpin with a backing vocal or with an instrument. This made for a wonderfully eclectic and ever-shifting sound which ultimately proved hugely popular with audiences throughout West Cork and far beyond. Line-ups changed over the three years that the band was active but it usually involved all of those mentioned above plus Darren McCarthy or John Fitzgerald (bass), James O’Leary or Gareth Carey (guitars) and Anto Noonan (drums).
The band often looked for touring solo artists to join them onstage, and Glen Hansard willingly obliged on a number of occasions – he being an old friend and collaborator of Fergus’ right back to when Interference used to rehearse in the Winstanley Shoe Factory in Dublin the 1980s. Glen has once again agreed to take time from his busy schedule to join in this celebration of the two men in what promises to be a very special night of music and memories. All profits from this concert will be donated to charities chosen by Fergus and Colin’s families.
• Tickets, at €20, for ‘Sail On – Remembering Fergus O’Farrell and Colin Vearncombe’ go on sale this Friday, June 24th at The Riverside Café, Skibbereen, the tourist office in Schull and at www.skibbereenartsfestival.com