Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 September, 2020
Advertisement

NY Times names Cork pub band 'the next U2'

Cork band The Calvinists play their local in Bantry… and are raved as “awesome” by a passing NYT travel writer.

The Calvinists: 'the next U2', according to the New York Times. Someone tell a record label!
The Calvinists: 'the next U2', according to the New York Times. Someone tell a record label!
Image: Pointer Productions via YouTube

AN UNSIGNED CORK BAND has found itself the subject of some unlikely international attention – after a passing New York Times travel writer happened to stop by a gig in a pub in Bantry, and gave them a commendable write-up in a paper read by over a million people every day.

The three-piece band – made up of guitarist and vocalist Noel Maguire, lead guitarist Frank Wieler, drummer Darragh Coakley and bassist/banjoist Taidhg Burke – were playing an otherwise low-profile show in The Schooner Bar in their hometown when the Times’ Matt Gross decided to drop by.

Writing in Friday’s newspaper, Gross said that he had been driving aimlessly through the country for the week as part of a rural getaway – hoping to see just how similar to the mythical land of folklore (and The Commitments …and Riverdance) the country actually was – when he was attracted by a poster for the band’s gig, hooked by the ironic name of a band called after a Reformist pastor in a deeply Catholic country.

As it transpired, the band had taken their name because John Calvin had been completely opposed to music – not that that mattered, as Gross was blown away by their performance.

He wrote that The Calvinists…

were awesome: straight-up rock with a country accent, courtesy of the banjoist Taidhg Burke, and the range to cover both Johnny Cash and Gorillaz, thanks to Noel Maguire’s effortless voice.

“They’re the next U2!” shouted the older gent next to me, Cornelius “Corney with an ‘e’ ” Kelly (“like Ned Kelly!”). And I believed him; the whole room hummed with enthusiasm and pride. I was part of something. Maybe this was a moment that, years from now, I’d remember as a big one.

Or maybe it was just the three (or four) pints of Murphy’s stout in my system.

The piece concluded with a recommendation that tourists visiting Ireland pop into the Schooner – “particularly if the Calvinists are playing”.

Gross’s piece (which otherwise, it must be said, is not entirely complimentary to a country that he perceives as being hell-bent on depressing itself) has risen to the number three spot on the Times’ website’s most-read list.

And with NYTimes.com ranked by Alexa as the world’s 92nd-most-visited site – visited by about 1.2% of the world’s online population every day – the Calvinists might find their MySpace page being edited to remove the word ‘unsigned’ quicker than they might have known.


(U2, in far less exciting news, are recording their new album with producer Danger Mouse.)

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

Read next:

COMMENTS